honda has fully revealed the 2023 hr-v, the second generation of its subcompact crossover, with funky new styling and larger dimensions. this is thanks to the hr-v ditching its fit hatchback underpinnings to instead borrow the latest civic’s platform, and all 2023 hr-vs are powered by the civic’s naturally aspirated 2.0-liter inline-four making 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. while there is only one engine option in the new hr-v, the crossover comes in three trim levels—lx, sport, and ex-l—so we asked our editors to each pick one of the trims and spec it to their liking. using honda’s online configurator, here’s what we ended up choosing.
a honda hr-v is a value play. with that in mind, my goal is to make the most of every dollar which is why i’m choosing the hr-v lx. at $24,895, the lx is the least expensive way to get an hr-v. okay, so it doesn’t have heated or power seats and my front-seat passenger will be at my mercy since there’s only single-zone climate control. i won’t miss any of those things. i also don’t want an automatically dimming rearview mirror. i can dim my own rearview mirror, thank you. and i’m of the belief that ambient lighting makes cars look like cheap nightclubs, so i’m more than happy that the lx does without. i prefer extra headroom to moonroofs. the only bit i’ll miss in my basic lx is the leather-wrapped steering wheel. every time i touch the plastic steering wheel rim i’ll be reminded of my cheap ways.
to help inattentive drivers, even the most basic hr-v comes with forward-collision warning, collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance. i don’t particularly want any of those things, but the hr-v comes very well equipped should you be prone to zoning out when you’re driving. since i know how to adjust my mirrors to avoid blind spots, i won’t miss the sport and ex-l’s blind-spot monitoring system.
no matter the trim level, every new hr-v gets the same 158-hp 2.0-liter four and cvt automatic. in the interest of being able to accelerate from a stop without any wheelspin, my sole factory extra will be all-wheel drive for $1500. all-wheel drive might help resale value too, maybe. probably.
all hr-vs have identical led headlights, the same four-wheel disc brakes, and even the suspension setup is identical from the base lx to the top-dog ex-l. clearly, the best value is in the base version. too bad there aren’t more colors available. the lx offers two whites, black, gray, and a very light green called nordic forest pearl for $395 to bring the total to $26,790. i’m willing to pay to put a little color in my life and maybe for someone to wrap the steering wheel in leather. —tony quiroga
i’d be ecstatic if the new hr-v ended up being as fun to drive as the 11th-generation civic it shares a platform with, but until we’ve driven one, we can’t say for certain. admittedly, the use of the civic’s base 158-hp powertrain and a cvt doesn’t give us much hope, but where other equipment is concerned, the hr-v sport is like a civic with extra real estate. at least on paper. the hr-v sport starts at $26,895 (just $250 more than the similarly equipped civic ex) and comes standard with black 18-inch wheels, remote start, and heated front seats. i don’t think all-wheel drive is necessary here. for the $1500 it costs to add all-wheel drive, i’d put that cash toward a set of bridgestone blizzak ws90 winter tires that would be more effective where traction is needed. front-wheel-drive hr-vs get an epa-estimated 32 mpg on the highway, which is a 2-mpg advantage over the all-wheel-drive model, but far from the efficiency of a civic hatchback or sedan with the same engine and transmission. the hr-v sport is only available with black wheels, which go really well with the nordic forest pearl paint ($395). why choose a black cloth interior? simple, it’s the only choice. unlike both the cheaper lx and top-trim ex-l, the sport comes with a chrome exhaust tip, giving it some much-needed zest to an otherwise very normal and polite-looking subcompact crossover. for $27,480, my hr-v is a less efficient yet more practical civic. —austin irwin
the hr-v’s exterior design doesn’t exactly appeal to me with its dowdy, overbite front fascia, so the only way to make the hr-v palatable was to throw all of the options at it. i started with the top ex-l trim at $27,450, which includes goodies like an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, nine-inch touchscreen, leather-trimmed seats, wireless apple carplay, and an eight-speaker sound system. i spent $1500 for all-wheel drive and $358 for the all-season protection package ii, necessities for the harsh michigan winters.
i then went for the most outdoorsy look possible, choosing the nordic forest pearl paint ($395) and the 17-inch hpd bronze wheels ($1400). i then added the $1402 hpd package, which includes silver trim around the base of the car, hpd badges, and a decal on the rear fender. i also specced the rugged package for extra “ruggedness,” spending $1100 for chunky fender flares, door trim, and a grille surround trim piece. i blacked out the badges for $105, and spent $395 on a roof rack and $264 on a kayak attachment for the weekend adventures that i’ll probably be too lazy to take. at least i’ll look like i have an “active lifestyle.” after destination and handling, my hr-v came out to a total of $35,614. —caleb miller