Common Honda HR-V Problems

If you’re considering Honda’s HR-V as your next vehicle, this guide is for you.

byThe Drive Staff|
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The SUV market has been one of the most dominant niches in the automotive industry since the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, practically every automaker has at least one SUV on offer, in the hopes of grabbing a slice of the pie. The HR-V is one of the offerings that Honda brings to the table. Since the model’s introduction in 2015, Honda has sold nearly 500,000 HR-Vs, making it a great success for the Japanese brand that prides itself on its reliability. However, there have been a handful of reported problems, failures, and issues with the HR-V subcompact SUV. 

Don’t hyperventilate just yet. The Drive’s crack informational team is here to break down the common issues and problems associated with Honda’s HR-V so you can make the most informed decision when considering purchasing a new or used model.

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Checking Honda HR-V engine, DepositPhotos

What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability over all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability

The short answer is you. The longer answer is a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule, your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance such as regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

Keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will also keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis happy for far longer than treating every trip to the grocery store as if it’s the Indy 500. 

Honda HR-V Specs

Vehicle Type: Compact crossover

Doors: 4

Engine options: 1.8-liter SOHC i-VTEC I-4

Total internal combustion range: 369-448 miles

Is the Honda HR-V Reliable?

As detailed above, reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we can’t make a definitive statement that the HR-V’s is reliable or unreliable. To better assess its reliability, however, we’ve assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. Let’s start with common problems, as told in comments in the Honda HR-V’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

Close up of a clean motor block, DepositPhotos

The Honda HR-V NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the Honda HR-V’s issues throughout the years.


Recalls: None

Complaints: 5


Recalls: None

Complaints: 6


Complaints: 35


Complaints: 42


Recalls: None

Complaints: 59


Complaints: 140

Common HR-V Problems and Repair Costs

Here’s a quick rundown of potential problems with Honda HR-Vs, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

Poor Paint Quality 

Many customers have had issues with the HR-V’s paint quality. Some users reported that large patches of the roof paint flake away after a few years of use, while others reported that paint has bubbled. There have also been reports of rust eating through the paint and bodywork.

Customer complaint:

“I've had the car less than four years, and the paint is bubbling up and peeling off. I'm not sure what kind of cheap paint they put on these cars, but I will trade it in and not on a Honda.”

Repair costs: Repainting a car can cost upwards of thousands of dollars, depending on how much of the car needs to be repainted. 

Honda HR-V grey model at a motor show, DepositPhotos

Accelerator Issues

Honda HR-V owners have reported two issues regarding the car’s accelerator. When the throttle is lightly applied from a stop, the vehicle can suddenly leap forward, as if the driver stomped on the gas pedal. In other cases, while driving at highway speeds, the HR-V would begin to slow down, even if the driver applies more throttle. 

Customer complaint:

“The driver attempted to ease forward by lightly tapping the accelerator pedal. Upon lightly tapping the accelerator pedal, the vehicle accelerated forward independently without warning. The driver crashed into another parked vehicle in front of her. The driver was finally able to place the vehicle into park and shut off the engine.”

A second complaint describes the HR-V slowing: “Car loses acceleration at high rates of speed while driving on the highway. On at least four occasions, even with my foot on the gas pedal, it just slows to unsafe levels while attempting to enter on the highway. This past Saturday while in the fast lane, it just slowed to 30 mph with cars slamming on brakes behind and to the right of me.”

Repair costs: If you experience either of the issues mentioned above, a dealership will have to diagnose the problem. Fixing it could be as simple as a free ECU update, or you might need to replace a part in the engine bay, which could cost a few hundred dollars.

Loose Window Gaskets

According to several complaints, one of the most common issues with the Honda HR-V is that the window gaskets, the rubber that keeps the windows weather tight when rolled up  can become loose or completely dislodge themselves. 

Customer complaint:

“Three months after purchasing the car, the driver's side window gasket dropped down and fluttered in the wind when the window was wide open. Brought it to the dealership, and they simply popped it back into place and said it was fixed. Don't you think I tried that? I told them it just pops out again. They asked if I was pulling on it to make it fall off. Sure, I just love spending time in car garages over bogus problems. As predicted, the gasket flopped down again, and they decided to replace it. But they ordered the bottom gasket by mistake, so I had to come in yet a third time to finally get the correct replacement.”

Repair costs: The window gaskets are actually four different parts, which total about $100 if you need to replace all of them. Professional installation means additional labor costs.

Honda HR-V 2020 model on sale, DepositPhotos

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score “measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

2021: 78/100

2020: 78/100


2018: 79/100

2017: 81/100

2016: 79/100

2015: NA/100

2014: NA/100

FAQs About Honda’s HR-V

You've got questions. The Drive has answers. 

Q: How long do Honda HR-Vs last?

A: As with every car, truck, and SUV on the road, how you maintain it will determine your mileage. Hondas are built to last, and if properly maintained, should run well for at least 200,000 miles. Some have even clocked a million miles

Q: Is the Honda HR-V underpowered?

A: The Honda HR-V is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 141 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. It reaches 60 mph in about 8.6 seconds and has a top speed of 105 mph. So, although not blisteringly quick in terms of top speed or acceleration, it has adequate mid-range power for day-to-day driving. 

Q: What does Honda HR-V stand for?

A: According to Honda, HR-V stands for high-rider revolutionary vehicle.

Q: What’s the difference between the Honda CR-V and HR-V?

A: The Honda HR-V is a compact SUV, while the Honda CR-V is a larger medium-sized SUV.

Q: Is the Honda HR-V bigger than the CR-V?

A: The CR-V is larger than the HR-V. The CR-V is 181 inches long, 66.5 inches high, and 73 inches wide. The HR-V is 169 inches long, 63.2 inches high, and 69.7 inches wide. The CR-V also has more cargo capacity than the HR-V.

Q: Which is better, the Honda CR-V or the HR-V?

A: That depends on the customer. If you need more space, the CR-V will be the better option. If you don’t, the HR-V offers excellent gas mileage and is a great daily driver. 

More Information About Honda’s HR-V

The Drive has put together a few more resources you can use to educate yourself about Honda’s HR-V. Check them out below: