The 2024 Honda HR-V vs Subaru Crosstrek is a close competition and choosing the right one for you will come down to how you intend to use it.
In the subcompact SUV segment, the 2024 Honda HR-V and the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek both make a compelling case. Choosing the right one for you will likely come down to how you intend to use the SUV. In this head-to-head, the Honda HR-V vs Subaru Crosstrek battle is between a sleek city-focused run about and a rugged offroad capable explorer.
The Honda HR-V was redesigned for the 2023 model year and is the sportier, city-focused of the two. With a brand-new, yet familiar design, the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek looks to capitalize on its ongoing popularity as the more rugged, off-road capable crossover.
The Crosstrek Wilderness trim gets even more aggressive cladding and looks like it will thrive in seriously challenging terrain. If you’re concerned about reliability, it’s hard to match Honda’s reputation, but the Subaru utilizes a lot of proven mechanicals. To find a comparison of the best subcompact crossovers, check out this article.
The powertrains offered in both crossovers is reflective of their manufacturer’s typical offerings. The Honda HR-V comes exclusively with a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 138 lb-ft of torque. The engine is joined to a continuously variable transmission to help deliver good responsiveness and acceleration balanced with good fuel economy.
Fuel consumption on the standard HR-V front-wheel drive model comes in at 26 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. If you opt for the Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System, the fuel efficiency drops to 25 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined.
When you’re driving on more challenging terrain, the HR-V’s standard hill descent control keeps things at a steady speed so you can focus on where you’re going. With only 7.0 inches of ground clearance, the HR-V is intended for light off-road work at most. You can read a full review of the HR-V here.
The Subaru Crosstrek offers two engines. The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, comparable to the HR-V. If you want more power, higher trim Crosstrek’s come with a larger 2.5-liter boxer engine that delivers 182 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque.
There is a single transmission offered, Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT transmission. The 2.0-liter engine is rated to achieve 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. The larger 2.5-liter engine drops a little to 26 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined.
The Wilderness trim’s extra ground clearance and cladding hurts economy which drops to 25 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined. Like all Subaru models, the Crosstrek comes standard with the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system and also includes X-MODE on all models which works to minimize wheel spin and optimize traction when driving off-road.
For driving in snow, these two features should make the Crosstrek superior to the HR-V. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Crosstrek can handle more challenging terrain than the HR-V. And the Wilderness trim rides even higher with 9.3-inches of clearance. You can find a full review of the Crosstrek here.
You’ll notice the difference in philosophy when you hit the road. The HR-V’s lower ride height and road-oriented design means it feels more eager in the corners than the Crosstrek. While the Crosstrek is not ponderous by any means, the HR-V simply delivers a more responsive feel when driving on the road.
Both cars provide a very comfortable ride thanks to independent suspension designs. The slight edge for ride quality probably goes to the Crosstrek though as it’s more rugged design allows it to absorb the larger bumps more naturally.
If you’re looking for straight line performance, neither crossover is going to really excite. The HR-V and the 2.0-liter Crosstrek models need more than nine seconds to hit 60 miles per hour, with the advantage going to the Subaru. And you’re stuck with that performance in the Honda. Subaru also offers the more powerful engine which cuts acceleration times to 60 to just under eight seconds. So, even with the brisker acceleration, it’s still far from fast.
If you need to do any towing, the Honda HR-V leaves something to be desired as Honda does not rate it for towing. The Subaru, however, is rated to two up to 1,500 pounds for most models, and 3,500 pounds for the Wilderness model. Either way, serious towing should probably be left to larger SUVs and pickup trucks.
When you climb inside the HR-V, you’ll appreciate its simple, clutter free design. You have round knobs for adjusting the available dual-zone climate control settings sitting below a horizontally oriented infotainment screen that can be up to 9-inches depending on the top trim. There are two charging ports in the center console to keep your devices ready to go. The digital instrument display provides clear information at a glance.
The HR-V is offered with luxurious leather trim on the top model and includes heated front seats. The HR-V seats five people and the rear seats offer convenient 60/40 split folding for expanded cargo space, up to 55.1 cubic feet, with the seats down. With the rear seats up, there is still a generous 24.4 cubic feet of space in the back. Headroom is 39.4 inches up front and 38.0 inches in the rear. Front legroom is 41.9 inches and rear legroom is 37.7.
The vibe in the Crosstrek is a little different. Matching the exterior, the interior has a more rugged look with a range of cloth, StarTex, and leather seat trims. The dash is dominated by the 11.6-inch touchscreen display that has a vertical layout. The climate control is adjusted with a combination of buttons and icons on the touchscreen which feels a little less intuitive than the Honda’s straightforward controls.
The Crosstrek also offers seating for five plus 60-40 split folding rear seats. The cargo space is a bit lower than the HR-V with 19.9 cubic feet with the seats up and 54.7 cubic feet with seats folded. There is a smidge more headroom without the sunroof, with 39.8-inches. Add the moonroof and it drops to 38.7 inches. Front seat passengers get a little extra space with 42.9 inches of legroom, but rear seats a little less at 36.5 inches.
Both crossovers feature some impressive safety features. Honda’s Honda Sensing Driver Assist features includes things like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and collision mitigation braking standard across all trims. The Subaru comes standard with EyeSight Driver Assist technology that includes the same kinds of benefits as the Honda.
Honda keeps things simple with three trims, the LX, Sport, and EX-L. All three models come with the same engine and transmission option and all came be optioned with the all-wheel drive system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, but the EX-L benefits from wireless connectivity as well as a wireless phone charger.
The HR-V Sport and EX-L also get a leather wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. For leather trimmed seats, you have to choose the EX-L trim. The safety features are generous across the board, but only the EX-L trim gets parking sensors and low speed braking control. The LX trims starts at $24,100, the Sport at $25,650, and the EX-L at $27,650. We provide an explanation of common car dealer options here.
The Subaru Crosstrek has five trims to choose from: Base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Wilderness. The Base and Premium models get the smaller 2.0-liter engine while the Sport, Limited, and Wilderness models benefit from the larger 2.5-liter engine. The first three levels come with cloth seats. If you want leather trimmed seats, the Limited trim is where you’ll find it.
The Wilderness gets StarTex material for the seats, a synthetic, water-repellent material that perfectly fits the Wilderness’ extra rugged vibe. Heated front seats are optional on Premium and standard on the Sport and above. Safety tech is also generous across all models, but things like blind-spot detection and reverse automatic braking don’t become standard until the Limited trim.
Pricing for the Base Crosstrek model starts at $24,995, the Premium at $26,145, Sport at $28,995, Limited at $30,895, and the Wilderness at $31,995. When you’re ready for buy a new vehicle, this handy article can help you prepare for the negotiation process.
Picking one over the other is tough when comparing the Honda HR-V vs Subaru Crosstrek. The Honda appeals with its more attractive interior design, value pricing, and sportier on-road dynamics. The exterior aesthetic and vibe of the Crosstrek, on the other hand, is arguably cooler. It looks ready to tackle any adventure. The trade-off is slightly higher costs, a less enjoyable interior with a bit less space, and not much else. The Crosstrek even ekes out similar or better fuel economy, at least per the official ratings. My choice is the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek as its go anywhere readiness is hard to deny, especially when snow starts flying.