The 2020 Honda HR-V is rolling into dealerships this very week. But before you head out to buy one, here’s why you should consider one of the remaining 2019s on dealer lots instead. The 2020 is essentially a carryover from 2019 - the model year with the significant updates in both the tech and safety departments. So if you’re buying now, the 2019 right now is most certainly the better buy with the model year changeout. This review is based on the new for 2019 Touring trim, which tops the range and comes with standard all-wheel drive (a $1400 option on the lower trim levels.)
The HR-V’s biggest selling points are that it’s practical, friendly on the wallet and provides flexible cargo space, packaged up in a stylish design, but it’s not the most engaging subcompact SUV to drive and despite additional driver-assist technology added in 2019, I think it still needs to add more to remain competitive.
The 2019 model (and 2020 for that matter) lineup shares the same engine: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder that delivers 141-horsepower. It’s mated to Honda’s Continuously Variable Transmission that Honda says it tweaked for 2019. Acceleration isn’t great and you can expect to hear some engine drone noise. (Though Honda says it added sound deadening material in the fenders and floor to make the cabin quieter.) The ride itself is comfortable for errands around town, but note that a power adjustable driver’s seat only comes on the new Touring and there is no power lumbar support (which you do get in the CR-V), which would be nice for prolonged stints on the road.
The HR-V, which shares a platform with the Honda Fit, delivers enough style in its curvy subcompact form to attract its share of buyers, women especially. The Touring trim features a restyled front-end with LED headlights, fog lights and taillights, along with heated power door mirrors with turn indicators, a tailgate spoiler and roof rails. It rides on exclusive 17-inch machined alloy wheels and is equipped with a one touch power moonroof. Can’t say I loved the rear door handles being placed up in the rear pillars. I never could get used to reaching up to open the passenger doors, especially when I had my hands full.
A well-built, black, interior greets you when you open the door. The Touring’s double-stitched leather-trimmed seats are heated in front - with an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat. A tilt and telescopic leather steering wheel with paddle shifters and gloss black accents is equipped with easy to use controls on both sides of the wheel, as well as vertically beneath within your thumbs reach. A huge speedometer takes front and center in the digital/analog tachometer area, with the easy to read driver info display on the right side. On the center stack, you control the climate digitally. Below, a floating center console sports a leather-wrapped gear shifter, electronic parking brake and brake hold. Honda did something interesting with the cupholders by giving them movable partitions. The storage area in the console bin is fairly small but Honda offers more space in an area underneath the floating console. It’s also where you’ll have to reach down to get to 2 USB ports and a 12 Volt. Above, the Touring trim gets a moonroof. Roominess is good in the back - and the back seats are surprisingly comfortable - but there are no rear A/C vents. Also, the rear seat headrests are rather tall when raised, which could create visibility issues out the back, something to check out during a test drive.
The HR-V’s infotainment system comes with updates for 2019. All trims but the base come with a 7-inch touchscreen interface with really terrific, bright graphics. The really big news: Hello Volume Knob! Yes there is an actual knob to control the volume, it replaces touch sensitive volume controls drivers never warmed up to. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also now standard. Music pipes in via a 6-speaker audio system and you also get Bluetooth. The multi-rearview camera comes with gridlines and the Touring is equipped with Navigation with nicely updated graphics.
The HR-V really stands out when it comes to flexible cargo space. Its 2nd-Row Magic Seats fold flat easily and they also flip up. The rear seats split 60/40. With both seats down you’ll amass 55.9 cu-ft of cargo area (AWD). Cargo space behind the third row comes in at 23.2 cu ft of space (AWD). (You lose a little bit of space with the AWD.) Tie-down anchors are provided in the cargo area.
For 2019, Honda Sensing becomes standard on the top three trims, and includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation. I’d sure love to see blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert on this list, items offered on some of its competitors. However, it does have Lane Watch, which uses a camera mounted to the right mirror to provide a live video feed of what’s in the SUV’s right blind spot. (Note, Honda Sensing is still not standard across the entire lineup for 2020.)
Fuel Economy and What You’ll Pay
Fuel economy is good coming in at 28 combined miles. Loaded, the top-level HR-V Touring comes in at just under $30,000.
The HR-V Touring is a practical subcompact SUV that makes some real improvements in terms of technology, safety and creature comforts for the 2019 model year, but I’d like to see more from Honda especially in the driver’s-assist area in 2021 since the 2020 is unchanged.
2019 Honda HR-V AWD Touring
- What I liked most: Tech updates and added driver’s assistance technology.
- What I would change: The powertrain, CVT.
- MSRP: Base price $28,540; as equipped $29,585 with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: 26 city/31 highway/ 28 combined.
- Official Color: Crystal Black P.
- Odometer reading when tested: 7,273.
- Weight: 3,150.
- Spare Tire: Compact Spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 170.9” long/ 70.5” wide/ 63.2” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.2 gallons.
- Towing Capacity: 1,500 lbs.
- 2019 Honda HR-V AWD Touring in a few words: A subcompact SUV that offers a higher level of cabin comfort and much-needed new driver assistance features at a budget-friendly price.
- Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile Limited Vehicle Warranty; 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain; 5-year unlimited corrosion limited warranty.
- Final Assembly Location: El Salto, Jalisco, Mexico
- Manufacturers website: Honda
Tags: 2019 Honda HR-V AWD Touring, Honda, HR-V, Subcompact SUVs, SUVs, New Vehicle Reviews, 2019