The 2023 Honda HR-V is a subcompact SUV that is designed to offer drivers a spacious and versatile interior, along with agile handling and fuel efficiency. With a starting price of around $25,000, it competes with other popular subcompact SUVs like the Mazda CX-30 and the Kia Seltos.
About That Body
On the outside, the 2023 HR-V features a sleek and modern design with a bold front grille and sculpted lines that give it a sporty look. The LED headlights and taillights are standard across all trims, while the EX and higher trims get a power moonroof and roof rails.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is the only option and it delivers 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that provides smooth acceleration, although it can feel a bit sluggish at times. The HR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available on all trims for an additional cost.
Inside the 2023 Honda HR-V
Inside, the 2023 HR-V offers a spacious and comfortable cabin with plenty of room for up to five passengers. The rear seats can be folded down to create up to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo space, making it a great choice for hauling large items. The base LX trim comes with cloth upholstery. However our EX-L tester has leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated front seats.
The HR-V comes with a standard 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, and a four-speaker audio system. The EX and higher trims get a larger 9-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, and additional USB ports.
In terms of safety, the 2023 HR-V comes with a host of standard features, including automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available on the higher trims.
Driving the 2023 Honda HR-V
The best update for the new HR-V is the on-road driving characteristics. Around town the 2023 HR-V is nimble and easy to maneuver. Steering is precise and responsive with significant feedback. The suspension is dialed in for a good ride while providing great handling characteristics.
On the highway there is a little bit of road noise, but on par for the class. It tracks straight and maintains speed fairly well. Honda uses a CVT that probably provides for weight savings and efficiency when compared to a regular automatic. When paired with the 158 hp 2.0-liter inline 4, it just feels sluggish. The engine doesn’t sound great at higher rpm but with a torque output of 138- ft. lbs. it needs to rev to get into the power range.
It seems Honda has taken notes from their work on the Civic and applied their experience to the HR-V. A performance variant with the turbocharged engine from the Civic Type R would be a good option for those wanting more.
Leaving the beaten path, or in bad weather, the 2023 HR-V’s AWD system is quite effective. Traveling well maintained forest roads or snow covered pavement isn’t an issue for the HR-V. When wheel slip occurs the AWD system kicks in quickly and seamlessly. The brake based limited slip system works well on smaller obstacles. On larger obstacles the lack of low end torque greatly reduces the capability.
Traveling off-pavement, this vehicle performs best when left in normal drive mode and with traction control reduced. There is no way to fully disable traction control, so hitting the traction control button only reduces the traction control system. This setting does allow the engine to rev a bit more and gets more torque to the wheels.
If you’re looking to get into rougher terrain then another vehicle would be better.
Pricing starts at $28,950 for the 2023 HR-V. Our tester is equipped with a single option, the Nordic Forest Paint for $395. Adding in the $1,245 destination charge brings the total to $30,950. Not a bad price at all for everything the HR-V has to offer.
Overview and On-Road
Overall, the 2023 Honda HR-V is a solid choice for anyone looking for a versatile and efficient subcompact SUV. Its spacious interior, fuel-efficient engine, and standard safety features make it a practical choice for small families. Its agile handling and sporty design make it fun to drive. There is something to be said for the simpleness of the design. It should be a long lasting vehicle and need minimal repairs. Repairs should also be simple to complete, if needed. However, the sluggish acceleration can be a drawback for those wanting more performance.
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.