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Test Drive: Just the Right Size

honda hr-v

The trend in personal transportation in recent years might be summed up as “smaller is better.” Take the
Honda HR-V, for example. The second generation of this subcompact crossover exists for people looking for the practicality of a CR-V at a more affordable price.

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out an adequate 158 horsepower, with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. This powertrain delivered good fuel economy and passable performance.

Now built on the same underpinnings as the Civic, this new HR-V actually bucks the downsizing trend by growing about 9 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the original. That translates to decent room for four passengers or 55 cubic-feet of cargo.

The cabin features nicer styling and better materials than the model it replaces. The low seat height relative to other crossovers adds to the car-like feel.

Figure in a smooth ride and the Honda HR-V becomes a good choice for buyers looking for utility in a reasonably priced package.

Starting Price: $23,800

MPGe (city/highway): 25 city / 30 highway

Safety: N/A

volvo xc40

To see what sets the Volvo XC40 Recharge apart from other compact crossovers, you need only raise the hood. You won’t find the four-cylinder gasoline engine that powers other versions of the XC40. In its place is a handy “frunk” (front trunk) that makes room for all those things you couldn’t fi t into the regular cargo hold. Elsewhere, the cabin has decent room for four adults.

Given that this is a luxury model, it came as no surprise that our test car was kitted out with the latest technology, including adaptive LED headlights; a lane centering feature also takes the fatigue out of long trips.

Powering this all-wheel-drive green machine are battery packs sandwiched under the floorboards. Given that most people rarely travel more than 100 miles a day, its 250-mile range on a full charge should be enough to get you through your daily commute. This powertrain also produces the sports car-like acceleration of battery-powered models and still manages to tow a useful 2,200 pounds.

In short, the XC40 Recharge is likely to surprise you.

Starting Price: $53,550

MPGe (city/highway): 92 city / 79 highway

Safety: N/A

Visit AAA’s Electric Vehicle platform for more information on these cars of the future.

Looking for a new ride? Check out more car reviews at AAA.com/TestDrive.


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One Thought on “Test Drive: Just the Right Size

  1. Your article states that the Honda HR-V is a sub-compact crossover SUV that gets good gas mileage. At 30 MPG, I could get better fuel efficiency with a Honda CR-V or a Subaru Forester. Sure they cost more, but those two have more cargo space and more power. Even my old Toyota Corolla wagon (way back in ’91) had 64.5 cubic feet of cargo space vs 55 cubic feet for the HR-V. 30 MPG highway doesn’t cut it anymore and gas prices are only going to go up.

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