2023 Honda HR-V vs. 2022 Subaru Crosstrek: Compare Crossovers

2023 Honda HR-V vs. 2022 Subaru Crosstrek: Compare Crossovers

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If you want a compact utility vehicle with rugged cues, a little more ride height, and an affordable price—yet with a profile that’s ultimately more carlike than trucklike—the Subaru Outback and Honda HR-V are two great contenders.

The Subaru Crosstrek arrived a decade ago, following the success of the Outback Sport. It delivered the same formula, with even more rugged cladding and an elevated ride height versus the related Impreza compact hatchback. Honda’s crossover SUVs keep growing in size, with the CR-V compact crossover growing larger in every generation. That’s left space below, for a grown-up 2023 Honda HR-V that’s now right-sized for small-family use, and about the size that the CR-V was prior to 2017.

Our ratings give the Honda HR-V an edge, and its TCC Rating of 6.4 out of 10 might widen once it’s been crash-tested and rated for safety. The Crosstrek trails it with a TCC Rating of 6.0 out of 10but these two models have distinct strengths and weaknesses that make one or the other the better choice depending on expectations.

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

The HR-V stands at virtually the same overall height as the Crosstrek, while it’s about four inches longer, and an inch wider—although the Crosstrek rides on a slightly longer wheelbase. While the Crosstrek aces the ground-clearance check at 8.7 inches, the HR-V has 7.3 inches of ground clearance in its Sport trim—0.3 more than in other versions—as well as matte black trim that doesn’t look like it would scratch as easily as what’s used in the rest of the lineup. The Crosstrek embodies Subaru-family styling—think lots of cladding and chunky hardware—while the HR-V has more of a modern hatchback profile, and looks more nuanced and finely detailed. Inside, the HR-V is a knockout, with a simple and uncluttered look that sits low, with a honeycomb-mesh beltline bisecting an infotainment screen and climate settings. Subaru’s utilitarian interior feels like a mishmash compared to that of the HR-V.

The outgoing HR-V was a subcompact crossover that aimed to fit your lifestyle better than your friends. This version follows more of a conventional layout to maximize passenger space. You’ll likely find the HR-V’s new front seats more comfortable, while in back the HR-V has enough head, knee, and leg room for six-footers to feel comfortable behind other six-footers—not something we can say of the Crosstrek. The HR-V has a little more cargo space with passengers in place—at 24.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 55.1 cubic feet with them flipped down, versus 20.8 and 55.3 cu ft in the Crosstrek.

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

2022 Subaru Crosstrek

In performance, there’s a clear winner, albeit with a big asterisk. The Crosstrek is powered by a 2.0-liter flat-4 engine making 152 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, or in Sport and Limited versions, a 2.5-liter flat-4 making 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. There’s a 6-speed manual available with the smaller engine—something the HR-V doesn’t offer at all. The HR-V is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 making 158 hp and 138 lb-ft. Both models have a CVT that plays “Who’s on first?” with the engine and your own accelerator inputs. Subaru’s bigger 2.5-liter engine eases those frustrations with more available torque. What’s the asterisk? Noise, vibration, and harshness. Subaru’s engines are coarse and loud and, when pressed, sounds good only to die-hard Subaru (or rally-racing) fans.

Those who venture off-road more often are going to appreciate the Subaru’s X-Mode, which caters the all-wheel-drive system’s torque distribution for the conditions. All-wheel drive is standard on all Crosstreks but costs $1,500 extra in the HR-V, and there’s no such off-road mode in the Honda (although it does have Snow and Descent modes).

Safety tips in the Crosstrek’s favor—for now. It earns top ratings from the IIHS and the NHTSA, and CVT-equipped cars all get an impressive set of active-safety features. The HR-V hasn’t been crash-tested yet, but it’s a new structure and, we suspect, likely engineered to do well in the latest tests. A full set of active-safety items are included in the HR-V, too, but top EX-L versions add blind-spot monitors.

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sports

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sports

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sports

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sports

In features and value, it’s nearly a draw. Both crossovers start just below $25,000, but the HR-V’s AWD option costs $1,500 more, whereas the Crosstrek comes standard with AWD. Both models offer a sunroof, upgraded sound, and leather upholstery in their top versions (Limited for the Crosstrek, EX-L for the HR-V), and Subaru sells a plug-in hybrid version limited to zero emission states. The top-trim HR-V also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen we find just a bit more intuitive.

The Subaru gets better gas mileage with its CVT at 29 mpg combined in most trims, which exceeds the HR-V’s 27 mpg combined with AWD.

Which one is best for you? The Crosstrek prioritizes trail ability and is at its best in Sport and Limited versions, with its stronger, more confident powertrain. The HR-V, meanwhile, is a great on-a-budget pick for urban types seeking a lot of features, refinement, and passenger space for the money.

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