Speed Dating: 2016 Honda HR-V EX-L Navi AWD

When it was introduced in the late 90s, the original Honda CR-V was an innovative car-based SUV that promised to combine an SUV’s all-weather capabilities and high seating position with a car’s fuel economy. It was a formula that was wildly successful, and which spawned rivals like the Toyota RAV-4, Hyundai Tucson, and- depending on who you ask- the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 a decade later. Since then, the CR-V has been redesigned four times. With each redesign, the little SUV has grown slightly bigger, to the point that there was now a gap in Honda’s product line for a small, practical little SUV just about the size of that first-generation CR-V.


Enter: the 2016 Honda HR-V EX-L Navi AWD

2016 Honda HR-V

Based on the excellent Honda Fit and fitted with Honda’s Real Time AWD system, the 2016 Honda HR-V we tested was more than capable of handling my generally suburban commute- and gave no indication that it would slip up once “real winter” sets in here in Chicago. The HR-V’s clean, intuitive interior design and 5-star safety rating should also help the little SUV find buyers- but what about the sub-CR-V size? Is the HR-V just too small to be practical?


2016 Honda HR-V | Just Right

In a word: No. In more words, the 2016 Honda HR-V may not take up any more garage space than its Chevy Trax or Fiat 500X competition, but it’s worlds ahead of both in terms of practicality.

“Worlds ahead,” I hear you ask. “Really?”

Yes, really. Whereas the Fiat cute-ute could barely fit a folded-up umbrella stroller, the 2016 Honda HR-V swallowed up the much larger City GT stroller, a diaper bag, my daughter’s pink folding chair (shown), and the new Sit n’ Stand 2-kid stroller we just bought. At the same time. Meanwhile, the Chevy Trax is just nowhere- without room for even the tiniest of folding strollers, the Trax is totally useless as a family car.

In addition to real, actually usable cargo space, the HR-V is comfortable enough for two midwestern American adults (read: large adults) a toddler in a massive baby seat, and a twelve-year-old to happily tool around in all day. Trying the same trick in either of the previously mentioned vehicles will make everyone claustrophobic quickly.

Where does that leave us with the 2016 Honda HR-V? I think it leaves us with a small SUV that isn’t too small, isn’t too big, and fits nicely in an urban garage while giving back just a bit under the 29 combined MPG rating during the week I had it- which brings me to the very clever way the new HR-V “grades” your driving.


2016 Honda HR-V | Gamification of Green


At idle, the ring around the speedo is either blue or white- but that changes to green when you’re driving economically, or a reddish-purple when it decides you’re burning too much gas. It was annoying at first, but after I started thinking about “getting green” as a game, it started to get entertaining and my avg. MPG did creep upwards. It wasn’t a party, but it was more entertaining than “Elmo’s Got the Moves” for the thirtieth time, anyway.

So, that said, I think the 2016 Honda HR-V is a strong contender in the tiny SUV market. And, frankly, the only one I’ve driven (so far) that I’d even consider as a daily driver for a (relatively) young, growing family.


Original content from Gas 2.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.