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The Honda HR-V is a subcompact crossover combining the interior space found in a traditional SUV with the maneuverability of a car. The Honda CR-V compact crossover is Honda’s bestselling nameplate. Both models feature sleek, sporty design, plenty of room for passengers, a long list of safety features, and Honda’s renowned reliability. But how do you know which SUV best fits your budget and your needs?  Below we outline the key features to help you choose between the Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V.

For information on what to compare for any two cars you can also check out our article on how to find the perfect car.

About the Honda HR-V

Introduced to the U.S. market in 2016, the Honda HR-V couples the utility of a subcompact SUV with the maneuverability and fuel efficiency of a small car. The Japanese automaker has sold more than 300,000 units stateside.

The four-door HR-V comfortably seats five people.  For the 2019 model year, Honda redesigned several exterior features. These include the headlights, taillights, bumpers, and the front grill for a sleeker look consistent with its other models. The automaker also added two trim levels for 2019: Sport and Touring. These provide buyers with a wider variety of features. You can read more the Honda HR-V under the Details & Specs tab on the Honda HR-V page at AutoGravity.

About the Honda CR-V

The CR-V is a stronghold in the compact SUV market with high safety ratings, ample interior and cargo room and reliable performance. It was the third most popular SUV sold in the U.S. in 2018, following the Toyota RAV4 and the Nissan Rogue. Honda has sold more than 4.5 million units since launching the nameplate in the U.S. two decades ago.  The CR-V is in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring.

To learn more about the Honda CR-V, check out our review on the Honda CR-V page at AutoGravity.

HR-V vs CR-V price comparison graph

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V: What has Better Interior, Space, and Comfort?

The Honda HR-V’s subcompact footprint renders its interior smaller than its CR-V sibling. But the HR-V features several amenities that increase versatility. The standard 60-40 split-folding rear seat accommodates cargo too large for the trunk. Honda’s Magic Seat flips up part of or the full second row to add space for groceries, luggage or other items.

The HR-V’s simple, well-appointed interior provides seating for five adults, but four may be more comfortable.  Cloth upholstery is standard in the HR-V. Buyers may upgrade to heated and power-adjustable front seats. Seats in either row may feel firm and cramped for taller passengers.

The subcompact SUV comes with two sets of LATCH attachments in the back. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates these as Acceptable.

The Honda CR-V’s larger footprint allows for a roomier cabin for passengers in both rows.  It comes with the same features found in the HR-V. These include a 60-40 split-folding rear seat, Magic Seat, and two sets of LATCH attachments. As in the HR-V, cloth upholstery is standard. Buyers can upgrade to leather upholstery and heated and power-adjustable front seats.

Both utility vehicles maximize passenger and cargo space relative to their small footprints. The larger Honda CR-V is the roomier and more comfortable choice, especially for taller adults or drivers transporting cargo.

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V:  What has Better Safety Equipment and Ratings?

Both the HR-V and CR-V are available with an impressive array of advanced driver assistance safety features but buyers will need to pay extra or choose a higher trim level. The trim you choose will determine the number of features available to you.

The 2019 Honda HR-V earned a Good rating in all crash tests, by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety  and a five-star rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2019 Honda CR-V also received a Good rating in all crash tests by the IIHS.  NHTSA gave the Honda CR-V a five-star rating for the model year 2018 but has yet not tested the 2019 model.

Both vehicles come standard with a rearview camera.

Higher trims come with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features. This includes Adaptive Cruise Control enables cruise control in traffic.  The system detects the location of the car in front to regulate speed and maintain a safe following distance.  Collision Mitigation Braking brakes the car if the system detects a potential collision. Lane Keeping Assist helps keep the vehicle in the center of its lane.

Road Departure Mitigation adjusts steering and braking if the driver crosses lanes without signaling. Traffic Sign Recognition notifies drivers of legal speed limits. Automatic High Beams engage low or high beams based on driving conditions.

Buyers may also add:

  • Blind Spot Monitoring alerts the driver to the presence of cars, pedestrians and bicyclists in the Accord’s blind spot.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert detects cars and pedestrians in the car’s path when in reverse.

The list of optional safety features for both the Honda HR-V and Honda CR-V is long. But competing models from Toyota and Mazda offer more advanced driver assistance technology in lower trims.

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V: What has Better Technology?

Both the HR-V and the larger CR-V come with a handful of dashboard technology features. Buyers will need to upgrade for amenities including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and touchscreen controls.

Standard equipment in the Honda HR-V and CR-V includes a 5-inch display screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a 4-speaker audio system. A 7-inch touchscreen, additional USB port, 6-speaker soundsystem, AppleCarPlay or Android Auto are all optional.

CR-V buyers may add three more USB ports, navigation, voice recognition, a six-, eight-, or nine-speaker audio system, satellite radio and HD Radio.

Overall, the Honda HR-V and Honda CR-V offer the same in-cabin amenities at the base level. The CR-V can be optioned with a number of additional features. Lower trims for both models come with significantly fewer options than rival nameplates from other manufacturers. If technology and connectivity is important to you, consider going with a higher trim.

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V: Which is Better to Drive?

The Honda HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers a paltry 141 horsepower. Honda retuned the subcompact crossover’s continuously variable automatic transmission for the 2019 model year. The previously standard six-speed manual transmission is no longer available.

The Honda CR-V runs on a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 184 horsepower. Buyers can upgrade to a more powerful turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 190 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

The CR-V provides a smoother and more powerful ride at every trim level. Both models handle well. The CR-V’s turbocharged engine lends a necessary boost for quick acceleration and highway merging.  The Honda HR-V has much less horsepower and takes longer to get up to speed.

Buyers can opt for Honda’s all-wheel drive system with intelligent control function to provide traction on slippery surfaces.

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V: Which Car is Priced Better?

The Honda HR-V starts at $20,520, $3,830 less than the Honda CR-V’s $24,350 base price. The gap widens across higher trims. The HR-V’s top-of-the-line Touring trim begins at $28,540, while the CR-V’s Touring trim starts at $32,740, a difference of $4,200.

The Honda HR-V’s mid-level trims begin at $22,220 for the Sport model. The EX and EX-L trims start at $23,720 and $25,320, respectively. The mid-level CR-V’s EX and EX-L trims begin at $27,250 and $29,750, respectively.

Both the HR-V and CR-V come with high reliability ratings. Both are covered by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

For budget-conscious buyers shopping on price alone, the Honda HR-V may seem like the better choice. However the Honda CR-V boasts a more powerful engine, a larger cabin, and more storage space, even at the base level.

The Honda HR-V versus the Honda CR-V: Which Should I Buy?

Shoppers hunting for affordable utility vehicles with more space than a car should consider the Honda HR-V and its larger sibling, the Honda CR-V. Both cars offer a small, sturdy footprint ideal for city driving, a variety of options and upgrades, and high reliability ratings.

Budget-minded shoppers may gravitate toward the Honda HR-V, which is less expensive trim-for-trim. But the Honda CR-V provides more space, technology and safety features for the dollar overall. Car shoppers should evaluate their individual needs and research trim levels and features before choosing the 2019 Honda HR-V versus the 2019 Honda CR-V.

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Honda HR-V vs. Honda CR-V: Which Car is Right For Me?
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Honda HR-V vs. Honda CR-V: Which Car is Right For Me?
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We pit the Honda HR-V vs the Honda CR-V, with a Pro comparing driving, tech, safety features, and pricing to clarify which is right for you.
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AutoGravity
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Jaclyn Trop is an award-winning journalist and automotive reporter, deciphering the world of sheet metal for the masses. She covers all aspects of the car industry, from financing to future product. She was awarded a Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business and economics reporting from Columbia University, where she also earned a master’s degree in journalism. Her byline has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Fortune, Vogue, Glamour, Newsweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, Robb Report, Town & Country, U.S. News & World Report, and Refinery 29 among others.

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