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New Honda HR-V Is Good, Two Upgrades Would Make It The Best

Honda announced pricing and updates for the 2020 HR-V. See why we aren’t totally sold on the compact SUV, but two changes could make it the best.

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For the average compact crossover shopper, the HR-V is still a very good option in this fast-growing segment. It offers fuel-efficiency, utility, cargo-carrying ability, and available all-wheel-drive for those who live in cold climates. The compact crossover competes against the Toyota C-HR, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and Buick Encore. It ‘s getting close to catching the segment leader, 2020 Subaru Crosstrek, but it’s not there yet.

The HR-V needs to be on your shopping list but there are a few downsides to the 2020 model year updates. The only engine option is Honda’s 1.8-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder producing 141 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque. The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine is available on European models, but Honda does not offer this sporty option for U.S. customers.

2020 Honda HR-V Sport2020 Honda HR-V Sport (European spec model)

The European spec model produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque with the six-speed manual gearbox. If they would offer it on U.S. models it would attract many more buyers. Europe also gets the HR-V with a 6-speed manual gearbox but sadly, Honda dropped the manual transmission last year and doesn’t offer it again for the 2020 model change.

We would like to see the compact SUV in a performance sport trim with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed manual gearbox. This would ramp up the compass crossover’s appeal.

Why should I buy the Honda HR-V?

2020 Honda HR-V has generous cargo room2020 Honda HR-V has generous cargo room

The HR-V offers up to 55.9 cubic feet of storage with the seats folded giving it class-leading cargo capacity. The next best Subaru Crosstrek comes with 55.3 cubes of cargo-carrying ability.

For the 2020 model change, HR-V does get a few improvements like standard Honda Sensing suite of safety features on all trim levels from EX and above, adding adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, and lane departure warning (LDW).


The 2020 HR-V has earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and should also be a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The 2020 Honda HR-V gets a small price increase of $200. The base LX trim starts at $20,820 while the Sport, EX, and EX-L trims cost $22,520, $23,970, and $25,570 respectively for front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel-drive is available for an additional $2,000 on all trims. The Touring trim with navigation starts at $28,890 and includes AWD as standard. All prices exclude a $1,095 destination fee.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our TN Honda page and be sure to follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagram. Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.

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Photo credit: Honda USA

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Digitaldoc (not verified)    December 4, 2019 - 10:09PM

An older platform, and this uninspired engine, with a power sapping CVT is formula for mediocrity. It really is overdue for a newer generation of vehicle.

Jan kelly (not verified)    December 6, 2019 - 7:53AM

I have been looking at the hrv but am disappointed that the road clearance is under 8.0” - I am 5 ft tall(if that) and need height more than anything! The Subaru and jeeps are the only small suv vehicles with road clearance of 8” or more.

Alo Gonz (not verified)    December 26, 2019 - 7:54AM

CVT transmission? No thanks!!!
Bring back the manual transmission and I'll consider it. But, CVT's are pure junk.