The all-new 2023 Honda HR-V is a completely different car compared to its predecessor. The old HR-V, which was based on the subcompact Fit hatchback, had a clever “Magic Seat” rear floor layout that provided a spacious cargo area despite its compact size. However, the new HR-V is a combination of current-generation Civic and previous-generation CR-V parts, with no traces of the Fit. As a result, it no longer has the Magic Seat and while it’s bigger on the outside, the interior space hasn’t increased much (although the back seat is more comfortable).
Cargo Space Specifications
According to the specifications, the new HR-V has the same 24.4 cubic-feet of cargo space as before. However, as I’ve shown in previous luggage tests, cargo volumes can be deceiving. The shape of the trunk is often more important than the total volume when it comes to practicality. So, let’s see how the HR-V fares in real-life scenarios.
Cargo Area Shape and Limitations
The HR-V has a competitive amount of depth and width, but its main drawback is the height of the cargo area. Many of its competitors have boxy shapes, which make packing easier. In contrast, the HR-V’s sloped liftgate opening requires more creativity, resulting in wasted space and frustration during luggage testing.
Here’s the angle of the liftgate opening that causes the issue. It makes stacking items at the rearmost portion of the cargo area or arranging bags on their sides very challenging.
Cargo Area Features and Limitations
Unlike many competitors, the HR-V does not offer multiple cargo area heights. Instead, it has a big foam bin under the floor, which may not be as useful as a few extra inches of cargo height.
Additionally, the HR-V’s cargo area is ribbed, which may impact the smooth loading and unloading of luggage.
Luggage Test Results
In my luggage test, I used two midsize roller suitcases, two roll-aboard suitcases, and one smaller roll-aboard, along with my wife’s fancy overnight bag. Despite the apparent excess room, the fancy bag couldn’t fit if everything was stacked up to the top of the seat backs. This highlights the importance of considering the shape of the cargo area, rather than just the volume.
It’s worth noting that the HR-V doesn’t come with a cargo cover, so a comparison with and without the cover wasn’t possible.
Comparison to Competitors
In terms of visibility and ease of loading, there are several vehicles that can accommodate the same number of bags as the HR-V, or even more. The Subaru Crosstrek, Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-30 (barely), and Honda Civic Hatchback all offer better visibility and/or greater ease of loading. On the other hand, SUVs like the Ford Bronco Sport, VW Taos, and Kia Seltos can handle more cargo than the HR-V.
It’s disappointing to see the HR-V underperform in terms of cargo space, considering Honda’s reputation for interior packaging excellence. Other Honda models like the Accord, Civics, Pilot, and CR-V have excelled in luggage tests due to their practicality. However, the HR-V is a departure from that trend, both visually and in terms of cargo space.