Nov. 21, 2014 – Update and photos by Brendan McAleer from the LA Auto Show
What a colossal missed opportunity to not be calling this latest Honda crossover the “Crossfit.” I mean, it’s a Fit-based crossover. Cross-Fit. Crossfit! [Perhaps the taint of Crosstour is just too fresh in their minds… –Ed.] C’mon Honda – enough with the alphanumerics!
Not to mention that, not unlike the aforementioned fitness craze, this little compact crossover appears to be extremely flexible, perhaps not a specialist in one particular area, but a multi-dimensional athlete. Cargo space is better than the Fit, rating 688 L behind the rear seats and 1,665 with them folded down, and the HR-V benefits from the same flexible “Magic Seat” layout that Honda’s smallest car uses to great effect.
Poor weather performance should be decent, as the HR-V has available all-wheel drive and slightly raised ground clearance. There’s a six-speed manual on offer in the two-wheel-drive version, whereas opting for the CVT opens up the possibility of all-wheel-drive. A little extra punch from a 1.8L four-cylinder engine means a fully laden HR-V shouldn’t be too slow on a ski trip, with power ratings coming in at 138 hp at 6,500 rpm and 127 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm.
2016 Honda HR-V dashboard, engine bay. Click image to enlarge
Rearward visibility isn’t great, but that’s almost a hallmark of any compact crossover. Interior space is pretty good, very slightly larger than the Fit, and the seats feel comfortable. The dash layout is essentially the same as throughout the rest of the Honda range, which means top models come with a slick seven-inch touchscreen-based interface – which we really wish still had an old-fashioned volume knob.
The usual suite of Honda safety features are also on offer, including the LaneWatch blind-spot camera, forward collision and lane departure warning. Higher trims will get satellite navigation, push-button start, and a power sunroof.
However, there is an essential goodness to the basic model of this car that many Honda fans will like. In many ways, it puts me in mind of the old Civic Wagon of the 1980s – we’re not likely to see a Civic hatchback anytime soon, but here’s a flexible and capable little Honda with clever folding seats and a bit more oomph to handle cargo-hauling duties. The slightly higher driving position will please most urban drivers, even if the rear visibility doesn’t, and if it puts out Civic-like fuel economy figures, it’ll make for a multi-talented do-everything sort of car. One that should really be called the Crossfit.