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MSRP: $20,520 - 28,540

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.5
Safety: TBD
Reliability: TBD

2019 Honda HR-V Review

The 2019 Honda HR-V ranks well among subcompact SUVs because it delivers ample passenger and cargo space. It also earns a lot of general praise from critics as a practical daily driver with great fuel economy and an upscale interior quality.

Pros & Cons

  • Cavernous cargo hold and rear seat
  • Great fuel economy estimates
  • Upscale interior
  • Weak engine
  • Few standard features

New for 2019

  • Refreshed exterior design
  • New Sport and Touring trims
  • Revamped optional touch screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and volume knob
  • Honda Sensing safety features now optional
  • Manual transmission no longer available

Is the Honda HR-V a Good Car?

The Honda HR-V is a good subcompact SUV. Despite the small size of vehicles in this class, the HR-V has a roomy back seat that can easily accommodate adults. This Honda’s cargo volume is among the largest in the class, and its rear seats fold in a couple different ways to offer lots of utility and different cargo-carrying configurations. Great fuel economy, poised handling, and an upscale interior round out the HR-V’s positives.

The HR-V isn’t without fault – its only engine option is severely underpowered. The front seats are a little uncomfortable, and the list of standard features is short.

Should I Buy the Honda HR-V?

The 2019 HR-V is a great choice for shoppers that want a lot of practicality in a small package. Its base price is midrange for the class, but you may want to spend more to equip the car with amenities like all-wheel drive, a touch-screen system, and active safety features. For a better value, consider the Toyota C-HR, which comes loaded with infotainment and safety tech but has few advantages otherwise. Those looking for a fun-to-drive subcompact crossover should check out the Mazda CX-3.

Compare the HR-V, C-HR, and CX-3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Honda HR-V?

The 2019 HR-V brings about the first set of major changes to the car since it was introduced as a new vehicle for the 2016 model year. A refreshed exterior design gives the 2019 HR-V a new look, and new Sport and Touring trims expand the lineup. Several features are newly optional in the HR-V for 2019, including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance tech. Honda improved the HR-V’s optional touch-screen system by adding a physical volume knob, which makes it easier to use. Lastly, a manual transmission was axed from the HR-V lineup completely.  

Since there were no major changes until this year, all used HR-V models from prior years will be essentially identical. Consider a used model if you’re looking to save some cash and can live without the 2019 HR-V’s upgrades. If you want an HR-V with a manual gearbox, your only choice will be to shop used. Be sure to read our 2017 and 2018 HR-V reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 HR-V »

We Did the Research for You: 26 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 26 Honda HR-V reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 HR-V is the right new car for you. This 2019 Honda HR-V review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2016 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Honda HR-V Cost?

The 2019 Honda HR-V starts at $20,520, which is about average for a subcompact SUV. Most other trim levels are within a couple thousand dollars of the base price. All models except the top Touring trim (MSRP: $28,540) come standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional in those for $1,400 and standard in the Touring. There are few notable options or packages with each trim, so what you see is mostly what you get.

The HR-V splits the difference in price between rivals like the Toyota C-HR ($20,945) and Mazda CX-3 ($20,390). Both of those have range-topping models that are a little less expensive than the HR-V Touring trim. 

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

Honda HR-V Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Honda HR-V or Mazda CX-3?

The HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 are both good subcompact SUVs, but for different reasons. Choosing between them depends on what you want out of your crossover. The CX-3 has the best overall performance in the class by a long shot. Athletic handling and peppy acceleration make this Mazda a blast to drive. It also has an upscale interior and plenty of standard features, with a starting price just lower than the HR-V’s. The Honda wins when it comes to utility – it has among the most cargo space in the segment and a lot more than the Mazda. The HR-V also offers lots of rear passenger room, while the CX-3’s back seat feels cramped.

Which Is Better: Honda HR-V or Toyota C-HR?

Overall, the Toyota C-HR does few things well. It comes with lots of standard driver assistance tech, like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision system warning with pedestrian detection. All C-HR models also feature a user-friendly touch-screen system with standard Apple CarPlay. Aside from that, the HR-V is a much better SUV. It beats the C-HR in cargo and back-seat space, and it has a slightly nicer interior. Even considering the HR-V’s unimpressive performance, the C-HR and its anemic engine power are worse. You also can’t get the C-HR with all-wheel drive. Don’t waste your money on a Toyota – go with the Honda.

Compare the HR-V, C-HR, and CX-3 »

HR-V Interior

How Many People Does the HR-V Seat?

The Honda HR-V holds five people. The front seats have firm cushions and are narrow, so they may not be that comfortable for long drives. There's also a noticeable lack of adjustments until you reach the top trim and its eight-way power controls. And even that is only for the driver. A taller driver or passenger may wish they had more legroom. In the back, adult travelers should have decent space to stretch out. Entry and egress for second-row passengers are also easy.

HR-V and Car Seats

The Honda HR-V has a complete set of LATCH anchors for the rear outboard seats and a dedicated tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use. The lower anchors are located deep in the seat, and it requires a good amount of force to attach the seat straps. You might also have trouble finding the tether anchors or distinguishing them from other hardware on the backs of the seats.

HR-V Interior Quality

You should find the HR-V's cabin mostly to your liking. The interior design is simple but attractive. Materials are high quality, and Honda's reputation for solid build quality is evident. 

HR-V Cargo Space

The Honda HR-V has among the most cargo space of any subcompact SUV. In standard front-wheel-drive models, you'll get 24.3 cubic feet of room under the hatch and a maximum of 58.8 cubic feet with the back seat folded. All-wheel-drive models lower those numbers by just over 1 cubic foot. For reference to some competitors, the Mazda CX-3 has up to 44.5 cubic feet of space, while the Toyota C-HR has a measly maximum of 36.4 cubes.

In addition to the standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat, the HR-V features Honda's Magic Seat configuration. That allows you to flip up the bottom seat cushion to carry items that may need to stand up, like a potted plant.

HR-V Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Honda is slim on standard features. A base model has Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 5-inch audio display screen, but not much else. All other trims come with a 7-inch touch-screen interface.

For 2019, Honda added a traditional, physical volume knob and introduced Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for the first time. Prior to this year, a lack of a volume knob made the system challenging to use, especially when driving. Those two upgrades make the touch screen a lot easier to use. Other optional features include automatic climate control, a moonroof, remote start, a six-speaker stereo, an additional USB port, satellite radio, and navigation.

Read more about interior »

HR-V Performance

HR-V Engine: Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy

The Honda HR-V is powered by a 141-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It's about as unimpressive in real life as it is on paper. You'll need some time to get this SUV up to speed, but once you do, it cruises along with little drama. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard, as Honda axed the previously standard six-speed manual. Honda also retuned the CVT's operation for this model year, but it still won't win any awards for performance. You might find that the transmission constantly adjusts engine rpms to find the right "gear", especially in situations like going up hills.

HR-V Gas Mileage: Among the Best

A positive of the HR-V's unimpressive powertrain is excellent fuel economy. With standard front-wheel drive, you'll get 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The Mazda CX-3 gets similar estimates, and these two rank as some of the most efficient nonhybrid subcompact SUVs.

The HR-V with all-wheel drive earns 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, which are identical to the front-wheel-drive-only Toyota C-HR.

HR-V Ride and Handling: Dialed-in and Fun

The HR-V has sharp, well-weighted steering that gives it more engaging handling than many other subcompact crossovers. It takes turns with confidence, but is still easy enough to pilot around in tight spaces like parking lots or city traffic. The HR-V rides smoothly over most surfaces and stays comfortable for long drives. Only large bumps or bigger imperfections in the road make a noticeable difference in ride quality.

Read more about performance »

HR-V Reliability

Is the Honda HR-V Reliable?

As of this writing, the 2019 Honda HR-V doesn't have a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

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 2019 Honda HR-V five out of five stars in an overall crash test rating. The HR-V earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

HR-V Safety Features

The 2019 HR-V comes standard with a multi-angle rearview camera. Every other trim level adds dynamic guidelines to the camera view. The Honda Sensing suite of active safety features debuts as optional equipment in the HR-V for 2019. This bunch includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Other optional driver assistance features include the LaneWatch blind spot camera system and front and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Honda HR-V Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Honda HR-V comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All models have a four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional in every model expect the all-wheel-drive-only Touring. Adding AWD costs $1,400.

The first four trim levels are only separated by less than $5,000 in total, so there's a lot of value to be gained by spending just a little more money. You'll want to skip the bare-bones base model in favor of at least the new Sport trim with its touch-screen infotainment system. In the past, we've actually recommended against the HR-V's touch interface because of usability issues. However, a new volume knob and the introduction of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for this model year make the system a better bet now. Also consider the midrange EX model, which adds niceties like heated front seats, automatic climate control, a moonroof, satellite radio, and a ton of driver assistance features.

Honda HR-V LX

The 2019 Honda HR-V starts at $20,520. Standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, a four-speaker stereo, a 5-inch display screen, and a rearview camera.

Options in every trim level include front and rear parking sensors for $514 and remote start for $495.

Honda HR-V Sport

The new HR-V Sport trim retails for $22,220 and includes paddle shifters, sport pedals, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. A 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system adds an additional USB port, a six-speaker stereo, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Honda HR-V EX

For $23,720, the HR-V EX comes with heated front seats, automatic climate control, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, satellite radio, HD Radio, and the Honda LaneWatch blind spot camera. This trim also comes with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance features, which includes lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Honda HR-V EX-L

The HR-V EX-L will run you $25,320, and you'll get leather-trimmed seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Honda HR-V Touring

The range-topping HR-V Touring model starts at $28,540. It comes with standard all-wheel drive, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, navigation, and LED headlights and foglights.

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 2019 Honda HR-V specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Honda HR-V has lots of space for people and gear alike. It also has an attractive interior, good handling, and high fuel economy. However, you may be turned off by the HR-V’s weak engine or how you may have to spend more money for added options to atone for the HR-V’s short list of standard features.

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

  • "Back when the segment was small, the HR-V stood out with a solid blend of sensibility, capaciousness and fun. It still possesses all those qualities, but as the segment has grown, the HR-V is slowly getting lost in the noise. I still recommend it for every reason I've stated above, I just hope Honda has some more tricks up its sleeve in the near future to keep this car near the top of the segment where it belongs." -- CNET
  • "The 2019 Honda HR-V is one vehicle that does a great job of overcoming its size limitations, however. A thoughtful interior layout that includes the second-row Magic Seat that can flip up so you can carry tall items gives the HR-V more passenger room and greater storage space than others in the class. … Unfortunately, The HR-V's underpowered engine is the same for 2019. Though fuel-efficient, the HR-V is slow and noisy when you mash the gas. … Overall, though, the HR-V's exceptional utility makes this pint-sized Honda a top pick in the class." -- Edmunds
  • "For those seeking compact-car dimensions, price and fuel economy in a SUV-like form, the 2019 Honda HR-V pushes all the right buttons. Loaded with features and now with more trim choices and options, the HR-V offers more passenger volume than the Mazda CX-3, better fuel economy than the Chevy Trax or Jeep Renegade and, unlike the Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, the option of all-wheel drive. Clever features like the HR-V’s rear Magic Seat provide more cargo-carrying capacity than one might envision, while new driver-assist safety systems make the HR-V all the more attractive this year." -- Kelley Blue Book

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: December 14, 2018

Slipping Sales: So far this year, the Honda HR-V is selling in the top third of the subcompact SUV class, close on the tails of the Buick Encore and the Chevrolet Trax. The segment-leading Subaru Crosstrek is outselling the HR-V by about 68 percent. Honda dealerships are moving 8.5 percent fewer HR-Vs than they were by this same point a year ago.

Research more buying advice »
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