The 2023 model year kicks off the second-generation of the Honda HR-V. A full redesign of the compact crossover means changes to seating configuration, new body styling, and other updates.
The HR-V remains an entry-level, low-cost option for those looking for a compact who aren’t interested in a sedan.
The 2023 Honda HR-V changed its platform from that of the now-discontinued Fit to the new platform for the current-generation Civic. This adds roominess to the back seating area, but means Honda has dropped the Magic Seat configuration that allowed storage underneath the seat cushions. That might be a big downer for fans of the HR-V.
Added to the new 2023 HR-V crossover is a bigger and better infotainment screen. It’s seven inches as standard, but grows to nine inches in the EX-L trim. That larger screen also adds wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which otherwise tethered on the smaller standard screen. One key difference with this setup in the HR-V and that of the Civic, however, is the navigation which is phone-based and requires connectivity.
The final change found in the new 2023 Honda HR-V is with its engine. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder carries over from before, but gets a power bump of about 17 horsepower going to 158 in all. Torque is also up a little, but not by much. Honda’s decision to keep going ahead with this engine without much power upgrade means that the now larger HR-V (in both weight and size) feels sluggish a lot of the time.
To be honest, the 2023 HR-V is the first Honda we’ve ever driven that didn’t have that quick feel when starting from a stop. Most Hondas have a jumpy quickness for the first gear (roughly 10mph) from a stop light or sign. This is one of the brand’s greatest points of appeal and it’s missing from the HR-V. Compared to the Mazda CX-30 and Volkswagen Taos it’s most often compared to, that lack of pizzazz is disappointing.
Where the Honda HR-V really shines, though, is in its interior roominess. Seating is good, especially in the rear outboards, and cargo space is large and usable. Like the Fit it was once based on, the HR-V can fit a lot of stuff inside. (Pause here for joke to sink in.)
For its roughly $25,000 price tag, the 2023 HR-V has a lot of equipment included. Advanced driver’s aids and safety equipment include forward collision mitigation, lane departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control as standard. Push-button start, three USB ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are also standard. LED headlamps, 17 inch wheels, and a good-looking new design are also included.
While we drove the upper-end EX-L model, we like the equipment package for the mid-tier Sport model more, as it adds some really good-looking exterior elements (like exhaust tips and a distinctive grille). It also brings most of the add-ons one would likely want on a small crossover like this, plus bigger wheels. The EX-L does add a lot of little things, though, besides the larger touchscreen. Dual-zone climate, eight-speaker audio, ambient lighting, and other additions make that a compelling package.
In the end, we think the 2023 Honda HR-V is a good compact crossover choice for those looking to move into the SUV realm.
This review first appeared on DriveModeShow.com.