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Honda automobiles usually perform well on critics’ scorecards and finish near the top of lists. For example, eight Honda models recently earned Car and Driver “2023 Editors’ Choice” honors. They include the Civic, CR-V, Pilot, and Passport. However, the 2023 Honda HR-V subcompact SUV got left in the dust.

How do vehicles earn a spot on Car and Driver’s annual ‘Editors’ Choice’ list?

Every year, Car and Driver experts review and test hundreds of vehicles and narrow down their top picks in the “10Best Cars” and “10Best Trucks and SUVs” ranked lists. However, several capable vehicles miss the “10Best” by a fraction of a point. So C/D’s “Editors’ Choice” is an honor roll for cars that don’t make the “10Best” but performed well enough that reviewers still recommend them to family, friends, and readers. 

Three Honda models made C/D’s “2023 10Best” lists, including the Accord, Civic, and CR-V. The Civic Si, Odyssey, Ridgeline, Pilot, and Passport joined them in the ”2023 Editiors’ Choice” roundup. The stacked “2023 Editors’ Choice” subcompact SUV class includes standouts like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, Kia Soul, Mazda CX-30, and Volkswagen Taos. But the Honda HR-V is noticeably absent. Why?

A look at the 2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V. The Honda HR-V is the only Honda model left off this Car and Driver list.
2023 Honda HR-V | Honda

Compared with the subcompact SUVs on C/D’s “Editors’ Choice” list, the 2023 Honda HR-V scored lower in testing. For example, the comparable Mazda CX-30 scored the highest, with 9.5 out of 10, the Hyundai Kona earned a 9.0, and the other three models received an 8.5. That left the HR-V off the list with a score of 8.0. 

This Honda model underwent a complete redesign from the 2022 model year. Now it shares the same platform and engine as the Civic. However, although the longer, wider Civic platform injects favorable driving characteristics via its independent multilink rear suspension, the 2023 HR-V loses the flip-down second-row seat that made the previous model “one of the most flexible cargo-friendly small SUVs,” C/D says. 

The 2023 Honda HR-V comes in three trim levels — LX, Sport, and EX-L — with starting prices ranging from $25,095 to $29,195. Car and Driver picked the $27,195 Sport trim as the “one to buy” for its “slightly more aggressive exterior styling” and exclusive 18-inch wheels. However, every trim has an underwhelming 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable transmission and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. 

Is the 2023 Honda HR-V worth buying?

Other subcompact SUVs present better options. However, the possibility of seeing Honda’s 180-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter in the new HR-V or even a hybrid drivetrain makes this small crossover worth waiting for if you can. 

Although Honda hasn’t officially announced those options for the HR-V, the Civic already offers the turbo powertrain, and European models provide a hybrid version. Is it too much to hope for an AWD 315-hp Honda HR-V Type R?


The 2024 Honda HR-V’s Biggest Hit and Miss