If there's a need for a slogan behind the new 2016 Honda HR-V, it could do worse than: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Following in the popular template of the Honda CR-V, the HR-V takes the space one step down, sharing a chassis, powertrain and factory with the Honda Fit, a bid to claim a piece of the growing business for small SUVs on American roads.
While it may look like a two-door CUV, the HR-V in fact has a sneaky door handle located on the rear window frame to access the back seat. The exterior is sleek and aggressive-looking with long, swooping lines that define the lower body and a rear that looks vaguely Acura-ish.
With seating for five, a unique center-mounted fuel tank and a reconfigurable second row Honda calls the “Magic Seat,” the interior is roomy and flexible, just like the Honda Fit. The seats can fold completely flat to form a single, low cargo floor or the rear seat bottoms flip up to fit taller items behind the front seats. Honda claims with the seats down, the HR-V has 58.8 cu. ft. of space, more than some midsize SUVs.
The HR-V will be powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 138 hp and 127 lb.-ft. of torque. The SUV will have the company’s ECO Assist feature that turns the speedometer lighting from white to green when driven efficiently. Honda paired this engine with its CVT, and will make the crossover available in either two-wheel drive (which will also be available with a manual transmission), or an all-wheel drive version (CVT only).
Standard options on the entry level HR-V includes all the basics as well as some nice perks like Bluetooth with Pandora radio. Higher trim levels can be spec’ed with Honda Lanewatch — a lane-keeping assistant — paddle shifters, Sirius XM and traffic, navigation with a 7-inch touch screen, heated seats, leather interior and sunroof options.
There’s no word yet on how fuel-efficient the new Honda HR-V will be, but it should be about on par with the flexible microvan. Pricing should be released closer to its launch next spring.