Is the Honda HR-V Underpowered?

Honda offers a charming lineup of versatile cars that can suit many drivers’ needs. Not too long ago, Honda decided to enter the subcompact SUV realm with its HR-V. The HR-V shines for its practical nature and predicted reliability. But some often wonder, is the HR-V underpowered?

The brightest aspects of the Honda HR-V

a silver top trim HR-V driving fast on a scene road by the shore
Honda HR-V Touring | Honda Media

The HR-V returns for 2021 largely unchanged begins at $20,920. This subcompact SUV gets credit for its excellent fuel economy and has an EPA rating of 29 mpg. Furthermore, critics like  U.S. News appreciate the HR-V for its sporty feel. This Honda is easy to maneuver too.  

Experts at Consumer Reports recognize the HR-V for the same reasons. In CR’s 2020 road test, the HR-V impressed reviewers with its secure handling that boosts a driver’s confidence. But at the same time, CR experts noted that the HR-V isn’t an ideal companion for long road trips.

The HR-V makes an “exacerbated” impression 

2019 Honda HR-V Sport
2019 Honda HR-V Sport | Honda

The HR-V may boast agility in some ways, but its overall driving experience leaves much to be desired. Unlike rivals, including the Hyundai Kona and the Mazda CX-30, the HR-V doesn’t have a turbocharged engine available. The HR-V has only one engine, and that’s a 147-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission. It comes standard with front-wheel-drive, and all-wheel-drive is available. 

As CR puts it plainly, the HR-V feels underpowered, and the loudness of its engine further exacerbates this. CR also found that when equipped with AWD, the HR-V takes 10.5 seconds to hit 60 mph. This figure isn’t so bad for city driving, but it’s not as acceptable when driving on the highway. Other critics also note that the HR-V can feel somewhat stiff and choppy, but this happens mostly on bumpy roads. 

Is the HR-V’s lackluster engine a dealbreaker? 

Depending on what you’re looking for, the HR-V isn’t all bad. While we don’t necessarily recommend the HR-V for long trips, it could serve as a respectable city driver. Furthermore, the HR-V’s classy interior presents more value. 

Interior elements 

2020 Honda HR-V Touring interior
2020 Honda HR-V Touring interior | Honda

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On the inside, the current HR-V demonstrates how trendy Honda’s style has become. Overall, the HR-V’s cabin looks upscale, and it’s pretty spacious too. It can seat up to five people, plus it’s generous on the available legroom. U.S. News calls the HR-V’s cargo room its “crown jewel.” The HR-V has a Magic Rear seat that you can reconfigure to carry various items. 

The HR-V is standard with cloth upholstery with leather seats available as an upgrade. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with many tech gadgets, but that’s the case with other subcompact SUVs. Standard infotainment features include a 5-inch display screen and Bluetooth. For more tech, you can upgrade to a 7-inch touchscreen plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. There are also available active safety features, including a blind spot camera.