Honda’s HR-V fits right in

Subcompact SUV redesigned for 2023.

I miss the Honda Fit. The now discontinued small car had plenty of upside, including a roomy interior and an affordable price point. It wasn’t exciting to drive, but nevertheless it remains one of my favorites and most-recommended vehicles over the last several years.

Why bring up the no-longer-available Fit? Well other than to tell Honda that they blew it by getting rid of this car, my tester this week is kind of the heir apparent to the Fit. The 2023 Honda HR-V is a subcompact SUV. This is the way the industry has gone. Getting rid of cars like the Fit in exchange for small crossovers. I don’t harbor ill will toward the HR-V for essentially replacing the Fit, but I also didn’t have the highest impression of the previous-generation HR-V.

For 2023, the HR-V is redesigned and ready to impress. Immediately, the front end grabs your attention. The small mouth of the grille is mesh-shaped but doesn’t overwhelm the front end. Rather it adds a fresh vibe to the aesthetics of the HR-V. It definitely looks and feels new. While the back side loses some of its pizzazz, the overall fit and finish is good with a modern feel. This new generation of the HR-V should age gracefully.

My tester came in an unusual paint color called Nordic Forest, which was a bit of a blue/gray color. With the black mesh grille it really popped. The Nordic Forest exterior costs an additional $395 to the MSRP. Overall, the third-generation HR-V has a more mature look than the previous generation and that is a good thing.

My aforementioned love of the Fit had nothing to do with the performance. In that regard, the new HR-V doesn’t do anything to further impress on the road. The 2023 Honda HR-V has a sufficient, but uninspiring engine. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has no turbo and therefore is on the sluggish side of things with 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) does nothing to positively contribute to the performance. It’s a more fuel-efficient transmission, but it has no personality and continues to have quirky shifting habits that takes some getting used to.

My tester did have all-wheel drive (AWD) that adds confidence to the performance. The overall ride quality is good and the road noise is minimal. Though underpowered, the engine never seems to struggle — perhaps aided by the CVT (despite its quirks).

Inside, the five-passenger HR-V has made vast improvements to its interior. Perhaps trying to match some of its competitors, the touchpoints and interior quality is vastly improved over the previous iteration. One of my favorite features of the Fit was the “magic seats.” This feature doesn’t exist in the 2023 HR-V, but it also leads to an overall larger-feeling cabin.

Cargo area behind the rear seats is 24.4 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded, that cargo area increases to 55.1 cubic feet.

My tester was the EX-L trim and with it came leather-trimmed seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Additionally, there’s a 9-inch color touchscreen. All in all, Honda’s infotainment system is simple to use and has all the technology you could need plus wireless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

One of the features that might go unnoticed is the interior mesh pattern that matches the exterior grille design to truly tie the design of the HR-V together. It was a real complement and showed a nice attention to detail. A one-touch power moonroof with tilt open encompasses the vehicle and provides ample light and outside air as needed/wanted.

The fuel economy rating for the AWD version of the HR-V is 25 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway. I was somewhat disappointed with the fuel economy, considering the sluggish engine and the supposedly fuel-saving CVT. As such, I averaged only 28 mpg in mixed driving.

The base trim HR-V starts under $24,000, making it an affordable option. My tester was the top-of-the-line trim and had an MSRP of $28,950. With the cool paint color and a destination charge, the final price of my tester was $30,590.

The Honda HR-V did not replace the Fit or push it out of the lineup. But if you are a Honda fan and a fan of the Fit, then the HR-V is the next best thing. Does it “fit” into the lineup of Honda vehicles? Yes. With this new generation offering, it seems to fit in quite well actually.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2023 Honda HR-V EX-L AWD

Price/As tested price................................................ $28,950/$30.590

Mileage.......................................... 25 mpg/city; 30 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower................................. 158 hp/138 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. CVT

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Celayo, Mexico

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