First Drive: The 2023 Honda HR-V Is Full of Surprises

We get to spend time with the tiny but mighty Honda HR-V. It’s all-new with a fresh look and refreshed interior. We still have more to learn about it, but the 2023 Honda HR-V seems to be full of surprises so far. 

How does the 2023 Honda HR-V drive? 

2023 Honda HR-V review
2023 Honda HR-V | Allison Barfield, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Honda HR-V could be a little more athletic. It’s pretty adequate all-around, with a surprisingly smooth ride. We are surprised that it only has one engine option. It has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. 

According to Edmunds, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 10.8 seconds, which is leisurely for the class. But it has responsive handling and a solid amount of grip for athletic vibes. 

The brakes are a bit soft, so they’ll take some getting used to. Also, we haven’t noticed any body roll around sharp curves yet. However, the HR-V has a surprisingly loud interior. Wind and road noise fills the cabin, and the engine has a loud, droning wheeze. 

The HR-V is available with all-wheel drive and even features a snow mode and downhill descent control, making it seem capable of light off-roading adventures. 

But when we took it on a gravel road, it struggled to go up a few inclines without sliding. We wouldn’t push it too hard. 

Also, people keep bringing up the Honda Fit. We’re sorry that it was discontinued. It must have been a mistake because people loved it. Now the HR-V is based on the Honda Civic instead of the Fit and doesn’t have the magic seat anymore. 

Is the HR-V comfortable? 

It’s comfortable enough. We’re testing the 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L trim, which is the top-spec model. It has leather upholstery and large seats with plenty of adjustment controls. The seats are supportive and ergonomic, but the cushion could use more padding. 

The climate controls are solid and practical. Plus, it comes with heated seats. However, we aren’t sure if a heated steering wheel is available. It has a power sunroof, but it’s surprisingly small. 

There is plenty of legroom in the front, but taller people may want more headspace. Also, the rear seat looks massive. Apparently, passenger space comes at the cost of cargo room. 

You can access up to 24.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and up to 55.4 cubes total. There’s actually a surprising amount of storage space thanks to a deep center console, cubbies, and trays. 

Does the 2023 HR-V have good tech? 

Front angle view of gray 2023 Honda HR-V, the most affordable new Honda model that costs under $30,000
2023 Honda HR-V | Honda

The tech in the 2023 Honda HR-V is a little basic with modern touches. The base model has a 7-inch touchscreen, and you can upgrade to a 9-inch unit. A wireless charging pad and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are only available with the top trim. 

We’re surprised that it doesn’t have a head-up display, but the digital gauge cluster features navigation directions, traffic sign recognition, and it’s easy to access your trip specs. You can view your drive time and fuel economy on the infotainment system. 

So far, the software works quickly and seems easy to use, but we have more testing to do. Stay tuned for our full Honda HR-V review after we spend a week with it. More surprises could be in store.

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