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2019 Honda HR-V Overview
The Littlest Honda crossover, known formally as the HR-V, is a recent introduction to the stable, arriving for the 2016 model year. So, given Honda’s traditional timelines, it makes sense that the 2019 model has been comprehensively updated.
You’ll immediately notice the new front end, whose most prominent feature is its implementation of the Honda “flying wing” grille motif. The headlights, grille, bumpers, and taillights are also new. Inside, the technology stack sees upgrades, by way of a new, simplified infotainment system that now has both a physical volume knob and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. There’s a reworked instrument cluster with a large analog speedometer and digital tachometer, but higher trim levels also get a 4.2-inch color LCD with additional information. Even the cupholder is improved.
As before, all versions of the HR-V carry a 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. While the 6-speed manual transmission is no longer anywhere in the lineup, the standard continuously-variable transmission (CVT) lives on with improvements. Revised shift mapping makes it feel more like a conventional automatic transmission and keeps it lower in its rev range during normal driving, but producing higher revs during deceleration for improved engine braking. Honda also tweaked the steering to make it more responsive at low speeds, with fewer turns of the wheel needed, but more steady at higher speeds. Front-wheel drive (FWD) comes standard on the HR-V, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option. Fuel economy for the FWD is 28 mpg city, 34 highway, and 30 mpg combined. For AWD, fuel economy is 27 mpg city, 31 highway, and 29 combined.
The LX, EX, and EX-L trims make a return for 2019. But the Sport and Touring trims are new. LX starts off with 17-inch wheels, a 5-inch infotainment system, LED tailights, a soft-touch dashboard, a console armrest, and steering wheel audio controls. For 2019, halogen projector headlights and LED daytime running lights are new.
The new Sport grade offers a unique styling theme, with a black headliner, aluminum sport pedals, and special 18-inch wheels. In addition, it throws in a bigger 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, active noise cancellation, a leather wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters, and halogen fog lights.
The EX trim comes with a moonroof, keyless access and start, rear privacy glass, heated front seats, single-zone automatic climate control, satellite and HD radio, mirror indicators, a 180-watt sound system, automatic headlights, a pair of tweeter speakers, illuminated vanity mirrors, and chrome interior accents. The EX-L grade simply adds leather upholstery to the EX.
The new Touring trim now serves as the high point for the HR-V, bringing additional levels of comfort and luxury to the model. In addition to everything from the EX-L level, it bundles standard AWD, an 8-way power driver’s seat, navigation, full-LED headlights, LED fog lights, and a garage-door opener.
Honda also made improvements in the safety category for 2019. A multi-angle reversing camera is still the main standard feature, but the Honda Sensing system, which wasn’t available in earlier years, is now included on the EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. Honda Sensing groups forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. The EX, EX-L, and Touring grades also come standard with Honda’s LaneWatch system, consisting of a camera mounted on the right-side mirror that can be toggled at any time to see a full view of that side of the car, and can activate automatically when making right-hand turns. The HR-V received mostly favorable scores during its recent 2018 tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but an Acceptable front small-overlap score kept it from earning top marks.
The subcompact crossover field is fiercely-competitive, and the HR-V holds its own, especially in terms of quality and driver-orientation. The changes to the 2019 model should keep it at or near the top of the class.
Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.
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