10. Honda HR-V: Small Outside, Big Inside, Economical Everywhere
Base-price range: $19,995-$26,720
EPA fuel-economy rating: 28/34/28 mpg city/highway/combined 2wd, 27/32/29 awd
Honda launches a new nameplate for 2016 with yet another entry in the expanding subcompact-crossover category. Slotted in size and price below the automaker’s popular CR-V compact crossover, the HR-V stands out in its class for an interior that’s uncommonly roomy and unexpectedly fashionable. It rides and handles with typical Honda grace. And the brand’s reputation for dependability and residual value are additional selling points. All three models — entry-level LX, better equipped EX, and top-line EX-L — are available with front- or all-wheel drive.
All use a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that tempers outstanding fuel efficiency with ho-hum performance. Its 141 horsepower and 121 pound-feet of torque are near bottom the competitive set. You can get a front-drive LX with manual transmission, but all other versions come with a continuously variable transmission in lieu of a conventional automatic. It saps some engine verve, but here, acceleration takes a back seat to versatility – literally. The HR-V is based on Honda’s subcompact Fit
and share its “Magic Seat” rear bench that reclines, flips for a car-wide cargo channel, folds for floor-level cargo carrying, even configures to a sleeping space. Cargo volume is class-leading, at 23.2 cubic feet behind the rear seat, 57.6 with it folded. Every HR-V comes with a backup camera, 17-inch alloy wheels and a tilt/telescope steering wheel with controls for the standard Bluetooth and cruise control. You can link the EX with your smartphone to display map apps. The EX-L has integrated navigation.