Honda gives its nifty little HR-V a fresh new look for 2019, adds two new trim levels, revamps the interior, and incorporates the brand’s Honda Sensing suite of safety and drive-assistive features.
The HR-V is a five-door subcompact SUV with a sporty coupelike appearance thanks to a sloping roof and concealed second-row door handles placed high and visually integrated with the window trim.
The new Sport and Touring models bring the number of HR-V trim levels up to five. The others are LX, EX, and EX-L. Base pricing with the destination charge included starts at $21,515 for the LX with front-wheel drive. Every trim is available with all-wheel drive, and the Touring model is offered only with AWD.
Despite its small size, the HR-V has an amazingly roomy interior. There’ll be no whining from rear-seat passengers about a cramped legroom situation or inadequate head room. One caveat: Official seating capacity for the HR-V is five, but if you put three adults in the rear seat, expect to hear some sniveling about lateral cramping unless they’re incredibly nice people.
All HR-V models come with a multi-position second row seat Honda calls a Magic Seat. It can be reconfigured to maximize cargo capacity and to accommodate tall-ish items that must be kept upright – potted plants, for example. Reconfiguring the seat is as easy as saying abracadabra.
With second row seats in upright position, rear cargo space is 24.3 cubic feet. When seats are folded, cargo capacity stretches to 58.8 cubic feet. Note that these figures are for front-drive models. All-wheel drive takes up a bit more space within the cabin, reducing cargo capacities to 23.2 cubic feet and 57.6 cubic feet.
An updated display audio system with 7-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility is a highlight of the 2019 HR-V interior. And, by popular demand I’m sure, a physical volume knob has been added. The updated system is available in Sport and higher trims. The Sport model, by the way, is positioned between the LX and EX in the lineup. The Touring trim is the top of the line.
Features of the Honda Sensing suite of technologies added this year include collision and road departure mitigations, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. Honda Sensing is standard on all but the LX trim.
The HR-V’s 1.8-liter four cylinder engine could be called its strongest and weakest feature. Producing a modest 141 horsepower and even more modest 127 pound-feet of torque, it will generate little enthusiasm in acceleration-crazed drivers. But the more fuel-economy conscious among us will be all thumbs up about its EPA ratings: 28/34/30 mpg with front-wheel drive, 26/31/28 mpg with all-wheel drive. And the HR-V is perfectly happy with regular unleaded gas.
A nicely competent continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the engine’s partner.
I hope you’re not thinking that HR-V being acceleration-challenged means it’s not much fun. This little guy is lively and capable as can be when it comes to handling twists and turns.
2019 HONDA HR-V TOURING
Base price, including destination charge: $29,585
Price as driven: $29,585
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.