2023 Honda HR-V First Drive Review: They Grow Up So Fast

The second-generation Honda HR-V is the nail in the coffin of the truly sub-compact crossover.

Back when the previous model touched down for 2016, it made sense for Honda to base it off the brand’s smallest offering, the Fit hatchback. The market was clamoring for crossovers of all sizes, so a straight-up, high-riding stand-in for the Fit was a no-brainer.

Yet just as the market’s tastes were changing then, so are they now. Tiny is out: so long, Mazda CX-3 (discontinued in 2021), Ford EcoSport (ended production last month), and Chevy Trax (production ending later this year). Plus, the never-ending growth of the “compact” crossover class—and the accompanying price hikes—have created enough clear air for a whole other sub-segment. Into this space rolls the larger second-gen HR-V, all grown up and ready to offer buyers a smooth, mature, car-like driving experience.

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Toyota Corolla Cross vs Honda HR-V Comparison: Heavyweight Battle of Little SUVs

Toyota and Honda’s first foray into the small compact SUV market didn’t go all that well.

The Toyota C-HR, although funky looking, was too small and lacked all-wheel drive. The original Honda HR-V was a packaging marvel with many cool features, but ultimately was too small as well. And the 1.5-liter engine didn’t cut it for that model.

Now Honda and Toyota have righted those wrongs by introducing a pair of new small compact SUVs. They’re more right sized, and full of features consumers are looking for.

The Toyota Corolla Cross was introduced for the 2022 model year, as a size smaller SUV to slot under the popular RAV4. The Honda HR-V is all-new for the 2023 model year and is larger than before, better slotting under the spacious CR-V.

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Detailed Specs

Price / $23,800 - $27,900
Engine / 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Power / 158 hp
Torque / 138 lb-ft
Drivetrain / FWD / AWD
Transmission / CVT
Fuel Economy (city/hwy) / 25–26 mpg / 30–32 mpg
Cargo Capacity / 24.4 cu ft

Our Final Verdict

Honda HR-V

3.2
Performance 6.0
Features 6.0
Comfort 7.0
Quality and Styling 6.0
Value 7.0