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2016 Honda HR-V Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2016 Honda HR-V

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Trucks are the hot ticket these days. More accurately, light trucks which includes pickups of course, SUVs including the crossover variety as well as minivans.

You might not think of Honda as a truck maker but they are with a lineup that includes three SUVs - the HR-V, CR-V and Pilot, the Ridgeline pickup and Odyssey minivan.

The 2016 Honda HR-V is the newest member of Honda’s truck family. This entry-level subcompact crossover keeps Honda in the hunt with others such as the Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-3, Fiat 500X, Nissan Juke, Chevy Trax and the like.

James Jenkins, Manager of Light Trucks at Honda Product Planning, recently stopped by the Chicago area and addressed members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) to speak about the all-new HR-V and Honda’s other light trucks.

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The 2016 HR-V is priced starting just above $19,000. Honda needed to move into the under $20,000 range with its CR-V sitting higher priced starting at $23,495.

The HR-V is built on the Honda Fit platform but is longer and wider to give it the needed people and cargo capacity of a crossover. The HR-V is a five-seater and is offered in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It comes in three trims - LX, EX and EX-L NAVI.

The LX is priced at $19,115, the EX at $21,165 and the EX-L Navi at $24,590. The added cost for all-wheel drive is $1250 and destination charge is $880.

Powering all HR-Vs is a 141HP, 1.8-L, 16-Valve four-cylinder mated to a CVT automatic. There is a 6-speed manual also available in LX and EX trims in front-wheel drive only.

EPA test fuel economy ratings for the CVT-equipped FWD version is 31 mpg combined, or 3.2 gallons per 100 miles, with 28 city mpg and 35 highway mpg. With AWD the EPA test ratings drop a bit to 29 mpg combined, with 27 city mpg and 32 highway. The manual transmission versions are test rated at 25 city mpg and 34 highway mpg. Again, remember, your on-the-road mileage may vary depending on driving style, vehicle load, road conditions, terrain and temperature.

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Crossovers and SUVs are all about versatility and flexibility. This has made them very popular especially since you can buy one for around the same price as compact or midsize car. Plus, today you can get the same or better fuel economy than a car. The HR-V cargo capacity is 24.3 cuft with the rear seat up. When the seat is folded cargo space more than doubles to 58.8 cuft. In AWD versions you get about 1.2 cuft less.

To help make all this space happen Honda located the fuel tank in the center of the vehicle platform. The second row Magic Seat, as Honda calls it, folds completely flat into the floor. Depending on how you fold the rear seat you can get five different configurations of seating.

A handy feature equipped on all HR-V models is a multi-angle rearview camera. The camera can show a top view, normal view or wide rear view when the transmission is in reverse, displayed on the center-mounted instrument panel screen.

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Another great feature that’s unique to Honda and equipped on the HR-V is LaneWatch display, which uses a camera located at the bottom of the passenger-side outside mirror to capture a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway that is displayed on the IP screen. The image is displayed when the right turn signal is activated, or when a button on the end of the turn signal stalk is pressed. I love this feature to check for bicycle riders on the right side.

The media-loan HR-V I drove was the all-wheel drive EX priced at $23,215, and with the $880 shipping totaled at $24,095.

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Around the streets of Chicago the HR-V handled well and is easy to maneuver. The 17-inch wheels and 55-series tires are well suited for a comfortable ride with good handling and help fend-off the road shock of potholes and the like. Far too many new vehicles today have 50- or 45-series tires for appearance sake but leave you continuously jarred as you drive about.

The exterior size of the HR-V certainly is big-city friendly for slipping into parking spaces or squeezing around double-parked delivery trucks. Most of my driving was around town and I didn’t make any road trips or long highway drives. That said, fuel consumption seemed reasonable. I’m not a lover of CVTs especially in combination with a 4-cylinder engine. The HR-Vs naturally aspirated 1.8-liter worked a bit hard in highway merging and acceleration. Although, in stop and go in-city driving I didn’t find any disappointments or concerns.

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On the inside you get the SUV benefits of a more-upright seating position and good outward visibility. Ingress and egress is nice. There are no knobs for audio and climate control. There are steering wheel mounted controls for the audio. The touch screen vs. knob mix on many vehicles is still being refined and sometimes the ability to use these controls is very critical for folks with certain ailments.

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There’s a lot more detail and specifications about the HR-V that you can find with just a mouse click on Comparing the HR-V to other small utilities can be done right here at

Like many other Hondas, the HR-V received a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, the top score available in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP).

Honda is aiming to sell 70,000 units over the first twelve-months. With the hotness of the small crossover segment this appears to be achievable in spite of stiff competition from many other fine crossovers.

As I wrap-up this write-up the short list of finalists for the 2016 North American Truck/Utility of the Year just was released and the Honda HR-V is among the contenders. The winner will be announced in January.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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