Monsters like the brand new Cadillac Escalade-V might dominate SUV headlines (and revenue margins), however by far essentially the most prolific area of interest for SUV-ification is the child crossover phase. Examples such because the first-generation HR-V, Hyundai Kona and Jeep Renegade had been born from subcompact sedan and hatchback platforms, however the newest spherical of child CUVs (akin to this 2023 Honda HR-V) approaches the phase with a bit extra ambition — and corresponding worth will increase.
In contrast to its predecessor, which was primarily a Match on stilts, the brand new 2023 HR-V is intently associated to the bigger Civic (unusual manner to have a look at it, no?) with some bits and items from the final CR-V thrown in for good measure. Not solely does the HR-V carry over a few of the new Civic inside’s stylistic parts, it additionally acquired an improve in supplies high quality, match and end. Gone are the laborious plastic door-toppers and ugly hodgepodge of air vents and pleather. Of their place, we get the soft-touch supplies and a variation of the Civic’s full-width eggcrate vent cowl. Yet one more variation of it’s discovered within the new CR-V.
The earlier HR-V’s inside was moderately good for the phase when it debuted for the 2016 mannequin yr, and when it comes to supplies, represented a transparent step up from the standard Match. It will definitely acquired lengthy within the tooth, nonetheless, particularly as extra opponents confirmed up with extra attention-grabbing designs and vastly higher infotainment programs. The redesign improves upon all the pieces in nearly equal measure. The infotainment system is shared with the Civic, which means decrease trims get a 7-inch touchscreen supported by bodily menu shortcut buttons (and sure, a quantity knob), whereas the EX-L will get an even bigger 9-inch display that cancels out most of these bodily buttons and replaces them with menu icons that keep docked on the backside of the display. These buttons, actual and digital, together with different UI enhancements means there’s much less menu back-and-forth within the new HR-V. It appears much less vulnerable to sluggish responses and glitches, too. One doable drawback, although: the absence of a Touring trim (this EX-L is as loaded as the brand new HR-V will get) means there is no longer an choice for built-in GPS navigation. You will want your smartphone and a practical cell sign.
There are some downsides to the Civic platform migration. One of many HR-V’s most beloved social gathering items (round right here anyway) was the “magic seat” system it inherited from the Match. These allowed for a number of configurations and a low, actually fold-flat rear cargo space. These had been misplaced within the transition, sadly, so the HR-V’s rear seatback folds solely to that slightly-inclined angle that’s common to small hatches and crossover SUVs (regardless of some intelligent engineering to verify the seat backside folds down a bit to make manner for the seat again). The tip outcome is just not fairly flat, nevertheless it’s flat sufficient, we suppose. Two-wheel-drive fashions even achieve about 2 cubic ft of complete cargo quantity.
The change to a extra typical, Civic-related platform from the oddball Match additionally makes evaluating again seat area a little bit of a head scratcher. The specs say the previous HR-V had extra rear legroom, however that is a bit misleading. That previous “magic seat” sat increased off the bottom, making a extra chair-like seating place that offered a shocking quantity of legroom even when your knees had been truly fairly near the seats forward. The brand new one has extra space between rows however is decrease to the bottom. That is why the on-paper dimensions are a tiny bit worse, however there is a larger feeling of spaciousness and extra precise room for rear-facing little one seats. The again seat is wider, too, though in case you’re routinely placing three folks abreast, one thing fairly a bit bigger is so as — assume Passport or Pilot, not one thing ending in -V.
All in all, it is a good sequence of upgrades that manages to enhance the expertise whereas retaining the worth from nudging too far previous the $30,000 barrier. Our tester, all-in, rang the until at $30,590, which simply undercuts the entry-level CR-V. Usually, we would count on some overlap between the 2, however maybe Honda determined it might reasonably nudge these taking a look at a well-equipped HR-V into its bigger (and extra worthwhile) sibling.