2016 Honda HR-V: Good car, good value–if you can find one

3 Feb 2016 | 1,085 views | No Comment

By Don Hammonds

Honda has this incredible knack to pick just the right product at just the right time.

And they've now done it again with the 2016 Honda HR-V.

[caption id="attachment_8001" align="alignnone" width="600"]2016 Honda HR-V 2016 Honda HR-V[/caption]

It's fun to drive, it has plenty of room, it's got a flexible "Magic Seat" to die for, it's got this wonderful LaneWatch feature that tells you what's going on on the passenger side of the car, and it's really elegant in a sporty sort of way.

And most important for Honda, it is on its way to being the best seller in its hot small SUV-CUV segment. But there's one little problem: Getting one is a tough task. Every single one is spoken one at most dealerships, so you will have to pay full freight on the sticker,

But that's okay.  It's priced quite reasonably.  Our full equipped EX-L with Navi listed for only $26,720.

Base price ranges between $19,115 to $25,840.

   It's not bad on fuel economy either--an important point when even a number of small SUVs are relatively greasy with fuel.

The HR-V is rated at 25 or 28 city and 32-35 miles per gallon--pretty good, I'd say. And you will save $1,250 in gasoline costs over five years compared with the average new vehicle. Annul fuel costs are about $1,550, considering we are talking about an SUV, no matter how small it may be.

There is only one engine provided for this little SUV--a 1.8 liter 141 horsepower four cylinder, and it is backed by either a six speed manual or an automatic CVT transmission. It's adequate for the task but it could certainly use a bit more oomph.  Both front wheel drive and all wheel drive versions are offered.

   In terms of looks, this is one cool little SUV, with styling that features a rather dramatic kick-up character line that gives some interest to the car's styling profile. It looks particularly suave in a dark color--our test model was black with black leather and truly looked upscale to us.

It handled quite well, which is what you would expect from Honda.

But the star of the HR-V party is the phenomenally flexible roomy back seat it can be flipped up, folded down flat, tilted back for a nice little snooze in the back seat, and used in countless ways. The HR-V is based on the Fit platform and the so-called Magic Seat has sold many a Fit for Honda.

Another terrific feature is an  autobrake holder that can automatically keep the brake at a long stop light--the feature goes away when you touch the accelerator.

Honda says that all that interior flexibility means that the little HR-V can tote up to 58.8 cubic feet of items. And those items can be up to eight feet long or four feet tall.

Clearly the HR-V has an awful lot going for it.

      Faults?  Well, though the interior is nice looking and done in pretty nice materials, the whole console and door panel needs to be rethought. The cubby holes on the doors are virtually useless because they are so small you can barely get your hand into them.

     Meanwhile, the outlets for plug in devices are buried way under the top of the console. Maneuvering the devices and the wiring under there is quite a feat and takes two much time.

        Still, we loved the little HR-V---and we would be happy to have one parked in our garage.

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