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2021 Honda HR-V Performance Review


Performance: 5.7

The 2021 Honda HR-V is exceedingly fuel-efficient, and its spry handling helps make it more engaging to drive than some other SUVs. However, its appeal is limited by a bland engine.

  • "With only 141 hp, the Honda HR-V’s acceleration and power can only be called adequate at best. Load it up with your friends, and the HR-V can feel strained. This lack of oomph is a bummer since the HR-V can otherwise be quite fun behind the wheel. It corners well, turns on a dime and once up to speed, road and wind noise are reasonably hushed." -- Autotrader
  • "The HR-V will happily shuffle you around cities and is fine for highway jaunts, but loaded up with passengers and gear, the little HR-V can feel strained." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 147-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: standard front-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)

Buying the HR-V means getting a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, as there are no turbocharged options, like in some rivals. The Honda's engine is serviceable, producing the power needed to get this vehicle around town. Accelerating is a leisurely affair, with some reports claiming it can take 8.6 to 9.5 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph. The transmission gets mixed reviews, with some critics finding it to be smooth and others calling it irritating.

  • "Honda’s latest update to the continuously variable transmission better simulates stepped gears and enables this CVT to behave more like a traditional automatic." -- Autotrader
  • "Slow, noisy, and unrefined, the HR-V's four-cylinder engine won't satisfy your inner street racer, and the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) exacerbates the engine's incivility." -- Car and Driver
  • "Unlike rivals such as the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona that offer spunky turbocharged ending options, the Honda HR-V makes do with just one engine choice: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that puts out 141 horsepower. The HR-V isn’t exactly slow, but neither does it have the frisky acceleration enabled by its higher-powered peers." -- Kelley Blue Book

MPG Estimates

This Honda gets 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 26 or 27 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive. Those are great ratings for a small SUV. Note that these figures apply to the 2020 HR-V, as the 2021 model has not been evaluated by the EPA as of this writing.

Handling and Braking

While the ride is comfortable on even pavement, rougher roads and potholes can jostle the cabin’s occupants. The HR-V is agile, with a stiff suspension, well-weighted steering, and a lack of body roll.

  • "The HR-V retains the sprightly and eager handling of the Fit hatchback on which it's based, but don't push it too hard. Choppiness when driving over rough roads and body roll in cornering could be resolved with better suspension damping, but when cruising on a level road or highway, the HR-V settles into a more even ride." -- Car and Driver
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "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 (2018)
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2021 Honda HR-V

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