The Gateway Of Honda Dreams

There’s a difference, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, between the 2023 Honda HR-V and, for example, Acura’s NSX Type S when it comes to driving dynamics. One’s meant for the everyday, of course, plus some trips into the great outdoors. The other is also meant for the everyday while also turning up the heat on the track. Honda’s performance DNA is everywhere, however, from the NSX and Integra of yesteryear, to its successes on the track in IndyCar and IMSA. It’s not unfair to hope that some of that DNA finds its way to Honda’s subcompact crossover, then.

Helping the cause is a new independent multi-link rear and equally new MacPherson strut system, the latter mounted on a lightweight aluminum subframe whose efficient truss-and-rib structure buffs up body rigidity and stability. Combined with more responsive steering and improved braking, the 2023 HR-V drives like a dream.

Along the way up the mountain and back, the HR-V handled the damp and wet roads with no trouble, floating through the curves near the top of the route. Meanwhile, it can cruise along straight roads and accelerate past traffic as if it were a Civic Si, though the CVT doesn’t sound too happy about the acceleration. Then again, most CVTs sound angry when the loud pedal is pushed.

I appreciated how low the HR-V rides, too, bringing me down from the clouds other crossovers and SUVs occupy. Overall, it’s akin to the experience behind the wheel of a Civic or an Accord, which means a lot in this gateway to Honda ownership.

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