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Inspection of 2023 Honda HR-V: Competing Design In Its Division With Premier Cost

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Moving into a market where competition is fiercer, the Honda HR-V is determined to captivate buyers with its refreshed 2023 version. The latest HR-V is significantly larger than its predecessor, boasting an expanded interior and a more robust engine under the hood. Can it hold its own against its rival from across town, the Toyota Corolla Cross? The answer is a resounding yes, and in many aspects, it actually emerges as the superior choice.

Marking almost 10 inches in additional length and 3 inches in expanded width compared to the previous generation, the 2023 HR-V showcases a striking presence. To give you an idea of its size, it matches the length of the Civic hatchback. Speaking of the Civic, the HR-V now rides on the same platform as the Civic, departing from the outdated Fit-based platform.

In the realm of design, the new HR-V features a more mature appearance with its sculpted body, conventional rear door handles, and simplified front grille. Gone are the excessive lines of the previous HR-V, as Honda has opted for a sleeker overall look in the latest iteration.

Inside the cabin, significant enhancements set the HR-V apart in this entry-level category. Drawing inspiration from the Civic, the interior boasts a minimalist design and metal honeycomb mesh covering the air vents. Noteworthy is the center console which offers a convenient storage compartment underneath. Wrapped in premium materials, the HR-V’s interior exudes an upscale vibe that outshines the Corolla Cross.

The driver is greeted by a partially digital gauge cluster equipped with a 7-inch screen alongside a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Stepping up to the top-level EX-L brings in advanced technology with its larger 9-inch display. Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, with wireless connection available on the EX-L trim. Completing the tech package are a wireless charger and an eight-speaker audio system on the top-tier trim.

Turning our attention to the rear seats, a notable change awaits. The innovative Magic Seat from the previous HR-V, capable of accommodating larger items by folding up, has been replaced by a conventional split-folding rear seat in the new model. With the rear seats upright, the cargo capacity stands at 24.4 cubic feet.

On the safety front, the HR-V comes equipped with Honda Sensing, a suite of advanced safety technologies encompassing features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beams, and a rear-seat reminder.

Beneath the hood, the HR-V inherits its engine from the Civic. Powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, married to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the 2023 HR-V marks a power boost of 17 hp and 11 lb-ft compared to its predecessor’s 1.8-liter engine. However, the additional power does not translate to a more spirited driving experience, as the increased weight of the larger body affects acceleration performance. Like most models in its class, the HR-V displays a leisurely acceleration. Many enthusiasts wish Honda would offer the Civic’s 1.5-liter turbo in the HR-V for an enhanced performance.

The standard configuration involves front-wheel drive, with the option for all-wheel drive. The FWD version achieves a mileage rating of 26 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined, while the AWD variant returns figures of 25/30/27 mpg. These ratings are slightly lower than the prior HR-V’s, which is justifiable given the increased size of the 2023 HR-V.

Although the power output might leave some longing for more, the improved refinement of the new HR-V enhances the driving experience. The cabin boasts a tranquil ambiance, with minimal intrusion of road and tire noise. A lower seating position contributes to a more car-like feel, while the ride quality benefits from the new independent rear suspension. While some body roll may be observed in corners, it remains consistent with its peers.

Available in three trim levels— LX, Sport, and EX-L, the 2023 Honda HR-V starts at $24,985 for the base LX, inclusive of destination charges, with an additional $1,500 for all-wheel drive. The well-equipped EX-L with AWD comes in at a reasonable $30,195.

In conclusion, the 2023 HR-V has matured significantly, offering a larger footprint, expanded interior space, and improved driving dynamics. While it may not be deemed exhilarating, the HR-V ticks most boxes that buyers in this segment are looking for: ample space, attractive pricing, and a premium-feeling interior that surpasses many competitors in its class.

Image Source: / Shutterstock

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