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2019 Honda HR-V Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.2

The 2019 Honda HR-V delivers mediocre overall performance. There's only one engine choice, which is fairly underpowered. It returns great fuel economy, though. Handling is engaging, and the ride quality is commendable.

  • "Considering I was able to get better figures out of the Kona during my time with it, I think Honda's aging 1.8-liter is about ready to be put out to pasture. Yet, the HR-V is still a blast to drive once I'm up to speed. It feels flat enough during spirited driving, offering confidence as the thing gets thrown into corner after corner." -- CNET
  • "The gas pedal responsiveness isn't linear either, making the HR-V seem jumpy and hard to drive smoothly." -- Edmunds
  • Quite simply, the Honda HR-V needs more power. Its 141 hp is not only an insufficient amount, but most of it only shows up high in the rev range, meaning it feels even slower than advertised. The CVT automatic does its best to keep it in that rev range, but doing so causes a lot of racket -- especially when merging onto the highway and/or when you're loaded up with people and luggage. … This lack of oomph is disappointing, since the HR-V can otherwise be surprisingly fun behind the wheel. It corners well, turns on a dime and, once up to speed, road and wind noise are reasonably hushed." -- Autotrader (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Honda HR-V comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard. The 2019 HR-V gets 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which are great estimates for the class. With all-wheel drive, the HR-V gets 27 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Most critics think that the HR-V is noticeably slow and could use more engine power. The transmission also continuously changes engine rpm and doesn’t feel that refined.

  • Honda’s 2019 HR-V subcompact-crossover SUV isn’t fast by any means, but it is fun to drive. The HR-V’s 141-horsepower 1.8-liter engine has no problem delivering acceptable levels of acceleration and passing power for the 2,900-pound SUV, but a few more ponies would be nice. Delivering its peak power around 6,500 rpm, the HR-V’s engine works a bit less hard this year thanks to a revised continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "141 horsepower isn't all that much, and 127 pound-feet of torque definitely isn't, granting the HR-V forward motion that could be described as slightly better than sluggish on a good day, thanks in part to the extra weight of the optional all-wheel-drive system. Combined with a continuously variable transmission (the six-speed manual option is dead and gone), the whole shebang isn't really worthy of a Sport badge." -- CNET
  • "The HR-V is one of the slowest subcompact SUVs we've tested. It went from 0 to 60 mph in an unhurried 9.7 seconds. After lurching off the line abruptly, the HR-V feels weak, even in regular driving. When driving up hills, the CVT automatic is constantly adjusting engine rpm, which can get tiresome." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The HR-V comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. The steering is responsive and well-weighted, and the HR-V offers easy maneuverability at low speeds. Ride quality is comfortable over most surfaces.

  • "The steering has a pleasant and natural feel to it. It relays enough information about what the front tires are doing to give you confidence as you drive around turns. It's also an easy car with which to navigate a tight parking lot. … No vehicle in the subcompact crossover class is cushy. But the Honda HR-V does better than most, with a completely livable ride quality. Only when you drive over big bumps does the HR-V seem a bit choppy or still-riding." -- Edmunds
  • "We found the HR-V’s nicely weighted steering and stiff suspension make it a blast to push through twisting curves, yet the overall ride is comfortable without feeling too soft. The new Sport trim features variable-gear-ratio, electric-power steering that varies steering response based on the vehicle’s speed. This setup delivers firmer steering at high speeds, while slower city driving results in more assist, making it easier to turn the wheel when maneuvering or parking." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steering is especially delightful, offering responsiveness at any speed. But when it comes to more family-friendly driving, the HR-V doesn't exactly disappoint. The wheels might be big, but the suspension still does a good job of soaking up bad roads like every other trim on offer. Would I like it more if the Sport badge meant some stiffer springs? Possibly, but the HR-V is plenty fine in that department as-is." -- CNET
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