Back in the ‘90s, SUVs started getting smaller and became less truck-y, more car-y—think Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape—and we car types came up with a new term for them: “cute utes.” Since then, the aforementioned trucklets experienced some, uh, middle-age spread, leaving room for a new breed of cute utes to emerge—let’s call them “pocket utes”—and these include the Nissan Juke, the just-released Jeep Renegade, and this car: the 2016 Honda HR-V.
Pocket-utes remain relatively undiscovered at the moment, but the HR-V will change all that, not only because pretty much every model Honda makes becomes an instant best-seller on account of their reputation for staying together longer than a lesbian marriage, but also because great small cars are Honda’s core competency.
So will this new Honda deserve instant best-seller status, if that indeed is what it achieves? Actually, yes. While it’s certainly small, inside and out, the HR-V gives you that high seating position that crossover buyers love, and also slots right into tiny parking spots once reserved for unsexy hatchbacks. The interior fit and finish is worlds better than the Honda Fit hatchback with which the car shares much of its mechanical bits, and a surprising amount of stuff fits inside, thanks to its exceedingly flexible interior. Indeed, if the HR-V had a Grindr profile, it would definitely be “Vers.”
What’s more, like some pocket gays I know, the HR-V is quite fun to play with despite not having much muscle. And also like one or two of my bantam-weight friends (but not all of ‘em), the HR-V is eminently frugal; after all, one of the chief reasons people downsize to cute utes and pocket utes is for their high fuel economy, and the HR-V is very well-endowed in that department. Even better, the steering is lively and body motions are tidy; in cars as with people, being small often means being nimble.
The HR-V is on sale now, with prices starting at just under $20K rising into the mid-$26K range for a loaded model. And as a Honda, being low-maintenance is a given. Which is more than I can say for my friends, regardless of stature.
2016 Honda HR-V
Base Price: $19,995
Power: 1.8-liter 4-cylinder (141 hp, 127 lb-ft of torque)
Transmission: 6-speed manual or continuously variable automatic
Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 25/32 (manual); 28/35 (automatic)
Or you could buy: