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Extended Drive: 2016 Honda HR-V 2WD EX-L Navi

If you'll recall, I had a chance to drive the Honda HR-V with a limited time frame a couple months ago - if not, catch up quick HERE. Though it was a quick couple of hours in the 6-speed FWD EX model, cruising up PCH and back really isn't enough to get a true feel for the crossover's capabilities. Not until I can put it through my normal routine, that is, a minimum of three freeways with varying traffic patterns and speed levels (I have a hell of a commute, if you catch my drift). For this, I was able to get a week's worth of time in the CVT-equipped 2WD EX-L, the premium model of the HR-V lineup. 2016 Honda HR-V Though I initially deemed the Honda HR-V to be best paired with NWA's Straight Outta Compton as the perfect accompanying soundtrack, that decision was made in haste, the clear result of being stuck in LA traffic far longer than I wanted to be. This is more a Major Lazer or Jack Ü mobile; cool and groovy at times, straight ratchet when the time calls for it. When it's cool and groovy, the HR-V is beyond comfortable, feels much bigger of a vehicle on the inside than it appears to be and carries a sophistication about it that is too good to be true at its price point. Compared to a Civic EX sedan, you're getting your money's worth at $24,590 (MSRP). DL-HRV2-WEB-9 The engine, as previously mentioned, is the same powerplant you'll find in most Civics except the Si model - a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC, this model connected to a CVT transmission. Though CVTs are fast becoming a popular transmission type in newer vehicles, I find myself, still, not the biggest fan. In lower rpm, the HR-V is slow to get going, but once the pedal is pushed to the floor or the CVT dropped into Sport mode, it will come to life. Steering is very responsive and maneuvering the HR-V on three of LA's most hellish freeways suddenly is not as bad as it could be. DL-HRV2-WEB-7 What I enjoyed most about driving the Honda HR-V were its premium interior features. The climate controls are activated completely by touch; no more dials - drag a finger and you've adjusted the temperature. Though the dual USB and HDMI ports located down below the center console are positioned conveniently, having wires come out on either side is just the slight bit unnatural feeling. Honda has really improved functionality of their audio touchscreen; it reacts much more quickly than before and iPod connectivity is nearly flawless. Probably one of the best out of most new cars I've driven this year. DL-HRV2-WEB-2 Perfectly sized, the Honda HR-V is just a tad smaller than the CR-V but feels as spacious as a Civic sedan. For anyone who's been a long-time member/owner of the Honda family, it's a nice upward progression that won't break your bank and doesn't make it feel as if you've just upgraded to the next generation Civic. It could very well be the best thing to park alongside the 1990 Civic Si hatchback I still have in my garage. Maybe a little drop and add a set of Mugen M7s? The Honda HR-V is available at dealerships now; to see more info and pricing, visit the Honda HR-V vehicle page. Check back in a couple weeks when I grab more seat time in the manual HR-V. (Photos: courtesy of Honda)

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