The Honda HR-V is seeing major updates for 2023, from a new platform to new powertrains and more.
The next-generation Honda HR-V, Honda’s offering in the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment, is getting a new platform and a major visual overhaul for the upcoming 2023 model year. The updates are certainly welcome. While Hondas sit at or near the top of many of our segment rankings, like the Accord and Ridgeline, the HR-V has struggled in recent years to distinguish itself against impressive rivals like the Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona.
The new HR-V is based off the current Civic platform as opposed to the smaller and now defunct Honda Fit. Honda says the bigger platform means a larger footprint for the HR-V, but they are yet to release specifics on dimensions. (The preview video on Honda’s website consists almost solely of shots of an open rear hatch which might hint at a greater cargo capacity than the prior generation HR-V.)
Given the new platform, a new powertrain is also likely in order. The current HR-V powers the front wheels via a rather anemic 1.8L four-cylinder coupled to a CVT transmission. The four-cylinder provides for good fuel economy at 29 MPG but lacks any punch in acceleration. Given the HR-V’s new Civic-based platform, its new engines are likely to derive from the compact car as well. This would include both the Civic’s base 2.0L four-cylinder and a turbocharged 1.5L.
The European version of the HR-V is graced with a hybrid powertrain borrowed from the Accord, so there is at least a possibility that the new North American version could get a hybrid option with this generational update. Honda did say that the 2023 HR-V will now sport an independent rear suspension over torsion bar setup of the outgoing model. Honda has made it clear the new HR-V will see a substantial improvement in handling, typically a Honda strong suit, and the new platform, powertrains, and suspension all point in that direction.
Honda says their advanced safety tech suite, Honda Sensing, will come as standard equipment on the 2023 HR-V.
One thing that is beyond speculation is the 2023 HR-V’s new looks. Rather than a miniaturized version of the Honda’s larger SUVs, the new 2023 HR-V gets its own distinctive front facia dominated by a wide-mouthed honeycomb grille. An elongated hood and side panels are boldly creased, adding to the new sporty air Honda is going for with the HR-V. The squint of the new LED headlights, wide set taillights, and a lower beltline are still more touches making for a more serious, grownup looking HR-V.
While Honda has yet to confirm major aspects of the 2023 HR-V, what we know so far indicates a major shift in emphasis and a renewed attention to a growing segment that Honda hasn’t, up until now, taken all that seriously. But the new more-drivable, better-looking Honda HR-V could do for the compact crossover what Honda has accomplished with their segment-leading cars and other SUVs.