Competition is fierce in the hotly contested subcompact crossover segment.
Honda is stepping up their game in this space by introducing the Touring trim package to the 2019 HR-V model, and they have also given the entire lineup a facelift to make it stand out from the crowd. Our 2019 Honda HR-V Touring AWD was dressed in Orange Burst Metallic paint and frankly, looks fantastic with the new styling updates, subtle as they are.
The front end of the 2019 HR-V lineup has been gently revised to match the latest Honda design language found on their popular Accord (reviewed here) and CR-V models. A thicker, bolder grille, revised air intakes and bumper design help to give the HR-V a bolder appearance. The Touring trim takes that appearance to the next level, adding ground level body-coloured trim extensions, LED fog lights, and Honda’s sharp looking LED headlight design.
All-wheel-drive models have a base MSRP of $25,600, a minimal premium over the $23,300 base price for the LX 2WD model. It’s worth mentioning that the manual transmission is gone from the HR-V lineup. The top end Touring model tested here stickers for a significantly higher $32,000. Our test vehicle had the $486 Protection Package that added rubber mats throughout and wheel locks for a total price of $32,486 plus fees and taxes.
Being the top end model, there is a lot of technology packed into that price point, including the full suite of the Honda Sensing safety and vision systems. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in the infotainment system, which also comes with a native own navigation system for those who don’t want to eat up data. Keyless entry and push-button start are present, and for entertainment, SiriusXM and HD Radio are along for the ride too.
The interior is very much Honda, with a familiar steering wheel design, ECO button and other design elements found across the product lineup. The HR-V feels like it has been a product Honda has been building and improving for decades. The centre console is a clean, integrated design with a flashy yet functional lower panel for HVAC and seat heating controls. A wide air vent in front of the passenger seat gives the interior a bit of a retro vibe, and it all really ties nicely together. Everything is wrapped in a soft leather material that gives the Touring package a very premium feel despite the low price.
Seating up front is pretty roomy, thanks to the tall roof and narrow centre console. The second row seats are similarly comfortable for two adults. At the business end of the car, Honda has put a lot of thought into making the HR-V quite a useful little utility vehicle. The rear seats fold down flat as expected, and the front passenger seat can also be laid down flat to accommodate very long items.
With the second row folded, cargo volume is a sizeable 1,583L, not including that front seat area. For tall items, the second row seat bench actually flips upward, like the rear seats of a pickup truck. Using this “Utility Mode” gives the full floor to ceiling height for storage, while also protecting seat surfaces and keeping a divider between the rear seats and cargo area. If that’s not enough storage for you, the HR-V has a discreet, integrated roof rack ready for you to add crossbars from the Honda accessory catalogue and toss more things onto the roof. There are also roof baskets and ski racks available for the adventurer in you.
Nestled between the front wheels is a 1.8L inline four-cylinder Honda engine with i-VTEC, rated for 141 horsepower at 6,500RPM, and a peak torque of 127 lb-ft. at 4,300RPM. Honda opted for a larger, naturally aspirated engine here instead of a turbocharged mill, giving the HR-V a very responsive throttle feel. Also wedged into the front end is Honda’s great continuously variable transmission and Real Time all-wheel–drive system that further improves the responsive feel to match the HR-V’s sporty looks.
The CVT is tuned to get the most out of that small engine, but that sometimes comes at the cost of hearing the raspy engine a little more than you would like to under hard acceleration. The all-wheel-drive system is responsive, providing power to the appropriate wheels when a loss of traction is detected, but otherwise operating in a front -drive mode under normal conditions to minimize fuel consumption.
Running on regular 87-octane fuel, the 2019 HR-V Touring is rated for 9.1L/100km city, 7.7L/100km on the highway and a combined rating of 8.5L/100km. This is in line with similar vehicles in this segment, and gives the HR-V a maximum range of around 650km on its small 50L tank.
The HR-V is fairly in line for pricing and fuel economy with its closest competitors, the Toyota C-HR (reviewed here), the Nissan Kicks (reviewed here) and the Mazda CX-3. Where the HR-V really shines is in the versatile cargo space and utility, besting all the others in both categories, and bringing along that youthful Honda charm. The powertrain falls short of some competitors, and the HR-V’s tech has been outshined by newer rivals, but versatility is still a huge priority on the shopping lists of crossover buyers.
The 2019 Honda HR-V Touring delivers a similar driving feel to the fantastic CR-V, but in a much smaller package for those that don’t need or have the space for a larger vehicle. Honda has done a great job with packaging to make sure the HR-V is packed with utility, despite its small stature. Honda reliability and ingenuity, great driving dynamics wrapped in nicely updated styling all come together to make for consistently strong sales.