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2019 Honda HR-V vs CR-V

2019 Honda HR-V vs CR-V - Comparison.
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2019 HR-V vs CR-V - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

Trying to find the right SUV is a lot easier said than done in today's saturated market. SUVs of all sizes are dominating sales floors, and this is certainly true for Honda. Just visit any Honda dealership, and you will see the 2019 Honda HR-V and 2019 CR-V side-by-side, in direct competition with one another. Think of it as a sibling rivalry.

Picking between these two top-notch vehicles will not be easy. They both offer a lot in the way of comfort and technology. Ultimately, buyers will have to decide whether they want a smaller subcompact SUV (like the HR-V) or the bigger CR-V. There are also price differences that might factor into a buyer's final decision.

The Powertrain

How much power a vehicle has can be a big factor in what people purchase. Finding something with the right balance of power distribution and fuel efficiency is key. And that is where Honda gets a lot of things right.

The 2019 Honda HR-V has a standard 1.8-L 4-cylinder engine, which is able to muster up 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. It gets paired up with a continuously variable transmission (CVT for short) and has front-wheel drive on all trim levels save for the Touring, which has standard all-wheel drive. All of the lower trim levels do have all-wheel drive available as an option.

The HR-V's engine is far from being the most powerful thing ever created, but it gets the job done. It does take the HR-V 10.4 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, which is fairly slow. Of course, this segment is known more for practicality than it is for speed. Still, this is one of the slower times in the segment. This does, however, get balanced out by the fuel efficiency, since the vehicle gets up to 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

The 2019 CR-V gives drivers a few more engine options and a good deal more power. The base LX trim is powered by a 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine, which gets 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It too comes with a CVT and front-wheel drive. The next trim level up, the EX, gets a turbocharged 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine, boosting its power output to 190 hp while dropping it down a notch in torque to 179. It is the better of the two engine options and is likely to be the one most drivers will go for.

The turbo engine puts in a solid performance, as it can get the CR-V from 0 to 60 mph in just about 7.5 seconds. Getting up to speed on the highway is a total cinch with this small displacement engine. The amount of low-end punch given by the 1.5-L is definitely worth the cost to upgrade. Not to mention, the EX and above come with way more standard options than the base LX trim.


That being said, there are a lot of things that factor into what makes or breaks a vehicle's drivability. Is it comfortable? Are the controls laid out in a logical manner? Do the infotainment features work as they are supposed to? How much cargo space is available? Drivers want to know these things, and it could make the difference between whether they buy the HR-V or the CR-V.

Starting with the 2019 HR-V, there are a lot of good aspects to its driving performance that make the lack of power less of an issue. The brakes feel nice and firm, and the vehicle can make a panic stop from 60 mph in roughly 121 feet, which is good for a subcompact SUV. The steering gives a lot of feedback, which is hard to find in this class; it is also weighted appropriately. Handling is just as good. Mid-corner bumps are quickly dealt with, and there is no body roll to speak of.

The seats are comfy and well-bolstered, but they are set high, which could be problematic for taller people. The tires do a good job of absorbing road imperfections, thereby making the ride quality quite pleasant. A significant amount of road and wind noise makes its way into the cabin though, especially when the vehicle is zipping along on the highway. It can be rather distracting and makes it hard to hear what rear seat passengers are saying to those up front.

For the most part, the HR-V's controls are easy to use. However, the touchscreen has some quirks. The audio adjuster does not work as intuitively as it should, and what should be simple procedures become too complex and, therefore, distract drivers from the road ahead of them. Getting in and out is easy for all but the extremely tall rear seat passengers who will have to duck down a little bit. Drivers can easily find a good position within the cockpit since the seat is highly adjustable. Space comes aplenty for those up front and in the rear, so there is no need to worry about who will sit where.

Visibility on the HR-V is actually quite excellent. The windows and windshields are all massive, and the roof pillars are slender all around the vehicle. Also, the dashboard sits low, which gives shorter drivers more room to see. The EX trim and all those above it come with standard blind-spot monitoring, which is a huge assist when it comes to seeing the vehicle's few blind spots.

Quality is mostly good too, but there are a few plastic parts that take away from the vehicle's otherwise refined feel. Overall, the design is smart and contemporary enough for buyers to really feel like they are driving a brand-new vehicle.

Cargo space is a selling point for the HR-V. It has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats upright, but when the rear seats are folded down, this number maxes out at 55.9 cubic feet. The Magic Seat folding system is truly superb, helping the seats fold flat with ease.

Technology on the HR-V is a mixed bag. The sound quality is quite good, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes apps easy to use. Voice recognition is faulty since it struggles with understanding natural speech patterns. Smartphones come in handy again here since it is easy to just hold down the voice button for a few seconds to use the phone's built-in assistant.

The 2019 CR-V has a lot of the same features and design elements, but there are also some pretty notable differences. The drive performance is better than that of the HR-V. The brakes are firm and predictable, and handling is completely smooth sailing. All degrees of bumps get sorted out quickly. The steering is best-in-class, as the wheel immediately returns to its natural position, and there is plenty of feedback coming from the system. Even the CVT makes effortless transitions between gears, coming to stops and accelerating from them without a problem.

The CR-V's ride is quiet and compliant. Seats are cozy with 8-way power adjustable functions on the EX and above, as well as 4-way power adjustable lumbar support. Some tire and wind noise will find its way in at higher speeds, but it is less intrusive than what comes into the HR-V's cabin.

The CR-V's controls are laid out similarly to the HR-V's and therefore have some of its pitfalls. The voice control button is way too touchy, and simply grazing it will cause it to go haywire. Getting in and out is easy though, as there is a lot of clearance from the wide door frames and doors which open out wide. Finding a good driving position is also easy, and the armrests sit at the same height. Oh, and the rear seats are some of the biggest that can be found in this class.

Visibility is also excellent on the CR-V, and there are relatively few blind spots. Blind spot monitoring is, of course, standard on all but the base trim. Also, the quality of the materials in the CR-V look slightly more expensive than those in the HR-V.

There are plenty of well-designed small item storage areas in the CR-V, which there are not in the HR-V. The CR-V also has 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats up, which is one of the biggest sizes in this class. Fold the rear seats down to get 75.8 cubes. The height-adjustable cargo floor makes fitting items into the cargo area even easier.

Technology on the CR-V is basically the same as what comes on the HR-V, meaning that some of it works great while other elements (like voice recognition) still need some work. Again, it is a better idea to utilize smartphone app integration.

Overall, the clear winner in terms of drivability is the CR-V, which offers even more space and a much better engine option.

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


Safety is essential for buyers looking at any new vehicle, and Honda is known for throwing a ton of safety features into its vehicles. The HR-V and CR-V essentially have most of the same safety features, including a huge list of standard driver aids. Driver aids on both vehicles include a collision mitigation system, blind-spot monitoring, and Honda Sensing (a bundle on all but the base trims that comes with features like lane departure mitigation).

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (otherwise known as NHTSA) has not yet fully rated the 2019 Honda CR-V, but it did assign this vehicle 4/5 stars on the Rollover test, noting that there was a 16.3% risk of a rollover. It gave the 2019 Honda HR-V 5/5 stars overall, with one point getting docked on each of these tests: Front Barrier Crash Overall, Front Barrier Crash Driver, Front Barrier Crash Passenger, and Rollover. They did note a 15.3% risk of a rollover. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the CR-V all 'Good' ratings on the tests it conducted.

Which Has the Best Value?

Price does make a difference here. The HR-V is priced below the CR-V, with a starting MSRP of $20,620 and a cap-off price at $28,640. The CR-V, on the other hand, starts at about $24,450 and ends at around $34,250. Those looking to stick to a strict budget might think about getting the HR-V, but when it comes to the least-expensive base trims, they are worth skipping over on both vehicles.

Which is Better?

When it comes to the HR-V and CR-V, the champ here is the CR-V. The HR-V might initially be more attractive based on its lower price tag. In the long-run, the CR-V is the better purchase and gives the best deal. The engine that comes on the EX and above is much more powerful than the HR-V's standard 1.8-L, and the CR-V still gets a good fuel economy, which Honda fans will appreciate.

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