What spam is to meat, the crossover is to automobiles. A mishmash. A mashup. A compilation of parts and segments and pieces, less appealing individually, but more appetizing when blended together into a delicious, gelatinous concoction.

The Honda HR-V is one such crossover. It’s Honda’s latest, and one of the market’s newest small-crossover offerings – taking a place between the Fit and the CR-V in Honda’s lineup (with the upcoming five-door Civic fitting in there, somewhere, when it launches).

HR-V looks distinctive, unique, and even a little rugged – with a tallish stance, its own take on the crossover-coupe shape complete with concealed rear door handles, and suspension components peeking out from beneath the bottom when you’re sitting behind it in traffic. The ride height is elevated, but still car-like. All-Wheel Drive is available, too. As an alternative to a bigger crossover, HR-V ticks all the right boxes for a confident driving experience, without the heavy fuel use and dumpster-like handling.

Off the bat, though HR-V’s styling isn’t as upscale as some of the segment’s offerings, interior spaciousness and cargo hold usability blow competitors like the Mazda CX-3 out of the water. As Honda utility vehicles tend to, the HR-V offers up space aplenty, and especially in the cargo hold on the tester, with a low load floor, stretched-to-the-edges design and tall-to-the-rear shape for maximum carrying. Note that opting for AWD, which wasn’t present in the tester, reduces cargo capacity slightly.

Other notes on functionality include the full application of Honda’s MagicSeat system, a la Honda Fit, which allows rear seat bottoms to flip up, making an excellent lounge space for a canine, or clearing room for large or clumsy items like bicycles, flat-screen TV’s, or a week’s worth of camping coolers or other supplies. Also, like the Fit, HR-V’s rear seatbacks fold fully flat in a jiff, turning it into a sort of miniature cargo van. As with its stablemates, there’s more space and flexibility on board than you probably think.

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