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Why Would You Pick the Honda HR-V Over the Honda Civic Hatchback?

We’re still bummed that the Honda Fit won’t return as a new model for 2021. But at least Honda still offers a couple of small and versatile models for us to consider. The Honda HR-V  formally takes the Fit’s place, and then there’s the Civic Hatchback. Would you pick the HR-V over the Civic Hatchback?

Driving the 2021 Honda HR-V vs. the 2021 Honda Civic Hatchback

A blue 2021 Honda HR-V driving in the city
The 2021 Honda HR-V in action | Photo via Honda

You might want the HR-V because it provides an elevated driver’s position compared to the Civic Hatchback. Critics recognize the HR-V as a practical and efficient subcompact SUV. But it doesn’t earn the same praise that the Civic does for overall driving dynamics. 

As with the outgoing model, the 2021 HR-V presents a single powertrain consisting of a 147-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, and a continuously variable automatic (CVT). Standard models with front-wheel drive have an EPA rating of 20 mpg; all-wheel drive lowers fuel economy by a point. The main downside to the HR-V is that it can feel underpowered as you reach higher speeds. It’s not the smoothest option in the class either.

Silver 2021 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
2021 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring | Honda

Conversely, the 2021 Civic Hatchback gives you more oomph. It comes with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s available with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. The extra power makes for a quicker experience than the HR-V provides. Plus, the Civic Hatchback is still an excellent choice if you value fuel economy. But if you don’t care so much about efficiency, there’s the Civic Type R Hatchback, the fastest Civic you can buy. 

Comparing cabin comforts

A man loading a bike into a blue 2021 Honda HR-V with the trunk open.
2021 Honda HR-V | Honda

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Both the HR-V and the Civic have classy-looking cabins and seats for up to five people. You can jazz up either with leather along with other amenities. A highlight of the HR-V’s cabin is the available cargo space. The HR-V is one of the better subcompact SUVs to pick for storage and has the same Magic Seat feature that the Fit has. The Civic Hatchback’s total cargo space is a little smaller but still quite useful.

A 2021 Civic Hatchback with the rear seats folded down.
2021 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring | Autoblog

If you value in-car tech, you’ll gravitate toward the Civic Hatchback since it comes with more gadgets. The Civic Hatchback comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto integration. It’s also standard with active safety features, including automatic emergency braking.

Unfortunately, the HR-V is pretty sparse in this area. Standard features for the HR-V include a 5-inch display, Bluetooth, and backup camera. You have to upgrade for smartphone integration apps and active safety equipment, as U.S. News highlights. 

So, would you pick the teeny SUV or the hatchback?

The Honda HR-V is the brand's smallest crossover.
2021 Honda HR-V | Honda

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The HR-V and the Civic Hatchback have strong reputations for dependability and are among the more affordable new cars you can purchase. A 2021 Honda HR-V begins at $21,020, while the 2021 Honda Civic Hatchback starts at $23,100. You might pick the HR-V because it’s a little roomier and taller. But for a sportier experience and more standard features, it makes sense to go with the Civic Hatchback.