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- Makes the most of its size
- Lots of standard equipment
- Great gas mileage
- Shift it yourself, if you like
- Composed, absorbent ride
- Thin acceleration
- Crash-test scores are mixed
- Doesn’t offer latest safety tech
- Road manners: meh
The 2018 Honda HR-V blends great rear-seat flexibility and gas mileage, but it’s slow.
The 2018 Honda HR-V is a small crossover SUV that’s perfectly acceptable as an economy-car substitute. It puts packaging over performance, gas mileage before great handling.
We think its priorities are in order, and we give it a 6.5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Carried over with only paint and wheel changes, the 2018 HR-V comes in LX, EX, and EX-L editions. Honda sells some HR-Vs with a 6-speed manual, but most go out the door with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive costs extra, and only is offered on CVT-equipped models.
Honda sets the HR-V apart from rivals like the Jeep Renegade with a curvy hatchback silhouette. It’s a playful shape with some swole fenders and tucked-away door handles that don’t entirely add up. The interior’s better: it’s a simple economy-car cabin, with better trim than the related Honda Fit.
The HR-V’s performance is best seen through a ride-quality lens. Its 141-horsepower 4-cylinder doles out fair acceleration on city streets with only a driver aboard. Anything more and it feels taxed, despite paddle shift controls that give the driver access to pre-selected “gears.” Handling is benign, but moderately sized wheels and good tuning give the HR-V a smoother ride than its short wheelbase might indicate. Gas mileage, at up to 31 mpg combined, is excellent.
The HR-V reigns over its class with a flip-folding rear seat that kicks up its bottom cushion. It’s not magic, it’s good engineering, and it gives the HR-V a tall load space right behind the front passengers. The rear seats fold the other way, too, and expose a big cargo bin of up to 58.8 cubic feet.
The HR-V’s crash-test scores from the IIHS disappoint, though federal scores are fine. A rearview camera comes standard, but the HR-V doesn’t have automatic emergency braking. For about $20,000, it does offer the usual power features standard, along with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Leather, navigation, a big touchscreen, and a side-view camera come on more expensive models.