For 2016 Honda HR-V takes Fit to an AWD sports-level while retaining the transformer like capability of Honda’s popular 5 door hatchback.
At first glance I thought that perhaps Honda R&D had collectively banged its head on the quickly expanding compact crossover, SUV segment. After-all, there is no shortage of offerings in North America under or approaching the mid $20,00 price point in crossover land.
For me it wasn't love at first sight. However on sitting in HR-Vs expansive and comfortable, well appointed interior, I was captivated. No, I haven't driven 2016 HR-V, that will happen for me sometime in early 2015. However, if the performance of the 2015 Fit or ‘EarthDreams” CR-V is any kind of an indicator, the 138 horsepower,127 lb-ft torque@ mid-range with Honda “G” shift logic and coupe-like interior styling should be a blast to drive.
From Fiat’s Chrysler Division comes the 2015 Jeep Renegade.Several automotive journalist attending the Los Angeles Auto Show mentioned it, I don’t find it to be a crossover as such. However, Jeep plans on bringing it to market in the $20,000 range, it will compete with 2016 Honda HR-V for market share.
Looking to the body-style of HR-V, coupe-like interior and car-like handling and ride characteristics, many Honda -haters will point to Mazda CX-5 as a logical alternative to 2016 HR-V. With a base MSRP of $21,545 for a well equipped FWD Sport, some may look to Mazda as the superior choice in compact crossover utility, perhaps. In close comparison we find that Mazda CX-5 is apples to oranges when directly compared to Honda’s one-off HR-V.
While Mazda does claim similar fuel economy via a 2.0L SKYTRACIV 4 cylinder gasoline engine,(155 horsepower/150 ft-lb torque) linked to a close ratio 6 speed manual,(26 city/35 highway) 2016 Honda HR-V offers comparable fuel economy and interior volume in arguably a better looking and much smaller crossover, SUV.
For buyers it will most likely come to down to brand loyalty, personal style preference and base price. Performance will be a close call with many of Honda’s competitors offering greater horsepower and torque in a comparable package. while bank to the initial buck may swing you towards a Santa Fe or the all new Fiat 500 X, when the smoke clears Honda will be the long-term winning combination and value through reasonable, trouble-free performance and historically high residual value and award winning safety.
While it’s too early to project sales success for 2016 HR-V, if CR-V and Fit sales momentum is an indicator, 2016 HR-V will be a long term segment winner for Honda.