Honda held a ton of info back when it debuted the 2023 HR-V at the beginning of the month. The tiny new crossover is a little less tiny, expanding its wheelbase and track over the previous model by migrating from the old Honda Fit platform to the current Honda Civic architecture. We assumed that would mean a switch to a Civic engine as well. Honda didn't identify what will go under the hood, instead choosing to promise the HR-V would be more "fun-to-drive with substantially improved dynamics and powertrain responsiveness." Our guess was that the Civic's 2.0-liter four-cylinder got the call up, and it seems we weren't wrong, if CarBuzz is to be believed. CarBuzz said it found documents Honda filed with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) outing the 2.0-liter as the engine of choice.
The naturally aspirated 1.8-liter cylinder in the current HR-V makes 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rates it at 28 city, 34 highway, and 30 combined miles per gallon when the mill turns the front wheels only, or 27 city, 31 highway, and 29 combined when powering both axles. The naturally aspirated 2.0-liter pulled from the Civic makes 158 hp and 138 lb-ft, less than substantial gains. In base FWD form the Civic sedan weighs just 29 pounds less than the HR-V, but its kinder aerodynamics return 31 city, 40 highway, and 35 combined mpg.
Since the HR-V employs a CVT now and the 2.0-liter is plugged into a CVT as well, we figure matters will hold steady there, but with somewhat lower fuel economy due to the shape of the vehicle. It's possible Honda's pledge of "more responsiveness" results in small changes to the powertrain to ensure drivers feel a difference, but it's more likely referring to the additional power the Civic engine has over the old HR-V's. And there's also still the chance the turbocharged 1.5-liter Civic engine could make an appearance. Honda sold more than 137,000 HR-Vs in the U.S. last year; those subcompact pilots probably aren't looking for much when it comes to the seats of their pants, the current formula clearly a success.