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2020 Subaru Crosstrek vs Honda HR-V

2020 Subaru Crosstrek vs Honda HR-V

2020 Crosstrek vs HR-V - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek and 2020 Honda HR-V are two vehicles that will appeal to a large audience. They have good versatility and capable engines, and they have the amount of interior space that many customers are looking for.

There are four trims of the Subaru Crosstrek. There's the base model, the Premium trim, the Limited trim, and the Crosstrek Hybrid, which has limited availability. With the Honda HR-V, there are a few more choices to consider. The HR-V's base model is called the LX, and it's followed by the Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring trims. This guide will give potential customers a better sense of how the Crosstrek and HR-V stand out from the competition and how they compare to each other.

The Powertrain

Examining what's under the hoods of the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V is a good way to start the comparison process. Some casual drivers may only be concerned about whether these vehicles will be reliable, and the good news is that they certainly will be. Many others, though, will want to know the specifics about the powertrains in each vehicle, and by doing so, some differences can be highlighted.

The Subaru Crosstrek runs on 2.0-liter engine with four cylinders and a direct-injection system. This engine can output 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, and it comes with a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. The hybrid version of the Crosstrek uses the same 2.0-liter engine, with the addition of an electric motor, and together they yield 148 horsepower. The Hybrid is rated with a towing capacity of 1,000 pounds.

In contrast, the Honda HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine with 141 horsepower, 127 pound-feet of torque, and a multi-point fuel injection system. The HR-V uses a continuously variable transmission that smooths out the ride. While the differences in horsepower aren't that significant, it could be enough to cause some people to favor the Crosstrek over the HR-V.

In the efficiency department, both SUVs do fairly well. Front-wheel-drive HR-Vs can achieve an estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. All-wheel-drive versions can get up to 27/31 (city/highway) miles per gallon.

With the Subaru, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, the engine can get up to 27/33 (city/highway) miles per gallon. If a manual transmission is selected instead of the Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), the numbers drop to 29/22 (city/highway) miles per gallon. Manual transmission is standard on the base model and Premium trim, though drivers have the option to get the Lineartronic CVT. The hybrid, as expected, performs great in this area, earning up to 90 MPGe and a combined 35 miles per gallon.

Both the Subaru and the Honda come with an option to turn up the excitement level when driving. On the Honda, the transmission comes with a Sport Mode, and this makes the engine respond a little more aggressively. Four out of the five HR-V trims have paddle shifters that drivers can use to mimic the feeling of getting behind the wheel of a manual car. Subaru has developed a similar system called Subaru Intelligent Drive, and it lets people choose between an Intelligent Mode and a Sport Mode. Subaru Intelligent Drive, which is nicknamed SI-Drive, is available on the first two trims and standard on the higher two trims.

Before moving on to the other aspects of owning a Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V, the all-wheel-drive systems have to be discussed in further detail. As mentioned, the Crosstrek comes standard with an AWD system. Subaru uses a symmetrical AWD drivetrain that has been designed to improve balance and enhance control. It's a standard part of every Crosstrek and is a major reason why Subarus are so popular in areas in which having extra traction is a must in the wintry months.

With the HR-V, AWD comes at an additional cost, except on the Touring, on which it's a standard component. Honda uses a Real Time AWD system with intelligent control, and like the Subaru's AWD drivetrain, it responds instantly to the need for more traction.

The Honda has Hill Start Assist, which keeps pressure on the brakes when a driver has to switch his/her foot from the brakes to the gas pedal to prevent the vehicle from rolling backward. The Subaru has Hill Descent Control to help maintain a constant speed while traveling downhill. It also has X-MODE as an available feature to further optimize the engine output and the AWD mechanisms. It can be thought of as an extra-rugged AWD system.


These two vehicles will definitely please those who prefer driving more compact models. In general, their smaller size makes them easier to park and maneuver. At the same time, they do have some height to them, and this is one of the reasons why so many people like SUVs. This height also makes their cabins feel more open.

The wheelbase of the Crosstrek is 104.9 inches, and this is about two inches longer than the wheelbase of the HR-V. The overall length of the Crosstrek is 175.8 inches, whereas the HR-V measures a touch over 170 inches from end to end. These differences are fairly minor, but there's one way in which the difference between the two models is more noticeable. Ground clearance in the Subaru is 8.7 inches, and in the HR-V, it's 7.3 inches on 2WD models and 6.7 inches on AWD models. This may be meaningful to some potential customers, such as those who prefer being lower to the ground so it's easier to enter and exit the cabin or those who need the higher ground clearance when they're going off-roading.

If people are planning on going off the beaten path, the Subaru might make more sense. It has a strut-type front suspension with a stabilizer bar, and in the back, it uses a double-wishbone system that's intended to handle some more rugged terrain. A MacPherson strut front suspension is found in the HR-V. In the rear of the Honda, there is a torsion-beam rear suspension on 2WD trims and a DeDion rear suspension on AWD trims. Any of these suspensions would do fine on regular pavement, so there's no need to be concerned if someone is only driving on smooth asphalt and the occasional gravel or dirt road.

Of course, what's inside the cabin matters as much as what's on the outside. In terms of interior dimensions, the Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V have nearly the same amount of headroom. The Crosstrek has slightly more front-row leg room than the HR-V, but it has 36.5 inches of rear-seat leg room compared with the 39.3 inches of leg room in the HR-V. In fact, this is an area in which the HR-V does well, so drivers who will be frequently carrying adults in the back will be pleased with this aspect.

Behind the rear seats in each vehicle is a dedicated cargo area that's pretty spacious. In the Subaru, cargo volume with the rear seats up is 20.8 cubic feet, and that gets expanded to 55.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down. The HR-V has a cargo volume of 24.3 cubic feet or 58.8 cubic feet, depending on whether those rear seats are up or down. (All-wheel-drive HR-Vs have a cargo capacity of 23.2/57.6 cubic feet due to their slightly different design.)

Whether it's one person riding in the car or five, having a modern infotainment system can enhance the overall experience. All of the Crosstrek models have at least a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. At the Premium level, SiriusXM technology and a CD player are incorporated into the system. The Limited and Hybrid trims have eight-inch touchscreens and the addition of HD Radio. With these two trims, there's the option to get integrated navigation with voice-activated controls. While the base model has four speakers, the others have six, and the Limited and Hybrid trims have an available Harmon Kardon eight-speaker system.

What's immediately apparent about the HR-V LX is that it only has a five-inch color LCD screen rather than the seven-inch color touchscreen that all the other Honda trims have. The LX does have Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and streaming audio, and it has four speakers. The Sport has a more powerful four-speaker sound system, and more importantly, it comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora compatibility, and SMS text messaging. SiriusXM and HD Radio are included at the EX level, along with a six-speaker audio system. At the top of the line-up, the Touring has navigation with voice recognition.

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Honda and Subaru are two companies known for their commitment to safety. Their vehicles are built with many passive and active safety components that can protect passengers in case of an impact and can reduce the chances of accidents occurring. If anyone is expecting the HR-V and Crosstrek to come fully equipped with advanced components in this department, the news is mixed.

The HR-V and Crosstrek are both competitively priced, especially in comparison to other Honda and Subaru vehicles. As such, not all of their trims have such a comprehensive array of driver-assist technologies that some people may be looking for. Fortunately, those feature are found in the higher trims, so customers in search of these copmonents will just have to pay a bit more.

Subaru has incorporated EyeSight Driver Assist Technology into the Crosstrek. This package is standard on the Limited and Hybrid, and it's available on the base model and Premium. EyeSight Driver Assist Technology comes with adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking to prevent frontal collisions, lane departure and sway warning, and lane-keep assist. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert can be very useful, and these are standard in the top two trims and available in the Premium. Automatic high beams and reverse automatic braking are only found in the Limited and Hybrid.

The story is similar with the Honda HR-V. The LX and Sport, unfortunately, do not have any available driver-assist features. The EX, EX-L, and Touring all have the same package, which consists of collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cure control, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning. These basically do the same things as the systems in the Subaru; they can work to prevent drivers from rear-ending other vehicles, and they can keep vehicles safely centered in a lane.

Automatic high beams and a blind-spot monitoring system called Honda LaneWatch are also found in the three higher trims of the HR-V. Honda LaneWatch can actually display a video feed of vehicles in the right-side blind spot rather than just showing an indicator light when another vehicle's presence is detected.

The other safety systems are quite similar in both SUVs. They have an array of air bags that have been strategically paced around the cabin to protect front-seat and rear-seat passengers, they have anti-lock brakes to keep the vehicles from skidding, and they have Brake Assist, which maximizes brake pressure if an emergency situation is detected.

Which Has the Best Value?

Out of these two SUVs, the Honda HR-V is the more affordable one. The LX starts at $20,820, which makes it attractive to people on limited budgets. The Sport, EX, and EX-L all come with minor price jumps, and the Touring is priced at $28,890. Many consumers who have a bit more money to spend will probably want to consider the top four trims since they have smartphone connectivity and a touchscreen. Those who want driver-assist systems, a moonroof, and heated front seats should check out the top three trims.

With the base model priced at $22,145 and the Premium offered for $23,195, the lower trims of the Crosstrek are the same range as the mid-level models of the HR-V. The Limited trim is where leather seats, as well as the EyeSight Driver Assist package, become standard. This model is priced at $27,395. The Hybrid is at an entirely different level, being offered for $35,145. Anyone who has a taste for luxury will want to go with the Limited or Hybrid, which are good matches for the Touring trim of the HR-V.

Which is Better?

In many areas, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek and Honda HR-V stand out. They have comfortable cabins with plenty of space for passengers and cargo, advanced safety components, and modern infotainment systems, though not every trim is as fully equipped as the others.

These vehicles don't have the power that many larger SUVs display, but this comes with the territory in the compact SUV/crossover industry. For their size, they handle nicely. This is especially true if all-wheel drive is selected, and remember that this is a standard component on the Subaru Crosstrek.

With some more rugged stylings, a higher ground clearance, and a relatively more powerful engine, the Subaru Crosstrek will be better suited for adventurers. The Honda HR-V also has a lot going for it, and it may be the more practical choice for customers who prefer more traditional elements.

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