Okay, let's address the elephant.---no, the large-mouth bass---in the room. Yes, the front end of the 2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L is unfortunate.
So, let's flip the script and our view of the car and address the elephant in the room. If you take a crossover SUV and reduce its height, what do you have? A station wagon. And that's true of most SUVs. They're station wagons. Some are based on trucks, but crossovers are based on cars and 40 years ago, the HR-V would have been what I'm going to call it right now---an all-wheel drive Honda Civic station wagon. And really, that's a pretty damn wonderful thing.
The 2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L is powered by the 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in the Civic LX and Civic Sport. It has a continuously variable transmission. Zero to 60 takes---wait for it---wait---wait---
Eleven and a half seconds. Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 25 miles per gallon city/30 highway. Neither of those are world-beater numbers, but put it in the context of a wagon for a small family that sees most of its service in school and grocery runs and has the bonus of AWD for bad weather and the picture gets better.
The picture improves further on the inside because---it's a Civic. Seats, dashboard, controls---all really top-notch stuff from the new Civic. Pricing is a strong spot, too---with a base price in top-level EX-L trim of $28,950 (the base LX model starts at $23,650 and the mid-level Sport is $25,650). Honda Sensing , Apple CarPlay, 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, a six-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system are all standard.
And Honda being Honda, that's it. Our tester was wearing Nordic Forest paint, an extra-cost option at $395. So with $1,245 destination and handling, the as-tested price of the 2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L is $30,590.
On paper and in practice, an AWD Civic wagon is a pretty great thing. If Honda wants to call it the HR-V, that's fine.