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2021 Honda HR-V Review

The 2021 Honda HR-V ranks in the middle of the subcompact SUV class. It’s easy to maneuver and has a ton of cargo room, but it suffers from a weak engine and obtuse infotainment controls.

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty handling
  • Stellar gas mileage
  • Huge, practical cargo hold
  • Underwhelming engine
  • Short list of standard features
  • Distracting infotainment and climate controls

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Honda HR-V's #8 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the Honda HR-V has a score of 7.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 28 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 5.7
Interior: 7.0
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.0 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Honda HR-V?

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Is the Honda HR-V a Good SUV?

Yes, the Honda HR-V is a good subcompact SUV. With a ton of cargo room and great fuel economy estimates, it’s one of the most practical vehicles in the class. On top of that, it’s easy to maneuver and has playful handling. However, this Honda also has lackluster acceleration, and its infotainment system and climate controls can be distracting to use while driving.

Why You Can Trust Us: 28 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next SUV as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like horsepower ratings, fuel economy estimates, and cargo space dimensions with 28 professional Honda HR-V reviews.

This 2021 HR-V review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Honda HR-V?

The HR-V is a practical small SUV with a well-built cabin and a ton of cargo space. However, shoppers interested in performance or lots of features may want to look elsewhere. The Mazda CX-3 is one of the most athletic vehicles in the class, and it boasts lively acceleration too. If you plan to do some off-road adventuring, consider the Jeep Renegade. If you have a little leeway in your budget, you might consider the richly equipped Buick Encore.

Compare the HR-V, CX-3, and Encore »

2020 vs. 2021 Honda HR-V: What's the Difference?

The 2021 Honda HR-V is virtually identical to the 2020 model, as there were no major changes.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 HR-V »

Honda introduced the HR-V as an all-new vehicle for 2016. Here are the key changes over the past few years:

  • 2019: refreshed exterior styling; Sport and Touring trims debuted; manual transmission discontinued; Honda Sensing safety suite and smartphone connectivity became available
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: no notable changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 HR-V, 2019 HR-V, and 2020 HR-V reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Honda HR-V Cost?

There is no official pricing for the 2021 Honda HR-V as of this writing. Based on pricing for the 2020 model, we estimate that the 2021 version will retail for around $20,900, which is about average for the class. Pricing for the range-topping Touring should start at roughly $29,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda HR-V Versus the Competition

Honda HR-V vs. Toyota C-HR

The Toyota C-HR is not a bad subcompact SUV, but it falls short of the Honda in several ways. The Toyota’s main advantage lies in its lengthier standard features list, which includes Apple CarPlay and a touch screen; both of those features are available in the HR-V. In most other respects, the Honda comes out as the superior SUV. It has nicer cabin materials, more cargo and passenger room, and a more capable engine. Unlike the C-HR, it can also be had with all-wheel drive.

Compare the HR-V and C-HR »

Honda HR-V vs. Hyundai Kona

The Hyundai Kona is one of the best SUVs in the class. Compared to the Honda, it has more standard tech and driver assistance features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lane keep assist, and a driver attention monitor. The Kona also has a zippy turbocharged engine option, and its lithe handling makes it a joy to drive. The Honda has slightly better fuel economy ratings and more cargo space, but overall, the Kona is the better vehicle.

Compare the HR-V and Kona »

Compare the HR-V, C-HR, and Kona »

HR-V Interior: Practically Perfect

HR-V Cargo Space

Cargo space in this vehicle depends on its drivetrain but is generally good for the segment. With front-wheel drive, it has 24.3 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Folding them down unveils 58.8 cubic feet. With all-wheel drive, the Honda has 23.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 57.6 or 55.9 cubic feet behind the front seats, depending on trim level.

Not only are those great totals for the class, but you’ll also get Honda’s rear Magic Seat, which can fold in numerous ways to accommodate longer or bulkier objects.

How Many People Does the HR-V Seat?

Five people can sit in this SUV. Legroom is good in both rows. Most adults will find enough headroom in the front, but it gets a bit tighter in the back because of the sloping roofline. Some critics note that it can be hard to get comfortable in the driver's seat.

Cloth upholstery comes standard. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are available.

HR-V and Child Car Seats

This SUV has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. There’s also a tether anchor for the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow lower anchors from either outboard seat. The tethers can be confused for other hardware, and the lower anchors are set deeply in the seats.

HR-V Interior Quality

This Honda has a handsome, well-built cabin with quality plastic surfaces and good fit and finish.

HR-V Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Lower trims of the HR-V have physical controls for climate and audio functions that are easy to use, though without the benefit of smartphone integration. While the upper trims have more advanced features, including a touch screen and smartphone connectivity, nearly all audio functions are carried out through the touch screen. The physical climate controls are replaced by a panel of haptic-feedback buttons, which can be hard to use while driving.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch display, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and a second USB port
  • Other available features: proximity keyless entry, automatic climate control, remote start, and a moonroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

HR-V Performance: Spirited and Thrifty

HR-V Engine

The sole engine in this vehicle is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder rated at 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

The engine is fine for getting you around town, but it sounds and feels strained when the crossover is loaded with people or cargo. Acceleration comes slowly. Some critics say the CVT pairs well with the engine, but others find it only serves to make performance more of a sore spot.

HR-V Gas Mileage

The EPA hasn’t evaluated the 2021 HR-V as of this writing, but it did test the mechanically identical 2020 model. With front-wheel drive, this Honda returns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. That’s outstanding for a subcompact crossover SUV. Adding AWD lowers those estimates to 26/27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

HR-V Ride and Handling

The HR-V has playful handling that helps make it fun to drive. This crossover keeps its composure around turns, and its precise steering and strong brakes boost its appeal. The ride is generally comfortable, but rougher roads will be felt in the cabin.

Read more about performance »

HR-V Reliability

Is the Honda HR-V Reliable?

The 2021 HR-V has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Honda HR-V Warranty

Honda covers the HR-V with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

HR-V Safety

HR-V Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 HR-V an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The HR-V received five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 HR-V.

HR-V Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera

Read more about safety »

HR-V Dimensions and Weight

The HR-V is 14.2 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,906 to 3,150 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Honda HR-V Built?

Honda builds the 2021 HR-V in Mexico.

Which Honda HR-V Model Is Right for Me?

Honda makes the 2021 HR-V in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All five have a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard in the lower trims; all-wheel drive is standard in the Touring and available in the other four. Every trim can also be outfitted with front and rear parking sensors for around $500 and remote start for around $400.

We recommend skipping the sparsely equipped base trim in favor of the Honda HR-V Sport or EX trims for their added tech and safety equipment.

Honda HR-V LX

Standard equipment in the LX trim includes a 5-inch infotainment display, a four-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, a 60/40-split-folding rear Magic Seat, a rearview camera, and alloy wheels. We estimate the LX will have an MSRP around $20,900.

Honda HR-V Sport

The Sport adds a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a second USB port, Pandora compatibility, the HondaLink telematics system, paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Active Noise Cancellation, and fog lights. There are also a few Sport-exclusive features, such as sport pedals and gloss black mirrors. The Sport is likely to have a retail price around $22,600.

Honda HR-V EX

Honda HR-V EX models (roughly $24,100) gain a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, heated front seats, and a moonroof. Also standard is the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, which bundles a collision braking mitigation system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, a road departure mitigation system, and adaptive cruise control. Honda LaneWatch and automatic high-beam headlights are included too. Note that the EX loses the leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Honda HR-V EX-L

Included among the pickups in the EX-L are an auto-dimming rearview mirror and leather-trimmed seats. It also regains the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Prices for the EX-L are expected to start at around $25,700.

Honda HR-V Touring

The top-of-the-line Touring trim gains standard AWD, a satellite-linked navigation system, remote start, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and LED headlights. The Touring will likely have an MSRP around $29,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2021 Honda HR-V specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Honda HR-V stands out from other crossovers in the subcompact SUV class with its large and practical cargo hold, well-built cabin, great gas mileage, and composed handling. However, if you want a robust engine or a long list of standard tech or driver assistance features, this vehicle may not be the best choice for you.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "For maximizing cargo space and versatility while still preserving small-car fuel economy, the Honda HR-V is tough to beat." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2021 HR-V is Honda’s smallest crossover SUV, slotting below the CR-V. The Honda HR-V is a great choice among subcompact SUVs, boasting a highly versatile and roomier-than-expected interior, good driving manners, an efficient engine, and the high reliability and resale values for which Honda is known." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2021 Honda HR-V is one of the best bets for those seeking to squeeze the most possible interior space out of a small SUV. Though Honda’s least-expensive crossover has faced newer rivals like the Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-30 and the reborn Chevrolet Trailblazer, they can’t match the HR-V's innovative interior flexibility and cargo space … Overall, the HR-V remains a competitive and recommendable entry-level SUV, but its value proposition and enticement has waned some as newer and ever-more completive models enter this burgeoning segment." -- Autotrader
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