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2016 Honda HR-V takes Fit versatility to AWD sports-level

You may argue with me on first look, I know I did. When Honda’s GM Jeff Conrad stated that there was ‘nothing else like it on the market,’ I too took exception. But then I took a closer look at the competition.

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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.

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Oliver L (not verified)    November 25, 2014 - 8:24AM

The 2016 Mazda CX-3 (three) will compete against the Honda HR-V with the likes of other compact crossovers the Kia Soul, Scion xB, and Buick Encore.

The 2015 Mazda CX-5 (five) SUV is an entire size class larger and competes against the likes of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Subaru Forester SUVs.

Parks McCants    November 25, 2014 - 7:47PM

In reply to by Oliver L (not verified)

My bad Oliver. Thanks for the correction, but I believe you get the idea. When we look to the Fiat 500 X ( no argument as to size comparison here) The X out horsepowers and out-torques HR-V. Nonetheless, HR-V will be a segment leader due to exceptional standard features and price point.