Everything’s relative. A decade ago, the dimensions of the new 2016 Honda HR-V would have put it in the compact SUV segment; now it’s designated a subcompact CUV. But don’t let the “subcompact” label fool you; this vehicle is roomy and substantial. It’s just that everything else has grown!

Based on Honda’s Global Compact Series Platform that underpins the Honda Fit, the HR-V therefore features that car’s mid-mounted gas tank, meaning the floor behind the front seats is unusually low and flat. The HR-V is bigger than the Fit, though. Tons of rear seat passenger and cargo room back there: 1,665 litres, in fact, more than a Nissan Rogue and Ford Escape, according to Honda. Those are compact SUVs, and like them, HR-V arrives in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions. Ranging in price from $20,690 for front-wheel drive (FWD) LX model to $29,990 for all-wheel drive (AWD) EX-L Navi, the HR-V slots in between the loaded Fit and the entry CR-V.

Compared to the Fit, however, HR-V is 230 mm longer, has an 80 mm longer wheelbase and is 81 mm taller. It’s also 70 mm wider and has a 54 mm wider front and 67 mm wider rear track. It rides higher, too. According to Honda, it’s an “entirely new generation of subcompact crossover,” for the company, blending “the styling of a coupe, [and] the toughness, space and utility of an SUV…”

So what you have essentially is a practical four-to-five passenger crossover, but it’s dressed in some very flashy duds. It’s not segment “busting” but it is an entry into a new segment by Honda, which accurately describes it as a cross between a coupe and an SUV. Take a closer look you’ll see that the top half of the HR-V is indeed coupe-like. There’s the wide front, sleek hood and aerodynamic profile, the hidden rear door handles, and shut lines that are almost invisible. First glance? Looks like a two-door. Thankfully not like the legendary Suzuki X-90 two-door SUV.

But the bottom half of the HR-V definitely has SUV signatures. Chunky standard 17-inch aluminum wheels, big wheel openings and sturdy sill treatment suggest toughness and off-roadability. Not that HR-V is designed for rugged trails, but it gives the impression that it won’t wilt at the sight of one.

Under the hood is a 1.8L, Civic-based single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine (not the engine found in the Fit) making 141 hp at 6,500 rpm and 127 lb-ft torque at 4,300 rpm. A choice of CVT “automatic” and six-speed manual (6MT) transmissions are available, but no manual option with AWD.

Fuel economy is excellent, regardless of the drivetrain, estimated at 8.3/6.7 L/100 km city/highway for the FWD CVT, 9.3/7.0 L/100 km for the FWD 6MT and 8.8/7.2 L/100 km for the AWD CVT. The AWD system, by the way, is the same Real-Time AWD with Intelligent Control found in the Honda CR-V.

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