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Honda has some of the top-selling SUVs in the U.S., and most of them have positive sales figures in 2023.  Its most popular SUV, the Honda CR-V, has had a 45.57% growth in year-over-year (YOY) sales. However, the Honda HR-V‘s sales have stagnated with negative YOY sales figures. 

Honda sales are mostly up in 2023

Most Honda models are experiencing sales growth, according to GoodCarBadCar. The Honda Odyssey has 75.44% YOY growth, with 41,801 sales as of August. The Accord has seen 36.28% YOY growth with 135,379 sales. Honda has sold 227,785 units of its top-selling CR-V models. 

Other popular Honda models, like the Honda Civic and Honda Pilot, are also seeing sales growth. The Honda HR-V is the only vehicle that is in the red for YOY sales. 

The Honda HR-V sales slump is not new. By March 2023, Honda was already reporting a 37% decrease in YOY sales. Sales have hovered around the 9,000 mark for most of the year. The latest sales reported in August of 11,404 are the best numbers of the year. 

The SUV market remains very competitive in the U.S., as multiple automakers introduce hybrid and all-electric options to the consumer. This, combined with supply chain issues, a changing economy, and worker strikes, is presenting multiple barriers to successful auto sales. However, all other Honda models are surviving and showing positive sales numbers for 2023. 

Why Honda’s HR-V sales are likely due to performance

For 2023, Honda revamped their HR-V SUV. According to Honda Auto News, the 2023 HR-V is now on the same platform as the 11th-generation Civic. This improves its ride and handling. The powertrain is also improved with a 2.0-liter engine and increased torque. 

Despite its enhanced suspension and motor, the HR-V driving experience is not performance-noteworthy. It’s still relatively slow. With 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque, the car does not have the zippy power you might expect from Honda’s other models. 

However, the Honda HR-V is affordable, with a starting price of $24,100. It has the option for AWD and accessories that make this subcompact crossover SUV well-equipped to handle mild to moderate outdoor excursions while hauling sports equipment like bicycles or kayaks. 

To sum it all up, the HR-V is affordable, slow, and will get the job done. There’s nothing exciting about it, which might be why sales are slumping. However, the low sales price could be why Honda is seeing sales increase in an uncertain economy. 

Performance isn’t the HR-V’s only problem

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In addition to performance, the Honda HR-V has another problem, and that is its reputation. Previous low-performing HR-Vs were on the same platform as the Honda Fit. It also has received some poor safety ratings from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IHHS). 

The Civic is a much better platform for increasing HR-V performance, but car enthusiasts with knowledge of suspension systems and chassis are not likely to purchase this budget-friendly, low-performance vehicle. The average consumer buying an HR-V is less informed. They simply want a reliable and inexpensive vehicle that offers some flexible travel options. Honda’s improvements are not likely to sway the shaky reputation of HR-V in one year. 

Not all Honda HR-V buyers are aware of Honda’s upgrades. This could account for the increase in sales figures for August 2023. But there are probably still quite a few SUV shoppers wondering if the 2023 Honda HR-V is worth buying. It is affordable and has most of the latest tech options, and it does OK in terms of economic performance. It isn’t going to excite anyone out on the road, but not everyone is looking for a sports SUV.