The Honda HR-V is one of Honda’s most popular crossover SUVs in the United States. The HR-V debuted in the United States in 2015 as a model year 2016 vehicle. Since then, over 600,000 HR-V models have been sold in America. Over 130,000 were sold in 2021 alone. Although Honda is known for its great reliability, the HR-V does have a few problems.
However, not all of the problems with the HR-V are devastating. Overall, the vehicle is quite reliable, but you should be familiar with a few of the most common issues. We are here to tell you about the common problems with the HR-V and which years to avoid. Keep reading to get all the details.
Most Common Honda HR-V Problems
If you do some research on the HR-V, you will find that some problems are much more common than others. While any vehicle can have issues, there are some things that you should watch for if you are considering purchasing a Honda HR-V. Here are the most common issues and complaints about the HR-V.
— Loose Window Gaskets
Loose window gaskets are one of the most common problems reported for the HR-V. The gasket issue seems to happen across all year models, and there seems to be no real fix for the problem at this time. Many people have reported loose gaskets occurring on almost brand-new vehicles. In fact, most vehicles only have around 3,000 miles on them when this issue is first reported. Many customers report having the gaskets replaced multiple times, and some have been so bad that they were flopping loose while driving. While this problem is not as bad as something like engine failure or a bad transmission, you should be aware of the issue before purchasing this small SUV.
— Poor Paint Quality
You would expect a manufacturer like Honda to have a great paint job on all their new vehicles. Unfortunately, the HR-V model has some paint issues. Bad paint appears to be the second most reported problem on the HR-V compact SUV. Most owners begin to report this issue once the vehicle is a couple of years old. The complaints range from bubbling and peeling paint to rust spots underneath the paint. Others report that the paint chips and dents so easily that it does not protect the vehicle’s body. Some dealerships have acknowledged that the paint issue is Honda’s fault, but the manufacturer has generally avoided taking liability for any damages related to painting problems. Although this is not a mechanical issue, you might find yourself in need of a paint job on your HR-V.
— Uncomfortable Seats
The most reported problem from Honda HR-V owners about the subcompact SUV is the fact that the seats are extremely uncomfortable. Most owners reported this problem almost immediately after purchase, and the complaints included both the front and back seats. Some owners even reported pinched nerves, chronic back pain, and trips to the chiropractor as a result of the uncomfortable seats. Some tend to believe that fixed lumbar support is the cause of the issue, but there is no real evidence of that fact. At any rate, drivers find themselves constantly adjusting the seat and repositioning themselves in the seat to attempt to get comfortable. If you have back issues, you should be extremely aware of this problem before purchasing a Honda HR-V.
— Electrical System Issues
There have been a high number of complaints registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the electrical system of the HR-V. The “electrical system” category registered the most complaints about the HR-V with the NHTSA. The specific issues range from sensor malfunctions to complete failure of the electronic stability control system. Some of the electrical system failures were so bad that the vehicle’s computer would not operate until the faulty part was replaced. This could lead to an expensive repair that renders the car inoperable without the right fix. While it is impossible to predict an electrical system problem, you should be aware that those issues are fairly common. Thankfully, there have been only a few problems reported with the current Infotainment system and Apple CarPlay options.
— Brake Caliper Failure
Failure of the rear brake calipers is one of the more serious problems reported on the HR-V. According to Honda, there was an insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons. This condition could cause gas pockets to form and reduce brake performance. The issue was so serious that Honda officially issued a recall to fix the problem, and some Acura vehicles were also affected. If you are thinking about purchasing an HR-V, especially as a used car, make sure the braking system’s caliper issue has been corrected by your local dealership. Otherwise, the problem could result in increased stopping distance and increase your odds of a crash.
— CVT Transmission Issues
Thankfully, there have been only a few Honda HR-V transmission problems reported, although there have been some instances of problems related to the CVT. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a new style of transmission that aims to improve fuel economy and provide a smoother ride. However, the CVT transmission generally tends to have more problems than standard transmissions that use gears. Many people believe the improved gas mileage is not worth the problems of the CVT transmissions. The Honda CR-V tends to have more transmission problems than the HR-V, and the automaker will cover transmission problems under warranty if they happen early enough. Otherwise, transmission repair costs can be pretty expensive.
— Push Start
Some HR-V owners have reported a problem with the vehicle’s push start system. However, the specific cause of the problem is not known. Most reports indicate that the car failed to start; however, the problem seemed to go away on subsequent starting attempts. The push start issue seems to appear randomly and does not seem to persist very long. Simply starting the process over again appears to fix the issue in most cases. Although this does not seem to be a serious issue, it could be an annoyance on a new car.
— Fuel Pump Failure
Fuel pump failure appears to be somewhat common on newer models of the HR-V due to the pump’s impeller design. The impeller material cracks easily, and the pump is close to failure once this happens. At the least, it becomes a low-pressure fuel pump. In that case, the problem could mimic the symptoms of a bad fuel pressure regulator even though the pump is the issue. If your engine is not getting enough fuel, it will shut off quickly. This could be a potential hazard if it happens while driving. Otherwise, your vehicle might fail to start without enough fuel. Either way, this issue triggered a recall from Honda, and it affected the HR-V as well as the Honda Civic, Fit, Insight, and Accord.
— Unpredictable Throttle
The throttle issue reported on some HR-V models varies in the way it shows up. In some cases, the vehicle will lunge forward even with a light pressing of the throttle. On the other hand, some drivers report that the vehicle barely accelerates even when the throttle is pressed hard. While there is not a definite cause of this problem, it could be a symptom of a faulty throttle position sensor. Reprogramming the ECU fixes the problem in some cases, but replacement of the throttle position sensor or other components might be required.
Honda HR-V Year Models With The Most Issues
Now that you know some of the most common problems with the HR-V, you might be wondering which year models are the most likely to have problems. Some model years have reported far more problems than others. Here are the years you should generally avoid.
It is not uncommon for the first-year model of any vehicle to have issues, and the HR-V is no exception. The 2016 model was the first one sold in the United States, and it also has the most issues. Most previous owners agree that this is the model to avoid, and reports also show the 2016 HR-V as the one with the most customer complaints.
Beyond 2016, the models with the most complaints are the 2017 and 2018 models. These models registered about half the number of complaints as the 2016 model, but still many more than the newer models. When it comes to buying an HR-V, the data seems to show that the newer models have far fewer problems than the older ones. If you can purchase a 2019 or newer, you are far less likely to experience a significant problem.
Overall Honda HR-V Reliability
It might sound as though the Honda HR-V has many problems and should be avoided. However, that is not really the case. Although we have been focusing specifically on common issues with the HR-V, the number of total issues seen in these vehicles is generally lower than the number of issues seen in competitors. So, are Hondas reliable? Honda and Toyota tend to sit near the top of most reliability scores and surveys, and the HR-V model is quite reliable (although maybe you should avoid the 2016 model).
For example, let’s compare the Honda HR-V with some of its competitors. The 2019 Hyundai Kona has received 145 complaints, while the 2019 HR-V has only received 28 complaints. Similarly, the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek received 118 complaints compared to only 37 complaints for the 2018 HR-V. Kia and Mazda hatchback competitors also performed similarly.
As you can see, the HR-V scores very highly in terms of reliability when compared to other vehicles. Even though the HR-V does have a few issues, like the ones mentioned in this article, the total number of problems with this vehicle is lower than most other small SUVs. Although any car can break down, you should be able to feel confident when you purchase a new HR-V that you are not likely to experience any significant problems.
Important Honda HR-V Recall Information
We have already briefly mentioned a couple of recalls associated with the HR-V. The most significant recalls for the HR-V are due to the rear caliper problem and the fuel pump problem. A recall was issued for the 2016 HR-V due to the potential failure of the rear brake calipers. The coating on the rear brake caliper pistons could lead to issues with the braking system. In turn, those issues could cause increased stopping distance and potentially cause an accident. Honda will generally repair this problem at no cost when you visit your dealership.
Three recalls were issued for the 2018 and 2019 year models, and all three recalls were related to the faulty fuel pump design. As we previously mentioned, the fuel pump failure could lead to a sudden shutoff of the vehicle in some cases. This could create an extremely dangerous situation if it happens while driving. If you are considering a 2018 or 2019 model HR-V, you should ensure that the fuel pump has been properly repaired according to the recall.
Finally, a second recall was issued for 2016 model HR-V vehicles. However, there was no real mechanical problem related to this recall. Instead, some of the 2016 vehicles were affected by a missing tire placard. Since the placard was missing on some vehicles, the driver might not inflate the tires properly. This could lead to dangerous driving conditions, so those vehicles had to be recalled to get the proper placard attached.
Average Honda HR-V Repair Costs
If you do encounter one of the common HR-V problems, you are likely wondering how much it will cost you to fix it. The answer depends on the specific problem you encounter. Some issues might not even need repairing at all. For example, there is not much you can do about uncomfortable seats. Similarly, you might be willing to deal with some paint issues since they are mostly cosmetic.
However, some of the problems will need to be repaired. Loose window gaskets, for example, will probably cost you about $200 to replace. This is not an extremely expensive repair, although it can be an annoyance to deal with. Electrical system issues, on the other hand, can get more expensive. In some cases, you might need to replace the entire stability control model. This could cost you $1,500 or more, and your vehicle might not start until the repair is completed. Since no major Honda HR-V engine issues have been reported, we will not dive into the cost of engine repairs here.
Thankfully, many of these issues are covered under warranty and might not cost you anything to repair. As long as your warranty is still valid, Honda will make the repairs at no cost. However, the warranty on older models has likely already expired. In that case, you will be paying for the repair on your own. Thankfully, none of the common problems are catastrophic, and your repair costs should be less than $2,000 in most cases.
The Bottom Line
The Honda HR-V has a few common problems, from uncomfortable seats to poor paint quality. However, the HR-V has great overall reliability. Even though drivers have reported some common issues, most of them are not extremely serious problems. If you plan to purchase an HR-V, you should try to avoid the 2016 year model. This model has the most complaints — more than double any other year model. Repairing a problem with your HR-V shouldn’t cost you a ton in most cases, although you could see a bill as high as $2,000 to repair some of the more severe electrical problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the life expectancy of a Honda HR-V?
The life expectancy of your Honda HR-V will greatly depend upon how well you perform maintenance. When properly maintained, the HR-V can last for many years. It is not uncommon for these vehicles to exceed 200,000 miles when routine maintenance is performed at the right times. Since 2016 was the first year for the HR-V in the United States, time will tell how well the vehicles perform when they get more than eight or ten years old.
Is the Honda HR-V a reliable car?
Yes, the Honda HR-V scores high in reliability. Even though some of the HR-V models have a few problems, these vehicles rank high in reliability when compared to their competitors. In some cases, the HR-V has less than half the complaints of similar vehicles. Honda is well-known for reliability, and the HR-V seems to be no exception. If you need a small SUV that will last, you should consider the HR-V.
Are Honda HR-V repairs expensive?
The cost of a repair depends on the specific repair needed. For instance, repairing some of the common problems with the HR-V is not that expensive. Loose window gaskets can be repaired for $200 on average. However, if your HR-V has issues with the CVT transmission, you will see a higher repair bill. Your bill might be more than $2,000 to repair the CVT. If you get lucky, your vehicle might still be covered under warranty. In that case, Honda will generally cover the repair at no charge.