The 2020 Honda HR-V skips the lumbering part of the SUV equation. It’s a perky, pert little crossover with available all-wheel drive and a rear seat that flips and folds to please owners like a Pomski begging for treats.

It’s not the most efficient Honda, and low-cost models skip critical safety gear. As such, we give it a TCC Rating of 5.2 out of 10, a bit above average.

Carried over unchanged for 2020, the Honda HR-V stuffs a lot of personality into its 102.8-inch wheelbase. Its body riffs on hatchbacks and crossovers with sweeping strakes that run from the nose to the rear roof pillars. It’s a lot—maybe a bit too much at the front end and on the tailgate, where less probably would be more. The cabin has the tone right, and wears tough-looking clothes that clearly are meant to last, not to shimmer.

Review continues below

All HR-Vs tap a 1.8-liter inline-4 for 141 horsepower, channel it through a continuously variable transmission, and send the result to the front or to all four wheels. Acceleration is leisurely, and somewhat strained in uphill grades with more than a passenger aboard. The HR-V does better in point-and-squirt city mazes, apropos to its vague Pac-Man shape, and it rides very well for a car of its size despite too-big 18-inch wheels on some versions. Gas mileage, at up to 30 mpg combined, isn’t stellar, but it’s good, and all-wheel drive doesn’t hurt it too much. 

The HR-V revels in space, as odd as that may sound. Front passengers fit fine, and so do those in the rear. With only one or two aboard, the HR-V manages a nifty party trick: Its rear seat bottoms flip up for tall cargo space behind the front passengers, and its rear seatbacks can fold down for a bin big enough to sleep in, up to 58.8 cubic feet on some versions.

Only HR-V EX crossovers and more expensive versions get automatic emergency braking, which draws our side-eye glare, and only the Sport and above have a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. For the best safety ratings, the LED headlights on the $30,000 or more Touring HR-V are required; at that price, you’re better off in the bigger, more miserly CR-V LX.

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