Test Drive – 2016 Honda HR-V AWD

Test Drive - 2016 Honda HR-V AWD Entry Price; $19,115

Price as Tested:  $25,840

There’s a new kid in town in the compact Crossover class, namely the 2016 Honda HR-V. Built smack in the middle of siblings sub-compact Fit and ultra-popular CR-V, this new effort from Honda is sure to be a crowd leaser, especially considering its attractive entry price of just $19,995. Consumers will choose between three distinct models, namely entry LX, middle line EX and top line EX-L. Notable is that each and every Honda built since 2015 includes a safety rear view camera as standard fare.

Test Drive - 2016 Honda HR-V AWDOur tester came delivered in all-wheel-drive (AWD) trim with top line EX-L Navigation nomenclature. Overall, HR-V is 3.2-inches longer in wheelbase dimension than Honda Fit and just .3 of an inch shorter than the wildly popular CR-V. The new HR-V boasts outstanding exterior design, superb interior quality and overall creature comfort for both front and rear passengers. Honda then finishes off the new motif with decent cargo room and a proven drivetrain.

Power for all HR-V models comes from the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that also motivates Honda Civic. With 141-horsepower and 127 lb. ft. of torque, our HR-V performed well in every test sans overall brute acceleration, where when transporting a few passengers we noticed just a tad lack of power. However, thanks to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which all AWD HR-V’s rely on, the overall performance is still acceptable and delivers very good fuel mileage for an AWD. Test Drive - 2016 Honda HR-V AWDSpecifically, EPA numbers for the AWD are 27 city and 32 highway, while the front-drive CVT delivers 28 and 35, respectively. Our EX-L model comes standard with dual steering wheel paddle shifters for better RPM control of the CVT.

If you order a front drive HR-V, you have a choice of either a six-speed manual or the CVT. We feel the manual might enhance acceleration, but you won’t find any benefit in fuel mileage. Gear shifters will have to accept less fuel mileage as the six-speed delivers 25 city and 34 highway but is $800 cheaper than CVT models.

Pricing, meanwhile, is very attractive. The front drive LX base model with the manual transmission retails for only $19,115 and then graduates up to EX manual at $21,165 and the EX-L Navi CVT at $24,950. The AWDs (all with CVTs) come in at LX $21,165, EX $23,215, and EX-L Navi at $25,840.

Test Drive - 2016 Honda HR-V AWDWe especially like the fact that if you want an AWD, it is available in all three model lines as noted above. Some manufacturers make the consumer move up to higher priced models if they want an AWD, but not so with Honda. Thus, for $21,165 retail, you can park a brand new HR-V LX AWD in your driveway and automatically receive all the noted Honda reliability, resale value and customer satisfaction the manufacturer is noted for.

All 2016 Honda HR-V’s come equipped with four wheel disc antilock brakes, tilt and telescopic steering, 17-inch tires on nice alloys, all the airbags, daytime running lamps, hill-start assist, traction and stability controls, electronic braking, all the powers and air conditioning.

When you move up to the EX, Honda adds push button start and “Lane Watch” blind-spot warning, which is activated when you apply the right turn blinker. Everything on the right side is then visually displayed on the center color display. Our EX-L came with heated leather seating, Honda Navigation, 180-watt HD radio/SiriusXM stereo system with all the bells and whistles, seven-inch center display, and much more. Your dealer will explain all features when you visit for a test drive or comparison versus Honda Fit and Honda CR-V.

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 102.8-inches, 3,109 lb. curb weight, from 23.2 to 58.8 cubic feet of cargo space, 6.7 inch ground clearance and a 13.2 gallon fuel tank.

“Multipurpose” is perhaps the best adjective to describe Honda’s new HR-V, especially when it comes to hauling up to five passengers or loading up at the nearby grocery or home center. Thanks to the second row seats that fold flat and a front passenger seat that also folds, there’s more than enough room for your everyday needs.

Overall, the 2016 HR-V is going to be a big winner at Honda stores everywhere.

Likes: Economical pricing, interior quality and space, fuel mileage.

Dislikes: Horsepower, EX-L Navi price in CR-V territory, where’s a turbo?

(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist)