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2023 Honda HR-V Review: Missing the Magic – Cars.com


One HR-V hallmark is its surprising ability to fit a lot within its small footprint, and that’s still true for 2023 — with some caveats. Sadly, the previous version’s Magic Seat has done a final disappearing act. Because the HR-V moved to the Civic’s platform, the Magic Seat — a backseat with a variety of flexible modes for carrying passengers and different types of cargo — didn’t carry over to the new model. In previous tests, I found it a useful feature that added spice to the HR-V in a crowded class of bland counterparts.

Another surprise: The HR-V grew by 9.4 inches in length and 2.6 inches in width with its 2023 redesign, though the stretch somehow doesn’t translate to tangible gains in passenger and cargo space; in some places, it actually results in a loss of space. For example, Honda says the 2022 version has 39.3 inches of rear legroom, but the 2023 model has just 37.7 inches. When it comes to rear headroom, the 2022 version had 38.3 inches of space, but the 2023 has just 38.0 inches.

Like the outgoing model, however, backseat space is still good for a car this size; there’s adult-friendly headroom and legroom, and the SUV’s wider rear-seat area and redesigned seats make it a comfortable place to travel. The HR-V also scored well in our Car Seat Check thanks to easy-access Latch anchors, as well as ample space for two car seats.

By Cars.com’s measurements, the 2023 HR-V has 15.5 cubic feet of space behind the backseat. At one time, the HR-V was a class leader in cargo space, but others are catching up. One key competitor has even passed it: The Seltos has 16.3 cubic feet of space behind its backseat. (The Trailblazer has 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space and the Corolla Cross has 14.2 cubic feet.)

Some storage highlights include small underfloor bins for organizing small items in the cargo area, as well as a new pass-through area in the front center console that I really liked. It’s a great spot for USB ports, and there’s ample space to stash smaller items.

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Safety and Value

The new HR-V also improves on the outgoing model’s safety features. The Honda Sensing suite of active-safety features is now standard even on the base model, and several new features have been added, including a front wide-view camera, traffic jam assist and traffic sign recognition. Those join the HR-V’s existing features, including forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane departure steering assist.

The 2023 HR-V comes in three trims: LX, Sport and EX-L (the EX model has been dropped). The base LX starts at $24,895, the Sport at $26,895 and the EX-L at $28,695; AWD adds $1,500 to each trim (all prices include a $1,245 destination charge). Prices are up $780-$2,080 over the 2022 HR-V, depending on trim. The HR-V’s price tag sits at the top of the subcompact food chain, coming in higher than base versions of the Trailblazer ($23,295), Seltos ($24,135) and Corolla Cross ($24,395).

On the whole, the 2023 HR-V is a mixed bag. While its added safety features, updated multimedia system and improved ride keep it competitive in this class, the new model is also a mash-up of missed opportunities when it comes to its powertrain and interior space.

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