$16,003 - $19,784

2017 Honda HR-V Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Honda HR-V was new.


Performance: 7.3

The 2017 Honda HR-V isn't the most powerful subcompact SUV, but both the standard six-speed manual and optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) work well with the engine. The CVT gets the best performance out of the underpowered engine. Those who want a more engaging ride will enjoy the manual transmission, which has a light clutch pedal and smooth shifting. Around corners the HR-V feels secure and confident with responsive steering and comfortable handling.

  • "What the 2017 Honda HR-V crossover SUV lacks in power it more than makes up for in spunk. A lightweight chassis allows the HR-V's 141 horsepower to deliver decent acceleration especially with the CVT automatic that really knows how to make the most of the 1.8-liter engine's power. The responsive CVT is eager to kick down when asked, and switching to the Sport mode makes the processes even faster. When pushed hard, the engine does get a bit buzzy, but only at wide-open throttle. Those who want a more hands-on driving experience will enjoy the HR-V's slick-shifting 6-speed manual and light clutch pedal, which sadly are available only on front-drive models. What the HR-V lacks in gusto it more than makes up for in the corners, where its nicely weighted steering and taut suspension deliver instantaneous turn-in and a compliant ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2016)
  • "The CVT guided powertrain has more than enough real-world acceleration to handle most everything you need in terms of highway on-ramps and the occasional fun drive on a winding one-lane road. At the same time, the HR-V is not so much a sports vehicle as it is a utility focused crossover with a healthy sporty demeanor." -- Yahoo Autos (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Honda HR-V has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 141 horsepower. It is paired to a six-speed manual transmission; a continuously variable automatic (CVT) is available. The base engine earns 25/33 mpg city/highway, which is average for a subcompact SUV. The CVT earns 28/34 mpg city/highway, which is slightly above average for the class.

The HR-V's engine is underpowered and can get noisy under hard accelerations. However, the throttle has a quick response, which improves driving on the highway and in the city. The manual transmission has an easy clutch, and although the CVT is smooth and responsive, the manual provides a more engaging driving experience.

  • "Power output from the HR-V's 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine is disappointing when any sort of urgency is required. When accelerating, the CVT further emphasizes this shortcoming with the loud drone that comes from the engine. Things improve only slightly in dense urban settings or when cruising on the highway thanks to the rather quick throttle response." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Honda HR-V has responsive and precise steering. Its small size makes it easy to take turns and navigate crowded streets – and being able to fit in tighter parking spots is a plus. It has refined handling, taking bumps and dips in the road with little disturbance. It's not the most athletic car, but it delivers a composed drive with comfortable handling.

  • "Handling is about average for the class, with reassuring composure and precise steering when cornering. The HR-V is not nearly as athletic or entertaining as the Mazda CX-3, but as a family crossover the HR-V's more refined and comfortable feel is a plus. The combination of excellent all-around visibility and maneuverability makes the HR-V easy to back into a tight spot." -- Edmunds
  • "A solid structure pays dividends beyond crash protection. In the case of the HR-V we noticed trademark Honda refinement in the small ute's ride and handling characteristics. With an approximate 3,000-pound curb weight the HR-V feels light on its feet, and its electric power steering was calibrated to provide a proper balance of responsive feedback and confidence." -- Forbes (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

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