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The Honda HR-V hasn’t exactly been the most competitive subcompact SUV in recent years. The HR-V was Honda’s worst SUV model in terms of value. Its exterior design had flaws that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found dangerous. The IIHS’ crashworthiness tests produced some concerning results. The HR-V was underpowered and downright undesirable in the eyes of many consumers. Now, Honda’s subcompact SUV nameplate has been making headlines because of a bold new redesign. Why is the HR-V suddenly a small SUV to watch?

The Honda HR-V had a rough start

The 2023 Honda HR-V sitting next to a canyon road.
The all-new 2023 Honda HR-V was impressive. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Japanese automaker Honda produces some of the most competitive small and midsize car models in the industry. Some of its SUV nameplates have become staples in their respective vehicle segments, like the CR-V. The HR-V nameplate is one of the automaker’s newest additions to its lineup.

The Honda HR-V was first introduced in America as a 2016 model year as an SUV sized between the Honda Fit and Honda CR-V. It initially got great reviews for its smooth ride quality, roomy cabin, and spacious cargo area, but its safety scores were low from the beginning of its American production history. A lack of power and a tricky infotainment system made the subcompact SUV inferior to segment leaders.

The HR-V struggled with similar issues for a half-decade. It appeared that the Japanese automaker had no desire to improve its subcompact SUV so it could compete with rivals. As the HR-V remained stagnant, models like the Hyundai Kona entered the spotlight. The Kona became a hit when it debuted as a 2018 model year. The Hyundai Kona has improved over the last four model years and has a large following because it’s so fun to drive.

South Korean automaker Hyundai’s subcompact SUV became the model to beat in its segment. Models like the Mazda CX-30 emerged to challenge the Kona as the HR-V struggled to remain relevant with little to no improvements year over year.

Honda finally fixed the HR-V for 2023

Honda has finally committed to improving its subcompact SUV. The HR-V was once based on the Honda Fit, which is now discontinued. According to Motor1, the 2023 Honda HR-V is based on the same platform as the popular Honda Civic.

Honda has completely redesigned the HR-V nameplate for the 2023 model year. The subcompact SUV has a more attractive exterior and comes with better standard tech and features. It even got a power boost. Honda has addressed most, if not all of the main issues that consumers had with the Honda HR-V.

The 2023 Honda HR-V is the most competitive HR-V model yet

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What Does the Honda HR-V Have to Offer?

The 2023 Honda HR-V is the most expensive HR-V yet, but it finally provides value to justify its price. The new HR-V is available in three different trim levels: the LX, Sport, and EX-L. Car and Driver claims that all-wheel drive can be added to each trim for an additional $1,500. The 2023 HR-V starts at $23,650. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to make 158 horsepower. The subcompact SUV achieves 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

It comes standard with push-button start, one-touch turn indicators, and cruise control. The HR-V includes the largest standard infotainment screen yet, and upper trim levels come with even more upgrades. The new HR-V is so appealing because it’s the first HR-V model that consumers have a reason to be genuinely excited about in years.

Read more about the 2023 Honda HR-V in the next article below.