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Both considered to be practical and relatively durable SUVs, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and 2021 Honda HR-V are likely to be of interest to many potential shoppers looking for roomy and reliable vehicles. These two-row SUVs aren't too large, so they're easy to maneuver around town and can be great for regular commutes. On the weekends, or whenever people have more adventurous plans in mind, they can be loaded up with passengers and/or cargo.
Subaru and Honda are known for their focus on building affordable models that are comfortable and modern. The Crosstrek and HR-V have excellent value, and they'd make perfect sense for many drivers. This detailed comparison should highlight how they differ so that people can make strategic purchasing decisions.
Under the hood of the Subaru Crosstrek, there could be a few different powertrains. The first two trims use 2.0-liter engines that can deliver 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The two higher trims use larger engines that have displacements of 2.5 liters. With this greater size, they have 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.
There's also a Crosstrek hybrid. It has a net horsepower of 148, thanks to an electric motor and 2.0-liter engine. Subaru made limited quantities of this trim, so it may be hard to find in certain regions.
In contrast, the Honda HR-V only has one available engine. It's a relatively small component with a displacement of 1.8 liters. It gives the SUV 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque.
Just looking at these performance numbers alone, the Crosstrek has the definite advantage. Another thing that may make the Crosstrek intriguing is that the first two trims can come with six-speed manual transmissions if anyone isn't interested in driving an automatic. It can be hard to find vehicles with manual transmissions these days, so this is certainly a point of interest. The other available transmission is a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
In the Honda, there's a continuously variable transmission. It has Sport Mode in case people want to have some more excitement behind the wheel. Most trims have paddle shifters to give drivers more control whenever they want to have a bit of fun.
One of the things that the Crosstrek is known for is its standard all-wheel drive. The Honda HR-V can come with all-wheel drive, but this would require an additional cost. Its default drivetrain is a front-wheel system.
On top of all-wheel drive, the Subaru has something called X-Mode. X-Mode enhances all-wheel-drive abilities, so it's ideal use would be in difficult conditions. The Crosstrek also has an available Hill Descent Control program, which can limit the vehicle's speed when going down steep hills. The Honda HR-V doesn't have that feature, but it does have Hill Start Assist. This can prevent the SUV from rolling backwards when stopped on a hill; it can hold pressure on the brakes when the driver moves from the brake to the gas pedal.
In terms of fuel economy, the Subaru and Honda are evenly matched. Crosstreks with automatic transmissions can earn 33 or 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 or 28 miles per gallon in the city, depending on the type of engine they have. With a manual transmission, the Subaru earns an estimated 29/22 (highway/city) miles per gallon. Then there's the hybrid, which can achieve an estimated 90 MPGe when factoring in the electric component.
A 2WD Honda HR-V has an estimated fuel efficiency of 34/28 (highway/city) miles per gallon. The 4WD HR-V isn't far behind, earning up to 31/27 (highway/city) miles per gallon. The Honda has an Eco Assist system that can be engaged if anyone wants to maximize efficiency. It may come at the expense of quick acceleration, but there could be many times in which it's suited for the situation.
Some people may prefer the more compact size of the Honda HR-V than that of the Subaru Crosstrek, while others may be the opposite. The Crosstrek has an overall length of 176.5 inches, measures 71 inches from side to side, and is 63.6 inches tall. It may seem like it's bigger than it actually is because it sits 8.7 inches off the ground. The HR-V, in comparison, has an overall length of 170.4 inches. It's slightly shorter and narrower than the Crosstrek is, and it sits either 7.3 or 6.7 inches off the ground, depending on whether it's a 2WD or AWD version.
When comparing the cabin interiors, the two models are quite similar. They have basically the same amount of passenger volume, but the HR-V has more second-row leg room. It gives its second-row passengers 39.3 inches of space, while the Crosstrek only has 36.5 inches of space. The Crosstrek, though, does have more room in the front row.
The Crosstrek has just over 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats. When those seats are folded down, it has over 55 cubic feet of cargo capacity. In the HR-V, the rear cargo hold has a volume of about 24 cubic feet, and that can be increased to about 58 cubic feet when the second-row seats are lowered. So, while the Crosstrek has the larger exterior dimensions, it actually has less room in the back for passengers and cargo.
Another intriguing element is that the Honda HR-V has a second-row "Magic Seat." This is the name that Honda gave to the bench seat in some of its models. What makes this bench different from a traditional bench is that its seat (meaning the cushions where the people actually sit) can be lifted up to a vertical position against the seatback. This provides a space that's about four-feet tall for items that would do better standing up during transport.
These days, most people like to have the ability to stay in touch with others from the road. More and more models are coming out with advanced infotainment systems and many attractive high-tech features. The Subaru Crosstrek, for instance, starts out with a 6.5-inch touchscreen and can be enhanced with an eight-inch touchscreen. Regardless of size, the touchscreen has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth. Most trims also have SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Wi-Fi capability, and the top trims could have premium audio systems and navigation.
The Honda HR-V might disappoint some prospective customers because its entry-level trim only has Bluetooth and a five-inch LCD screen. Bluetooth allows people to stream audio and make hands-free phone calls, but it doesn't match up to what Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can do. Those two features are found in the higher trims of the Honda, which have seven-inch touchscreens and Pandora radio compatibility. The top two trims are further enhanced with SiriusXM and HD Radio.
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These two vehicles have many quality safety components, like rear-vision cameras, a full set of airbags, reliable anti-lock brakes, and systems that can enhance traction. Other things keeping people safe are driver-assist technologies. These systems can actually sense problems, and they can warn drivers and potentially take corrective measures. For instance, an SUV could sense when it's approaching another vehicle too quickly, send out an alert, and apply pressure to the brakes if necessary.
In the Crosstrek, pre-collision alert and braking, lane departure alert, and adaptive cruise control (which comes with lane centering abilities) are optional on the first two trims and standard on all of the rest. Standard on the higher trims are automatic high beams, automatic braking that can engage when the vehicle is in reverse, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
With the HR-V, this type of driver-assist technology is unfortunately not available in the lower trims. Only the top half of the four-trim lineup has these systems, which are part of the Honda Sensing suite. An additional feature that the HR-V has is Honda LaneWatch, which gives the driver access to a live camera feed of vehicles in his/her blind spot; it only works when the turn signal has been engaged. However, the HR-V doesn't have the rear automatic braking that the Crosstrek has.
Which Has the Best Value?
Pricing is always going to be an important factor when shopping for a new vehicle. The Subaru Crosstrek starts out at $22,245. When moving up in trim, the price jumps up anywhere from about $1,000 to $3,000. The highest non-hybrid trim of the Crosstrek is the Limited, which costs $27,995. The Crosstrek Hybrid costs $35,345, so people are definitely paying a lot for that hybrid powertrain and the benefit of long-term savings on fuel.
The Honda HR-V is cheaper than the Crosstrek. The base model is priced at only $21,220, and the EX-L trim costs $26,020. In the middle are the Sport ($23,170) and EX ($24,420). This price doesn't include what it would cost to get all-wheel drive, so if this drivetrain is put in place, the costs would be more comparable.
It's great that the base model of the Subaru Crosstrek has a 6.5-inch touchscreen and many available driver-assist systems. Entry-level trims of the the Crosstrek and HR-V have cloth seats and 17-inch wheels. However, the Crosstrek has an automatic climate control system while the HR-V has a manual one.
When moving to the Crosstrek Premium, some notable upgrades are heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and fog lights. The Sport has athletic exterior details and StarTex upholstery, along with keyless access. The Limited and Hybrid both come standard with the eight-inch touchscreens, leather seats, and LED fog lights.
Key upgrades that come with the HR-V's Sport trim are smartphone integration and a seven-inch touchscreen, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lights, and roof rails. The EX has the addition of an automatic climate control program, a power moonroof, Honda's smart entry system, and heated seats in the front row. With leather seats, the EX-L feels more refined than the others.
Which is Better?
These vehicles are quite similar in some ways, but they have a different feel to them. The Honda HR-V seems like more of a practical commuter that could handle the occasional adventure, as it has a spacious cabin and a very affordable price. It's actually a bit surprising that the HR-V has more storage room and a more flexible cabin than the Crosstrek, since its exterior measurements are smaller than than of the Subaru. If people are satisfied with the power output of the Honda's engine, it should prove to be a solid, dependable SUV.
The Subaru Crosstrek has the better safety package considering that every trim in its lineup can have driver-assist mechanisms. It also has the more advanced infotainment package. Out of these two models, only the Crosstrek has the option of getting a premium audio system and integrated navigation, and its base model has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Since so many people rely on their smartphones these days, this may be a deciding factor.
One other reason why some people might lean towards the Crosstrek is that it has a stronger engine than the Honda has. If people are planning mountainous treks or know that they're going to loading up their cabins with passengers or gear, then it might be the better bet.