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2016 Honda HR-V to redefine compact crossover segment

With manufacturers scrambling to find a balance between corporate profitability and “customer first” built in standard-featured value and safety, Honda has consistently answered the call for “better and more;” in drives 2016 HR-V, a tough vehicle to define by standard industry measures.


“ In a World…” O.K., we’ll scratch that opening sentence. Spending 4 days on the road with Honda Public Relations, although always educational, exhilarating and eye-opening , can at times be exhausting and sensory-overload-intense. Our latest press-junket to Miami Beach for the introduction of 2016 HR-V CUV, was all those things and more. Much like the photo above, HR-V is 'living large' in a segment often reserved for cramped driver and passenger comfort sacrificing offerings.

While the Everglades, Alligators, Cuban Cigars and South Beach's “Beautiful People” may have little in common with Honda’s next best seller, they came along for the ride; as the national automotive press took a closer look at the Honda vehicle that will soon, and once again, set the benchmark for North America’s “White Hot” compact and subcompact crossover market. Actually. HR-V fit into to the “Glam” scene a better than one might have anticipated; it’s that kind of a work it, wash it off, and go to dinner sort of ride.

What was learned in Miami Beach

Summer-like winter weather is tough if not impossible to guarantee for drive and review in North America. Our thanks to Honda for choosing Miami for the 2016 HR-V introduction. While not the most diverse environment for a drive review, Miami did provide a proving ground for HR-V’s in-town maneuverability, driver visibility and standard featured street-smarts. However, we've been directed by our friends at Honda to hold first-drive impressions and technical specifications for a few weeks while the world-press catches up with 2016 HR-V. (Take a look at the photo, its true to the vehicle and speaks a thousand words.)

What we do know

Honda designed and engineered 2016 HR-V cooperatively with multinational teams. In this sense, HR-V is a true “World car,” with[very] little difference in specification and design, rather sold in North America, Japan or Europe. We know that 2016 Honda HR-V shares manufacturing platforms with 2015 Honda FIt, enjoys the same frame and cage rigidity, center mounted fuel tank, similar interior ergonomics and 2nd row “Magic Seat” configurable cabin.

If you like the looks, driving dynamics and fuel economy of Fit, but wish for greater foul weather driving capability, traction, a bit more power and coupe-like-CUV styling, you’ll love 2016 Honda HR-V.

Looking to the Los Angeles Auto Show, the first time Torque News encountered HR-V, members of the international press were measurably impressed by this sub-compact CUVs shades of coupe-design driving environment and body styling cues. Again, without over emphasizing the point, what you see in Japan’s Vezel is what you’ll find in the North American HR-V, with a drive train exception or two.

Yes, 2016 HR-V offers a smart All-Wheel-Drive(AWD)option as featured on CR-V, a Civic based 1.8 Liter SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine coupled to a 6 speed manual transmission or CVT with paddle shifter.
We can also divulge that as with all 2015 Honda offerings, HR-V will come standard equipped with a rear-view-cam.

We can tell you this without reservation: Take a quick glance at the photo above. 2016 Honda HR-V in all trim variants looks better than its photo. As to price and availability? Read our last article with price estimates. It’s pretty close. As to release date, Honda’s pointing to a late Spring release date with our article embargo ending April 30, 2015.

Based on our exposure to the product: We believe that when released, 2016 HR-V will represent the greatest overall purchase value for the dollar spent in the compact crossover segment. As reported earlier, interior driver and passenger accommodations and ergonomics score very high for an economy offering; without sacrificing quality and anticipated engine, electronic, drive and safety performance.

2016 Honda HR-V when released for retail sale in late Spring will redefine the gateway compact crossover segment by offering exceptional utility and coupe-like styling in a quality vehicle priced $ thousands below Honda CR-V and most likely a notch or two above Fit. By limiting engines and trim variants, Honda effectively extends its own SUV,CUV lineup while simplifying the buying process for a very busy demographic.

We look forward to sharing the 2016 HR-V experience with our readers as near future events unfold, and wish to thank Sage Marie, Robin Eagles and Team Honda P.R. for an exceptional automotive preview experience in Miami.


David (not verified)    February 28, 2015 - 10:11PM

Can you talk about how legroom and general driver "roominess" on the HRV compare to the current fit?

As a tall person, I found the current fit to be just a little too cramped for long drives.

Is the HRV better, worse, or the same?

Parks McCants    March 2, 2015 - 12:46PM

In reply to by David (not verified)

Welcome David. That's a good question. Sitting in HR-V at the Los Angeles Auto Show, I found the driver-side legroom to be more than adequate for my 6 ft 5 inch frame. The front passenger room is a bit tighter due the the curvature of the dashboard, However, I believe it be roomier than most vehicles in the class. As to Fit: I have several hours logged behind the wheel of 2015 Fit and find it to be comfortable enough for a entry level 5 door hatchback. Where Fit shines over the competition is in the 2nd row bench quality and configurable 40/60 bench seating. I don't have the forward cab measurements on hand for HR-V, but I believe it to be close to or identical to Fit with a difference as to the center consul design. HR-V features more of a "cockpit" feel.

Jose C (not verified)    March 2, 2015 - 2:20PM

I know is early in the game, and with the low fuel prices even more unlikely, but can you comment if there was any talk of bringing the Vezel Hybrid (Japanese version of HR-V) to the US in the future?

Parks McCants    March 2, 2015 - 3:43PM

In reply to by Jose C (not verified)

Welcome Jose. What I can say in speaking with Honda V.P. and General Manager Jeff Conrad, Honda does have-near future plans for expanding hybrid technology throughout the lineup. However, in reading the Japanese news, we do know that Vezel sales have been impacted by early-development problems resulting in recall of the current generation hybrid system. So for now... No hybrid for HR-V.

Thanks for your thought provoking comment.

Guess (not verified)    March 3, 2015 - 1:40AM

Would honda bring the hrv to the middle east & when?

Will (not verified)    March 3, 2015 - 2:14AM

Any chance that the HR-V will have some towing capacity? The 2009 Civic had a 1000 lbs. towing so it would be nice if the HR-V could tow 1000 lbs. The first CR-V (1996) was rated at 1000 lbs. I am hoping all the new technologies/engines/transmissions are not making the new cars less practical. (like the new generation Civics and Accords which are not rated for towing anymore). I want a manual transmission that is why the CR-V or Ridgeline are not the right vehicle for me. Thank you.

Parks McCants    April 3, 2015 - 7:36PM

In reply to by Will (not verified)

Looking to the Civic sized engine and the borrowed all-wheel drive components from CR-V, I don't believe towing will be a problem. However, we won't have released specifications until the end of this month. Note: I've spent some time under, over and through HR-V, it pretty stout! Take car.

Steve hombert (not verified)    March 31, 2015 - 8:54PM

Very nice looking little cuv.I would probably look at buying a vehicle like this if it could be towed 4wheels down behind my motorhome. I see it will be coming with a 6 speed transmission , what's your thoughts on this??

Parks McCants    April 3, 2015 - 7:38PM

In reply to by Steve hombert (not verified)

It's a great size for the application. Being the previous owner of a Class A Motorhome, I too like what I see. I'm not sure about the non-transfer case full time all-wheel-drive. Yes. you can option for a 6 speed manual transmission. But only in the FWD variant. Take care.

Rusty (not verified)    April 20, 2015 - 10:16PM

I also need light towing capacity. If there is none, I will need the CX-5, another manual transmission equipped vehicle than CAN tow.

Parks McCants    April 21, 2015 - 11:34AM

In reply to by Rusty (not verified)

Welcome Rusty . Yes, I'm sure you'll have some towing capacity. However, Honda will not release specification until the end of this month. My guess is looking to the size of the vehicle, the standard 1.8 Liter i-VTEC 4 cylinder engine and transmission options, HR-V may be a bit just under CR-V in towing capacity.

Derrick (not verified)    May 2, 2015 - 1:28AM

I too need 1000 lbs or so towing ability....i was going for mazdas nice cx-5 with 2000lbs towing n well equiped but saw this honda hrv and need to know more, if it can tow even 1000 or up i might go for it; otherwise its mazda! Theyy brag utility but rarelt mention a little towing ability. Just go on and on about liters in the cab space and how many ways i can fold the friggin' seats like art work. it rated to tow and how much?????

Derrick (not verified)    May 2, 2015 - 1:31AM

Mazda cx-5 great and tow 2000 lbs. Will hrv tow? Nice to hear of folding seats and liters in the cab but with honda raving utility , come on add more towing......mazda can do it. see cx - 5. cant honda? thanks.

Rusty (not verified)    May 5, 2015 - 9:26AM

Derrick, it turns out that Honda's brochures state that the HR-V is not rating for towing. That is unfortunate, but I will be going with the Mazda.

Parks McCants    May 6, 2015 - 12:29AM

In reply to by Rusty (not verified)

Yo Rusty. Where are you finding a published brochure with towing specifications? I'd like to see it. Looking to Australia and Europe, Jazz( Fit)owners are towing 2,000 lbs. While it's true that in the U.S. any towing with Fit will violate the warranty. Case in point: HR-V features a 18% more powerful engine than Fit, larger rims and tires, and from what I've viewed, a stouter suspension, swing-arms. ETC. Note: As to towing capability,It may be a structural space-frame concern. Or.... limited to towing with the 6 speed transmission. In this case not available in the AWD offering. I have a call into Honda Tech with your concern. Hopefully we'll receive a response in the morning. Or.... let's just check it out at the dealership in less than 2 weeks when they come to market. Wishing you safe trouble-free driving. Even in the Mazda(also a good car)

Bud (not verified)    May 20, 2015 - 8:46PM

ready to pull the trigger on the new HR-V but really want to pull a light weight trailer 1800 2000 occasionally. Really need an answer soon

Parks McCants    May 21, 2015 - 1:39AM

In reply to by Bud (not verified)

Good evening Bud. as you probably know the specifications have been released for HR-V in all variants. As an independent journalist I can't speak for American Honda Motors. While I believe that HR-V may be capable of towing a light load, it would be up to American Honda to warranty the vehicle. In this case I must deffer to American Honda Motors and your dealership of choice. keep an eye out for this weeks video drive review of HR-V. It may answer a question or two as to the power and torque capability of this subcompact crossover. Take care.