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Big things are lined up for Honda and its dedicated fans this year. The Japanese carmaker is set to release three redesigned utility vehicles for the 2023 model year – an SUV onslaught that will include the Honda Pilot, CR-V, and HR-V models. Among these, the latter was unveiled first, which sheds light on the all-new HR-V compact SUV. 

Despite the modifications that Honda has done to the 2023 HR-V SUV, the vehicle received the lowest ranking overall score (8.1) following tests by U.S. News. However, that’s a decent score, considering some brands fall short of that mark. Still, we are yet to know the complete ranking of all 2023 Honda models because other models, like the Pilot and Accord, are yet to be tested. 

The HR-V ranks lowest among 2023 Honda models

The newly redesigned 2023 Honda HR-V has an expanded exterior size while the passenger and cargo space remains unchanged. It also boasts a spacious, upscale interior, enhanced handling, and a comfortable ride. Additionally, the newly rolled-out HR-V gets a performance boost thanks to the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (same as the one in the Honda Civic) that replaces the 2022 model’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder. With a 158-hp power rating, the 2023 HR-V delivers 17 more ponies than its predecessor. 

Despite all these bell-and-jingles, the 2023 HV-R ranks lowest (No. 5) in the subcompact SUV segment in U.S. News reviews with an overall score of 8.1 out of 10. Moreover, the model stands at No. 28 and 22 in the crossover SUV and SUVs with two rows segments, respectively. This ranking is based on evaluating 21 pieces of research and data gathered from multiple professional sources, including automotive websites, newspapers, and magazines. 

According to the report, the car excels in safety, with a high score of 9.9, followed by interior design and comfort (8.4), performance (7.0), and a quality and reliability score of 75 out of 100 from J.D. Power. While the U.S. News ranking places the HV-R at the bottom of the pile, it’s still pretty early to make the final conclusion since a few models, such as the Toyota Corolla-rivaling Honda Accord and Pilot, are yet to be tested. 

Factors that could’ve made the HR-V’s score low

The front end of headlights, hood, and grille, of a 2023 Honda HR-V compact SUV model
The front end of a 2023 Honda HR-V | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

One of the factors that might have made the 2023 Honda HR-V get the lowest overall score for Honda is its weak acceleration. The car’s powertrain comprises a 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive; an AWD version is also available. Yet, its poky acceleration restricts it from winning over its rivals, such as the Toyota Corolla Cross and Subaru Crosstrek. 

Expert reviews on the 2022 HR-V highlighted the vehicle’s noisy engine and sluggish acceleration, and the new 2.0-liter engine isn’t any better. It struggles to dash forward with gusto, particularly from a stationary position, and it’s quite noisy when pushed. The leisurely stroll from 0-60 mph takes 11 seconds. That might be attributed to the increased car weight, which hurts its performance and slightly lowers its fuel-efficiency ratings. 

Additionally, although the incoming HR-V has an expanded exterior size and a more modern interior design, the passenger and cargo space remains unchanged. For example, Car and Driver pointed out that the car doesn’t feature the second-row “Magic Seat” design as the outgoing model, meaning owners can’t flip and fold the rear bench to create a low, flat floor for increased cargo capacity. 

The 2023 Honda HR-V is still a great subcompact SUV

Despite our critical view of the 2023 Honda HR-V, it’s worth noting that the 8.1 overall score it garnered is still decent. Therefore, the subcompact SUV model isn’t a bad vehicle by any means. It features a redesigned exterior with smooth lines, an eye-catching grille, more substantial headlamps, and impressive design cues that enhance its stance and appearance more than the somewhat robotic model currently available. 

The new second-generation HR-V borrows many of its features and equipment from the current Honda Civic, while the previous model shared most of its components from the now-discontinued Honda Fit hatchback. Additionally, the 2023 HR-V measures 8.7 inches longer and 2.6 inches wider, and its wheelbase has also grown by 1.7 inches. 

Enter the interior, and you’ll be in awe at the high-end appearance that’s both classic and attractive. While it lacks the second-row “Magic Seat” design, it provides comfortable and supportive front seats with wide-ranging adjustment options. Furthermore, the engine now has a higher capacity and power output, and the new model comes with more standard features, including overhauled front and rear suspension systems. 

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