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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, as someone who has been waiting for the HR-V for almost a year, today was a big day. I went by my local dealership after being told there was a manual transmission one that I could drive. Well, turns out that it hasn't arrived just yet, but will be here sometime soon....arrrg. Well anyway, decided to test drive a LX CVT anyway (in white) and then drive a Subaru XV Crosstrek (also a CVT, they didn't have any manuals) back-to-back. So here are my general thoughts after driving them each for about 20 minutes on the same route. Not alot of turns, but one road that was full of pot holes and speed bumps and some highway time.

- HR-V looks good in person and really all the cargo space I was expecting. HR-V wins big here, as expected.

- The seats in the HR-V were more comfortable for me than the XV. At the end of my test drive with the XV my back actually was hurting, too much lumbar for me.

-While the seat was more comfortable, it doesn't have a ton of back and forth travel. I'm 5' 10" and I was only 1 click up from the maximum furthest back position. I can why some of the taller people are saying it's too small. Also, I'm on the larger side (I'm like the same size as the TFLCar.com's Nathan Adlen if that gives you some idea) and I found the seat a bit narrow. I was wearing cargo shorts with my IPod, sunglasses, etc. in them and I was bumping up against the center console. So XV wins on width, but fails on back comfort. Also, the seat in the HR-V clicked twice during the drive, like it wasn't locked in to position for the back part. The seat didn't move though, this could be a defect of some sort. Also, I noticed that the HR-V seat has a slight forward tilt even in it's lowest position, not ideal for me as I would prefer the front of the bottom of the seat to be tilted up slightly.

- Speaking of the center console, the car I drove had the grey interior and I noticed on the center arm rest and the console area numerous scuff and scratches. They rubbed out, but this could be a concern of grey interior owners. Personally I think the XV console area is much better.

- Both the HR-V and XV had good forward visibility. The big C-pillar is annoying, but not a deal breaker. Winner is the XV, it's easier to see out of. The HR-V was an LX, so no lane watch, but I didn't have any trouble passing cars on the highway. The mirror that has the wide view on the outside took some getting use to as it distorts the image, so at first it seems a bit wonky.

- Ok, on to the drive. The HR-V was very quite and comfortable to drive in for me and so was the XV. The big difference came in for hard acceleration. In the HR-V it happily hums along when cruising nice and quite and comfortable, but put your foot down....juuuust a little bit, and the CVT ramps WAY up and it get very loud like the car is saying "ok you want power, you sure, ok well here is ALL the power NOW". The XV had a smoother transition of power in my opinion, but it get loud at the top end.

- The XV had a harsher ride, but that's expected with the more "off road" nature of the car.

- ECON mode in the HR-V is annoying. I didn't even have it on and the green ring would illuminate anyway. I'm not sure if there's a way to turn that off, but I found it distracting. The XV had a speedo display right in the center that showed the speed digitally right next to the normal speed gauge. That was annoying as well, but I figured out how to turn that off.

- I really liked the LX radio and climate controls. I also liked the climate controls in the XV and their high end radio seems easier to use and sounded great. The LX radio sounded fine, but I'm not a deep bass thumping guy or anything, so I wouldn't know a bad radio from a good one really. One thing the XV had a greyed out app for MirrorLink, which should show what's on your phone. I was hoping the HR-V would have this for Android to have navigation shown from the phone onto the car's screen. The XV looks like they will be "getting" it in the future. It would be nice though, and the salesman said they were working on it and would update the software when it was available, but I wasn't so sure as it sounded a bit like a sales pitch and they might never follow through with that (like Honda didn't with the Fit and Android).

At the end of the day, the XV is now off my list unless the cloth seats are more comfortable than the leather ones I took out on a test drive. Seat comfort is too important to compromise on.

On the HR-V, my thoughts are still up in the air until I can drive the manual. The CVT had more pep than I thought it would, it was just the all or nothing power wasn't really for me. The car did seem very nicely made and I'm sure Honda will sell a bezillion of these cars. At the end of the day, it might be all of the little things that break the camels back on the HR-V. Center console design, small storage in center arm rest, wide cup holders, no towing, no roof-rails with a manual, only 6.7" of ground clearance (only 1.2" more than my current car), touch screen nonsense, no android support, etc. I think Honda made a good car, but forgot people have to drive it, and I'm not sure if all of the user interface issues I can overlook or not.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, I'm happy to answer any questions. I'm hoping to drive a Kia Soul, VW Golf, and maybe a CX-5 or Forester this weekend, but to be honest, I'm leaning towards not buying anything new right now and just investing in my old car.

EDIT: Oh, and no brochure at my Honda dealership, hopefully I can pick one up at another dealership this weekend.
 

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Very thorough review Derm! Helpful to have the side by side comparison.


On the green ring....it is not dependent on the ECON mode which comes with the CVT. It is also on the Manual (which doesn't have ECON mode) so that explains why you couldn't turn the green ring off.


I liked a lot about the HR-V LX myself, but I am closer to your plan because I really want to wait a bit to see what else is coming along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The center console on the HRV - the armrest. You are the same size as I am. Did you have to 'slouch' to use it?
No, it was at a comfortable height I would say. I would say that I don't really use the center arm rest though that much, but I did try it out and it seemed good, higher than in the Fit. Also, my elbow could rest on it when it was all the way in the further back position, but only just.
 

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On the Honda HR-V EX-L (the model/trim I test drove) you can view your iphone screen on the 7" display using HDMI cable. Not sure if this is an option for Android or for lower trim levels.
 

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On the green ring....it is not dependent on the ECON mode which comes with the CVT. It is also on the Manual (which doesn't have ECON mode) so that explains why you couldn't turn the green ring off.
I'm going to guess it was green because you were getting good MPG. The Civic does the same thing.
 

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I'm too old to wait -

Very thorough review Derm! Helpful to have the side by side comparison.


On the green ring....it is not dependent on the ECON mode which comes with the CVT. It is also on the Manual (which doesn't have ECON mode) so that explains why you couldn't turn the green ring off.


I liked a lot about the HR-V LX myself, but I am closer to your plan because I really want to wait a bit to see what else is coming along.
for the perfect $19k car that is coming.
 

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Great review, thanks Derm!

I've been thinking about that green ring too... hopefully you can turn it off. Small thing, but I'd find it really annoying.

Are you still planning to test a 6MT (please!)? In any case, I'd love to hear your impressions of the Golf and Soul, vis. the HR-V.

Cheers...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
On the Honda HR-V EX-L (the model/trim I test drove) you can view your iphone screen on the 7" display using HDMI cable. Not sure if this is an option for Android or for lower trim levels.
From what we've been told, this isn't an option for non-Iphone users :(

I'm going to guess it was green because you were getting good MPG. The Civic does the same thing.
Yeah, the whole ECO coaching thing. I might get used to it, but I found that when it changed it made me look away from the road and down at the ring because I saw something change in my periphery vision. There must be some sort of setting to turn it off, can a new HR-V owner weigh in?

for the perfect $19k car that is coming.
No car is perfect, but there are some other interesting vehicles coming down the pipeline for 2016 like the Scion iM, Kia Trailster, and changes to existing models like the Forester, Golf, etc.

Great review, thanks Derm!

I've been thinking about that green ring too... hopefully you can turn it off. Small thing, but I'd find it really annoying.

Are you still planning to test a 6MT (please!)? In any case, I'd love to hear your impressions of the Golf and Soul, vis. the HR-V.

Cheers...
Yes, as soon as a dealership has one (I'm going to call the other 5 dealers in my area today) I'll be driving the MT (which is the one I really care about and will probably have a more detailed review of). I'll do my best to get into a Golf and Soul as well, but I have to say my tolerance level for sales people is pretty low, so I can only do car shopping in little bits at a time :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I called all of my local Honda dealers asking about if they had a manual. I got everything from "the don't make a manual for the HR-V" to "we're prepping one now". The guy who said they don't make them even asked the other salesmen and his boss and came back and said "well, everyone here says they don't, so you seem to be the only one who thinks that they do"....I very politely informed him that he should look at the Honda website....arrrgh, some sales people can just drive you nuts!!!

Anyway, still hoping to get to drive a manual sometime this weekend, but we'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention.

The electronic parking brake. Maybe some new HR-V owners can weigh in on this, but do you have to hold it up or down or can you just press it quickly? I found that while holding it (to be sure it was working) it took about 2 seconds to engage, and I thought that was a long time to lock in. Never been in a car with one before, so I don't know if that's normal or not, but I still prefer a mechanical brake for sure.
 

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Thanks for this, we're looking at similar cars: HR-V, Crosstrek, CX-3 and a Forester.

I've only driven the Crosstrek. It's totally powerless, but I'm OK with that. What gets me is how loud the ride was at freeway speeds. Can you speak to that when it comes to comparing it to the HR-V?

Going to test drive the HR-V soon, and probably follow up with a CX-5 just to see what a Mazda feels like since the CX-3 isn't out yet.
 

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I test drove the Crosstrek on Thursday. We have a 15 Outback, and are Subbie loyalists (and Honda loyalists!). I was more impressed with the Crosstrek than I thought I'd be. Just going on memory, I'd say the ride noise on the freeway was equivalent to the HR-Vs I test drove Friday and Saturday.

I need to drive the Crosstrek again. It was better than I thought, but if you think it was powerless, I have to say I found it equivalent to the HR-V. Plus, the Crosstrek's dash was more traditional and very easy on the eyes, IMHO.

I'm also waiting for the CX-3.
 

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The electronic brake on the HR-V is brilliant. We have it on our 15 Outback, and I love it. It really frees up console area space. I didn't find it lagging when I used it on two test drives, but then again I only have the Outbacks with which to compare it.

I posted about lack of cubby storage space in the HR-V, and the e-brake goes a long way to giving the HR-V at least a passing thought to console storage space.
 

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Thanks for this, we're looking at similar cars: HR-V, Crosstrek, CX-3 and a Forester.

I've only driven the Crosstrek. It's totally powerless, but I'm OK with that. What gets me is how loud the ride was at freeway speeds. Can you speak to that when it comes to comparing it to the HR-V?

Going to test drive the HR-V soon, and probably follow up with a CX-5 just to see what a Mazda feels like since the CX-3 isn't out yet.
I think you would be better able to anticipate the feel of a CX-3 by driving the 3 hatch, which is much closer in spec, interior syle and space. Just slightly lighter, shorter, taller..
 

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As far as Mazda handling, I have a 2001 Mazda Miata. It's the ultimate handling machine next to the MINI, IMHO.

And, my sister's 15 CX-5 is a blast. It's just bigger than I want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for this, we're looking at similar cars: HR-V, Crosstrek, CX-3 and a Forester.

I've only driven the Crosstrek. It's totally powerless, but I'm OK with that. What gets me is how loud the ride was at freeway speeds. Can you speak to that when it comes to comparing it to the HR-V?

Going to test drive the HR-V soon, and probably follow up with a CX-5 just to see what a Mazda feels like since the CX-3 isn't out yet.
The HR-V and XV in my mind were about the same when cruising, but the HR-V is louder when pushed. For me, it was the seat comfort and harsh ride (on a bumpy road) that I didn't like in the XV, I thought the HR-V was better in that regard.
 

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I have been deciding between an HRV and a XV Crosstrek as well. I test drove the CVT HRV on Friday (though not back to back with the Crosstrek) and I have to say I was disappointed. I've had a 2002 Civic for the past 12 years and wanted something with a little more power. The HRV seemed pretty sluggish, with similar acceleration to my old Civic except when in S (sport?) mode. I also thought the engine got pretty loud when accelerating quickly such as getting onto the highway. I felt I really hard to push hard on the gas to get it to go anywhere. I did think the car handled well and was fairly quiet, but I found it fairly unresponsive and that will probably be a deal breaker. I thought the Crosstrek was more responsive. I took it up a fairly steep hill (6-7% grade, 3 miles long) and thought it had plenty of power and great handling around tight curves.

Dermochelys - Where did you find the 6.7 inch ground clearance number? I thought it was a bit more at 7.3 inches.

Also with regard to the HRV, is anyone else bothered by the low smog emissions rating of "5"? That classifies the HRV as a only low emission vehicle, while the Crosstrek is a partial zero emission vehicle. The new Civics are also PZEVs. That means the HRV has more than 5 times the emissions of smog producing chemicals than the Civic or the Crosstrek.
 
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