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After months of research, and reading forum posts, I went out and actually tested a HRV. As with any car, loved a few things, and did not like others. I was disappointed with the manual gear box as I thought it would have been a lot smoother, and more precise than I found it to be. It felt "rubbery" and I had to spend time searching for the right gate to slot the gear into. Also kept asking the salesman if I was in the correct gear. I've been driving manual transmission all my life, and even my 20 year old SUV was far more precise when clicking between gears. So, that was a bummer for me. Loved the handling, the right lane camera, and all the options you can get with this car. Was not happy with the cabin layout as I found the seat height and position of gear lever to be a tad mismatched....but that's just my opinion. The driver information gauge with mpg etc was also a bit small to read. All in all, it was a mixed experience. Fortunately, I'm not in a hurry to buy so am hoping that maybe some of these will be addressed in future model changes. I think I could get accustomed to the not very precise gear change and would welcome hearing other people's experience with this. Have been testing other brands in the same class as well but none are as well optioned as the HRV with manual, with some brands offering absolutely no options or upgrades! Like they're punishing you for actually wanting to drive a manual! This is why the HRV is still on my list.
 

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I've driven manual for 15 years, and think it's a pretty nice shifting car. It's definitely not as snickety as my dads 77 MGB, but I don't think any car I've ever driven has been :)

My wife occasionally droves stick and seems to shift smoother than when I had my old Ford. Other friends of mine have been impressed as well.

I do think the cabin is laid out a little strange, especially being a tall person. I installed seat rail extenders, but the steering wheel and stick are a little far forward now.

I really think after you get used to it you'll like the stick in this car, after 20k miles I'm still loving mine. It really brings out the power in this engine and makes it pretty fun to throw around. The gating feels very natural to me, although very muted (which I feel is just honda style)

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And as far as other manuals in this price range, I agree that Honda has the most features. So many manufacturers put sticks in their cheap lineups. Good luck finding a big screen on a backup camera, heated seats, keyless start, cargo room, and gas mileage.

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Discussion Starter #4
It's the availability of options that keep the HRV at the top of the list for me. I just don't know if I could get accustomed to the imprecise feel of the gear box, coming from a short throw 20 year old Rav4, with very defined gating. Also don't know if I should bite the bullet and go with the CVT, or whether I'd regret that even more! I guess I might just hang on a wait a bit longer until some of the bugs mentioned in this forum have been resolved by Honda.
 

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It's the availability of options that keep the HRV at the top of the list for me. I just don't know if I could get accustomed to the imprecise feel of the gear box, coming from a short throw 20 year old Rav4, with very defined gating. Also don't know if I should bite the bullet and go with the CVT, or whether I'd regret that even more! I guess I might just hang on a wait a bit longer until some of the bugs mentioned in this forum have been resolved by Honda.
I am looking to buy. You will find every vehicle has some minor "bugs". Each car Forum has a problem list. One would never buy a car reading these forums. But I look at the overall ratings and right now the HRV is at the top of my list. Along with the CX-3.

On the subject of the CVT, most "expert" reviewers like the CVT over the manual.
 

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I am looking to buy. You will find every vehicle has some minor "bugs". Each car Forum has a problem list. One would never buy a car reading these forums. But I look at the overall ratings and right now the HRV is at the top of my list. Along with the CX-3.

On the subject of the CVT, most "expert" reviewers like the CVT over the manual.
I've been doing more than just reading the problem lists on forums. Looked at the Subaru Forester (nice but too big, great gear box but small backup camera screen), the Crosstrek (kept hitting my head on the very slanted window pillar), Mazda CX5 (too big, and no options if you buy manual but with a slick gear box), Kia Soul (right size, precise gear shifting, but no options if you buy manual), CX3 (too low for me, reminded me of its Mazda 2 ancestry), Mini Countryman (typical German engineering, stiff controls, and a horrible gear shift). Also tested a Jeep Renegade with automatic but did not care for how it handled.....nimble would not be a word that comes to mind, plus the torque lag between throttle and transmission engage was very noticeable. So, HRV still at the top but will give the CVT version a try to compare it with the manual.
 

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I've been doing more than just reading the problem lists on forums. Looked at the Subaru Forester (nice but too big, great gear box but small backup camera screen), the Crosstrek (kept hitting my head on the very slanted window pillar), Mazda CX5 (too big, and no options if you buy manual but with a slick gear box), Kia Soul (right size, precise gear shifting, but no options if you buy manual), CX3 (too low for me, reminded me of its Mazda 2 ancestry), Mini Countryman (typical German engineering, stiff controls, and a horrible gear shift). Also tested a Jeep Renegade with automatic but did not care for how it handled.....nimble would not be a word that comes to mind, plus the torque lag between throttle and transmission engage was very noticeable. So, HRV still at the top but will give the CVT version a try to compare it with the manual.
You have done more test drives than me. But I have read about the ones you mention and agree with assessments. Also on the Countryman and Jeep, their brand has always had reliability.

I have been waiting a year for the upcoming US release of the Toyota C-HR, will compete with HR-V. Pricing should be released soon with a late Spring release. I love Toyotas but this one might be too "Nissan Jukie" for me.

When are you looking to buy?
 

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You have done more test drives than me. But I have read about the ones you mention and agree with assessments. Also on the Countryman and Jeep, their brand has always had reliability.

I have been waiting a year for the upcoming US release of the Toyota C-HR, will compete with HR-V. Pricing should be released soon with a late Spring release. I love Toyotas but this one might be too "Nissan Jukie" for me.

When are you looking to buy?
Think I'll hold off until the new models come out in the year. All 2018 models will be required to have a backup camera so even though they are not currently optioned in base models with a stick, they will have to be in the newer models of the Mazda and Kia Soul. The Mazda CX5 has been redesigned for 2017 so those will be out the latter half of the year. The Honda HRV will be at the top of my list if the recurring problems mentioned in this forum can be resolved. Seems to be mainly related to poor quality control at their factory in Mexico.
 
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