$15,970 - $20,015

2016 Honda HR-V Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Honda HR-V was new.


Performance: 7.4

Test drivers say the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V has sufficient power for day-to-day driving, but acceleration could be quicker. They add that the standard manual has a precise clutch and easy throws, and that the CVT usually makes the most of the engine’s power. Automotive journalists agree that the HR-V has a comfortable ride over rough patches of road, and its handling is composed through turns. Still, they note that some rivals offer sportier handling. The HR-V earns great fuel economy estimates compared to compact SUVs, but its fuel economy is average for a subcompact SUV.

  • "Regardless of transmission, the HR-V is nice to drive. It's like a more substantial Fit, with a solid, planted feeling out on the road and with less wind and road noise entering the cabin." -- Autoblog
  • "The 2016 Honda HR-V is a stylish mini-SUV that doesn't skimp on passenger space or cargo versatility, but numb steering and modest four-cylinder performance detract from its driving experience." -- Cars.com
  • "Drivers looking to carve curves will be better served by buying a de-facto sports compact like the Mazda 3, while those opting for luxury and isolation may likely want to move up to a mid-sized crossover such as the Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V. Do you get a better deal if you opt for a compact crossover like the HR-V? Well, if you are still focused on fuel economy, real-world safety, and don't want the heft of a larger vehicle or the harshness of a sports sedan, then this is the Goldilocks version of 'just right' in the marketplace." -- Yahoo Autos
  • "It's reasonable to think entry-crossover buyers are looking for reliably economic transport in whatever circumstances they might encounter, with as much utility as they can afford. They'd probably like their vehicle to reflect some sense of style, and maybe to instill a feeling of well-being when they're in the driver's seat. If that's true, the HR-V fills the bill." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Honda HR-V is powered by a 141-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which operates like an automatic, is available. The base HR-V earns an EPA-estimated 25/34 mpg city/highway, which is typical for a subcompact SUV.

Reviewers say the engine produces decent power, but isn't particularly strong and can be noisy under hard acceleration. They agree that the standard manual transmission has an easy clutch and accurate throws, while the available CVT is smooth and responsive. Still, a few prefer the manual, which they say makes the most of the engine power and provides a more engaging driving experience.

  • "You might even think it feels sporty if you don't push too hard. There's only so far you can push, however, with a meager 141 hp on tap. It's enough to get the HR-V up to speed on the highway in a comfortable manner, but there's no sense of quickness to it. To Honda's credit, the responsiveness of the CVT is so good that most drivers won't miss having a conventional automatic transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "Its 1.8-liter four is so smooth and quiet at idle that we initially thought the HR-V might be equipped with start/stop (it isn't). Overall refinement ranks high. The HR-V is coarser than the grade-up CR-V, but quieter than a Fit, and smoother than a Nissan Juke." -- AutoWeek
  • "In normal driving, acceleration is fine, with the CVT transmission providing fairly quick kickdowns for decent-though hardly strong-passing response. But nail the gas from a stop, and the HR-V doesn't seem to be in much more of a hurry than it did at half throttle, generating more engine groan than actual acceleration. Meanwhile, the manual transmission (available only with front-wheel drive) helps a bit in the off-the-line punch department, with smooth if slightly noisy shift action and an easily modulated clutch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque on tap from the HR-V's 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine stays true to yet another Honda trait - adequate engine power. Many competitors offer higher horsepower and torque numbers and better power-to-weight ratios. So while not exactly sporty, the HR-V doesn't feel underpowered in either front- or all-wheel-drive form." -- Forbes
  • "The light clutch pedal and precise shifter, Honda hallmarks, were delightful and appreciated, seeing how we had to shift often to make the most of the engine's meager torque. Though a bit coarse and buzzy at times, the four-cylinder engine provided adequate power for the relatively lightweight, 2,900-pound HR-V. We could squirt in and out of gaps in traffic so long as we kept the revs up." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say although the all-new Honda HR-V's ride quality is somewhat firm, it remains comfortable over rough patches of road. Most agree that while the 2016 HR-Vs handling isn't exactly sporty, it's composed around turns, and steering is accurate and well-weighted. The HR-V's brakes offer sufficient stopping power, reviewers add. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional.

  • "Handling and braking are likewise sufficient, with the stoppers bringing in the least praise of the HR-V's stop-and-go parts. They get the job done, but they're soft and not particularly confidence-inspiring. The HR-V is best kept well within the limits of its all-season rubber." -- Left Lane News
  • "The HR-V's steering is weighted nicely and complements the composed, comfortable ride. It's not crashy over rough pavement, and while there's more body roll in the HR-V than the smaller Fit, it seems suitable for this application. The brakes never feel touchy around town or vague when stopping from higher speeds. This is not an athletic crossover, but it's not trying to be one. The HR-V offers better manners behind the wheel than most of its classmates." -- Autoblog
  • "Ride quality is remarkably refined. In characteristic Honda fashion, suspension tuning is on the firm side, but the setup admirably damps bigger bumps. The Renegade and Trax have similarly well-tuned suspensions." -- Cars.com
  • "The HR-V uses a fully independent front and torsion beam rear suspension on 17-inch wheels to provide a compliant and smooth ride. You might hear the concrete seams as you cruise down the road, but you won't feel them." -- Motor Trend
  • "The 2016 Honda HR-V's balanced, taut yet supple suspension provides a sporty, firm ride while also managing to soften harsh road impacts. The HR-V is quieter and feels more planted on the highway than the Fit it's based on, and its light steering and well-controlled body motions make it more maneuverable than the CR-V. It's not exciting by any means, but the HR-V is responsive and agile, which makes it ideal for darting around town and scooting into tight parking spots." -- Automobile Magazine

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