Honda Automobiles: 2016 Honda HR-V

For 2016, all HR-V models are powered by a Civic-based single overhead cam (SOHC) 1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder design with 16 valves, i-VTEC® valvetrain, and a dual-stage intake manifold. The engine produces a peak 141 horsepower at 6500 rpm1 and 127 lb-ft. of torque at 4300 rpm2, and has a LEV2 ULEV emissions rating3. When equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the HR-V has an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy rating4 of 25/34 miles per gallon. When equipped with the available continuously variable transmission (CVT), the HR-V has an EPA-estimated city/highway fuel economy rating4 of 28/35 miles per gallon when equipped with front-wheel drive, and 27/32 miles per gallon when equipped with Real Time AWD™.

For drivers who desire the four-season confidence of all-wheel drive, the 2016 HR-V is available with Real Time AWD with the Intelligent Control System™ to help provide power to those wheels with traction in low-grip driving conditions such as snow, rain and unpaved road surfaces. The electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system provides a fast, intuitive initial response when a loss of traction is detected while minimizing the negative effect on fuel efficiency.

Key Powertrain Features


  • 1.8-liter, SOHC, i-VTEC® inline-four 
  • 141 horsepower @ 6500 rpm (SAE net) 
  • 127 lb-ft. torque @ 4300 rpm (SAE net) 
  • i-VTEC® “intelligent” valve control system
  • Drive-by-Wire throttle control system
  • Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Composite dual-stage intake manifold
  • High rigidity aluminum cylinder block with low friction internal components

Emissions / Fuel Economy Ratings4

  • EPA fuel economy rating of 25/34 city/highway (Front-wheel drive) with 6-speed manual transmission
  • EPA fuel economy rating of 28/35 city/highway (Front-wheel drive) and 27/32 city/highway (Real Time AWD™) with continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV2 ULEV)


  • 6-speed manual transmission (Standard on front-wheel drive LX and EX models)
  • Continuously variable transmission (CVT) (Available in LX and EX; standard on EX-L Navi models)
  • Drive Systems
  • Front-wheel drive (6MT or CVT)
  • Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ (CVT only)

Cylinder Block, Crank and Pistons
Compact, rigid, lightweight and low friction describes the end result of engine technology that helps enable the HR-V to achieve high power and high fuel efficiency. A narrow width cam chain, a chain case with a built-in oil pump, and ferrous spin-cast cylinder sleeves are used to make the engine unusually compact, allowing for excellent packaging efficiency.

To make the engine highly rigid, extensive analysis was used to create reinforced areas in the aluminum block construction. A lightweight and very stiff steel crankshaft is used with a high balance ratio that also benefits from a lower block design with extremely high crank support rigidity. At the very bottom of the engine, an aluminum oil pan with integrated stiffeners further adds to rigidity. The high rigidity block design helps reduce noise output and friction.

The lightweight aluminum pistons are carried by high-strength, crack-separated connecting rods that minimize rod weight and size, while also increasing connecting rod rigidity and long-term durability. A “cracked” connection means that the rod and cap are forged as a single unit during the manufacturing process, and then are cracked apart to create a custom fit between the two matching surfaces. This unique design allows for the elimination of connecting rod bolt pins, since the connecting rod bolts can be precision machined to fit the cap to the rod.

Cylinder head and Valvetrain
The HR-V has a die-cast aluminum alloy cylinder head with a single overhead camshaft driven by a silent-type chain that operates in an oil bath. Typically, intake ports are designed as straight as possible to promote more complete filling of the cylinders. In the HR-V, however, to promote the mixing of fuel with incoming air, Honda has devised a unique curved intake port design. This strategic curve not only promotes improved air-fuel mixture, but better concentrates the mixture around the spark plug. This allows for an even more efficient combustion process and further increased fuel efficiency.

Friction Reduction Technologies
The HR-V’s 4-cylinder engine makes use of friction-reducing technologies designed to improve engine efficiency. The outer skirts of the lightweight aluminum pistons feature a molybdenum coating applied in a unique dot pattern. The result is reduced overall friction as the pistons move within the cylinder bores. Plateau honing of the piston skirts further reduces friction between the pistons and cylinder walls by creating an ultra-smooth surface. Plateau honing is a two-stage machining process that uses two grinding processes instead of the more conventional single honing process. This also enhances the long-term wear characteristics of the engine. Ion-plated piston rings and low viscosity oil (0W-20) are also used to reduce friction.

i-VTEC® Valve Control System
To achieve strong performance and excellent fuel efficiency, the HR-V’s 1.8-liter engine uses a variation of the innovative i-VTEC® system with single intake valve operation. At low engine speeds, just one intake valve in each cylinder operates, while the second intake valve remains closed. At high engine speeds, the i-VTEC® system locks together both sides of the rocker arm via a hydraulic actuator to allow both intake valves to open simultaneously.

This HR-V’s i-VTEC® valve timing reacts to driving conditions related to throttle opening, vehicle speed, engine rpm and gear selection. A sophisticated Drive-by-Wire throttle control system, air flow meter, knock sensor and dual-stage air intake allow the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to create seamless transitions between the two modes of i-VTEC® operation.

Torque output has been optimized in the most frequently used 2,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm engine speed range. To this end, the switchover from the low-speed timing to the high-speed valve timing is set between 1,100 rpm and 3,000 rpm depending on engine load. Furthermore, a shutter valve operating the variable intake switches tract length from long to short at approximately 5,000 rpm to best match the more aggressive high-speed valve timing.

Composite Dual-Stage Intake Manifold
A composite dual-stage intake manifold utilizes two intake runners for each cylinder— with one runner longer than the other. Below 5,000 rpm, only the longer of the two runners delivers air to the cylinder – taking advantage of an inertia effect of the long intake path. Above 5,000 rpm, however, a shutter valve in the bore of the short runner opens to allow the passage of additional air to the cylinder. This has the effect of boosting midrange and high-rpm power by utilizing the inertia effect at both low and high rpm.

Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
The HR-V engine features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that uses an array of sensors to constantly monitor a number of critical operating variables, including throttle position, intake air temperature, water temperature, ambient air pressure (altitude), air flow, along with the position of the crankshaft and camshafts. A new high-performance air/fuel sensor contributes to the engine’s enhanced emission performance. Special multi-hole fuel injectors mounted in the lower intake manifold spray directly toward the intake ports. The multi-hole injector design means that fuel droplet size is reduced for better fuel atomization, resulting in improved cold weather start-up, better fuel efficiency and higher horsepower.

Direct Ignition System and Detonation Knock Control
A strong ignition spark is critical to improve power and reduce emissions. The 1.8L I-4 features a direct ignition system that uses individual coil units positioned directly above each spark plug. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) continually monitors several engine parameters to determine optimum spark timing based on specific driving conditions.

Additionally, a block-mounted acoustic detonation (knock) sensor sends information per each rotation, so that the engine can analyze each frequency with high precision. This signal is sent to the PCM, which then controls ignition timing as needed to help prevent damage.

Drive-by-Wire Throttle Control
An electronic Drive-by-Wire throttle system helps enhance the driving character of the HR-V. With smart electronics “connecting” the throttle pedal to the throttle butterfly valve in the intake system, the engine response can be optimized to suit the driving conditions and to better match the driver’s expectations. Combined with the dual-stage intake manifold, the Drive-by-Wire throttle system is an important component to the i-VTEC® system that makes switching between the engine’s low-pumping-loss mode and the high-performance mode seamless to the driver. By eliminating the direct throttle cable connection to the engine, the ratio between pedal movement and throttle butterfly movement can be continuously optimized. This adjustable “gain” between throttle and engine is a significant benefit to drivability. A highly responsive DC motor moves the throttle butterfly position in the intake system to change actual throttle position. To establish the current driving conditions, the system monitors pedal position, throttle valve opening position, vehicle speed, engine speed, and engine vacuum. This information is then used to define the throttle control sensitivity.

Exhaust System
The HR-V is equipped with a stainless steel, low heat-mass exhaust system. An integrated exhaust manifold, cast into the cylinder head, eliminates the need for a separate bolt-on exhaust manifold, helping contribute to the engine’s compact design and light weight.

Catalytic Converter
The system employs a high-density low precious metal catalytic converter for improved light-off performance along with reduced hydrocarbons and NOx. For improved emissions performance, the catalytic converter bolts directly to the cylinder head, resulting in faster light-off and more complete conversion of the exhaust gases.

Maintenance Minder™ and Tune-Up Intervals
The HR-V’s engine tune-up schedule is calculated by the Maintenance Minder™ system. The Maintenance Minder™ system automatically indicates when to have standard service performed based on actual driving conditions (tracked by the PCM) and minimizes the guesswork related to whether the vehicle is being used in standard or severe use conditions for maintenance interval purposes. The display indicates when to change the oil, air cleaner, transmission fluid, spark plugs or coolant, as well as when to rotate the tires. Under normal usage, a tune-up is not required until approximately 100,000 miles5 (only routine inspections and fluid changes are required up to this point). Credit for this longevity goes to long-wearing double-tipped spark plugs, a long-life timing chain, and careful engineering of the precisely manufactured SOHC valvetrain – which reliably maintains proper valve tappet clearances until the first tune-up.

Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™
The 2016 HR-V is offered with Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ that shares key design features with the system available in the CR-V. Real Time AWD™ is paired exclusively with the available continuously variable transmission (CVT), and is not offered with the HR-V’s standard 6-speed manual transmission.

Compact and efficient, Real Time AWD™ provides a high degree of four-wheel-drive sophistication in rain, snow, on dirt roads and on dry pavement. Unique programming in the HR-V AWD system is aimed at enhanced performance on snow-covered surfaces, by sending more power to the rear wheels to reduce front wheel spin. System operation is completely automatic and virtually transparent in smoothness. Unlike some four-wheel-drive systems that require the driver to select a drive mode based on the perceived need, Real Time AWD’s automatic operation means the system is always ready to transfer engine torque to the rear wheels via a propeller shaft, allowing the driver to focus more on driving when situations are demanding.

The capabilities of the system are prioritized to further support high fuel efficiency and all-around drivability on-road as well as off-road. Assisting the front wheels when it is beneficial, Real Time AWD™ instantly powers the rear wheels when starting from a stop, even on dry pavement, working in cooperation with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®4 and the Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS). The Real Time AWD™ system can operate at all speeds when needed. When torque transfer to the rear wheels is not required, such as when cruising, drive to the rear wheels is decoupled for reduced frictional losses.

The HR-V’s all-wheel drive system consists of the conventional front-wheel-drive system, a compact transfer case that distributes torque to a propeller shaft running the length of the vehicle, the rear differential, an electronically-controlled hydraulic pump, a multi-plate clutch, and left and right rear-wheel driveshafts. The multi-plate clutch connects the propeller shaft to the rear differential and is operated by an electric motor driving a hydraulic pump. The electric motor is controlled by the Intelligent Control System, which means that the system can actively apportion power based on the conditions. The system doesn’t merely react to front wheel spin; it minimizes wheel spin before it happens by sending power to the rear wheels accordingly. For efficiency, the electric motor activating the hydraulic pump is idled when not required, further reducing drag within the system and helping to reduce energy consumption.

When starting on snow for example, the system sends power to the rear wheels right from the start, minimizing the potential for front wheel spin. The system can also detect when the HR-V is climbing a hill and sends a greater amount of power to the rear wheels in cooperation with the Hill Start Assist feature. Hill Start Assist maintains brake pressure briefly after the brake pedal is released, giving the driver time to accelerate and smoothly resume motion. The Intelligent Control System instantly assesses the road’s slope using a G-sensor and the level of grip as detected by VSA, allowing added initial apportioning of torque to the rear wheels for smooth starts.

In summary, Real Time AWD™ offers the optimal balance of confident capability and user friendliness in a lightweight and fuel-efficient design. The driver can simply step on the accelerator and let the system maximize use of available grip and climbing capability.

The HR-V is available with two different transmissions. Front-wheel-drive LX and EX trims have a standard 6-speed manual transmission. An advanced continuously variable transmission (CVT) is offered as an option on those vehicles and is standard on the EX-L Navi, and all versions equipped with Real Time AWD™. 

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
The HR-V’s available continuously variable transmission (CVT), from the Honda Earth Dreams® Technology powertrain series, is related to the transmission in the CR-V. It’s scaled for the HR-V’s smaller displacement powerplant and offers a wider overall ratio spread. The CVT offers seamless gear ratio transitions and excellent acceleration matched with efficient low-rpm cruising. The CVT’s wide overall ratio range results in strong acceleration performance coupled with reduced engine rpm at high road speeds. The highly efficient operation of the CVT makes a significant contribution to the HR-V’s overall fuel efficiency. The CVT is available in the LX and EX, and standard in the EX-L Navi. It can be paired with front wheel drive or with the available Real Time AWD™.

The CVT is composed of a torque converter that drives the variable-width drive pulley, which is connected by a steel belt to the variable-width driven pulley. With its angled inner faces, the belt can circle the angled pulley faces at varying diameters depending on the pulley width, which alters the effective ratio between the pulleys. Since there are no steps in the pulley faces, the range of possible gear ratios is nearly infinite. This ultra-fine control of the gear ratio is the key to the CVT’s greater efficiency over a conventional automatic transmission with a limited number of discrete gear ratios. Instead of approximating the optimal ratio for the conditions based on a limited number of discrete gear rations, like a conventional automatic, the HR-V’s CVT can precisely select the optimal ratio from moment to moment without steps or slippage.

Computer control of the transmission allows the ratio between the pulleys to be altered almost instantly to best suit the driving conditions and accelerator pedal use. A planetary gear set allows the transmission to shift between forward and reverse directions with the operation of a multi-plate clutch. A variable-flow oil pump optimizes oil flow to the transmission’s moving parts while minimizing the load on the engine. The HR-V’s CVT is more compact and lighter compared to a conventional CVT, with the use of metal gaskets, unit-type case construction and fewer parts through integration.

G-Design Shift Feature
The HR-V CVT is designed to provide the optimum pulley ratio for the driving conditions and to offer a more natural driving feel than conventional CVT transmissions that have a disconnected “rubber-band” feel; the HR-V also offers stronger acceleration response with a linear rise in engine rpm that avoids much of the “slipping” feeling some drivers notice with other CVTs. The G-design Shift logic gives the HR-V a more linear and sporty driving feel.

The HR-V CVT’s G-design Shift logic is designed to offer more immediate acceleration response than either conventional automatics or other CVT designs. When abruptly applying power from a steady-state cruising speed, the HR-V CVT immediately sends power to the drive wheels while simultaneously adjusting the pulley ratio to smoothly bring the engine to its horsepower peak in a linear way. By comparison, a conventional automatic is slower to respond and loses time making multiple downshifts.

CVT Automatic Modes
The transmission can be operated in three different fully automatic modes with the console-mounted straight-gate shifter.

  • The D mode is ideal for most driving situations, and combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed
  • The S mode is for more performance-oriented driving, and features sportier shift characteristics as controlled by the electronic control unit (ECU)  
  • The L mode is for lower speeds and provides additional engine braking, typically used on steep declines.

Paddle Shifters
The CVT transmission can be controlled with steering wheel-mounted, dual-mode paddle shifters to provide a more engaging driver experience. D mode is fully automatic; however the paddle shifters can be used to downshift the transmission for greater engine braking for situations such as descending a steep hill. The transmission can also be upshifted in D mode. When the paddle shifters are used in D mode, full automatic operation will resume after a short time. For spirited driving, S mode includes seven ratios and maintains the selected ratio until the driver operates the paddle shifters again. In S mode the system will only shift automatically to prevent over-revving or lugging the engine and will downshift all the way to first gear when the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Also the transmission will automatically revert to D mode under low traction situations where using the paddle shifters could potentially cause the tires to lock up.

All HR-V models equipped with the continuously variable transmission are equipped with an ECON button on the left side of the instrument panel as part of the Eco Assist™ system. When activated, ECON mode alters the Drive-by-Wire throttle system response curve in the range from about 10 percent to 60 percent of throttle pedal travel. With less gain, the throttle opening in this range increases more gradually to reduce a potentially excessive peak input for improved fuel efficiency. ECON mode also alters the operation of the cruise control system and the air conditioning system, allowing for slightly increased variances with the set speed and cabin temperature in order to further conserve fuel.

6-Speed Manual Transmission
To provide driving enthusiasts with exceptional control and feel, the HR-V has a standard close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission that’s related to the unit offered in the Accord 4-cylinder. Compared to a 5-speed transmission, the 6-speed gearbox allows closer gear ratio spacing, enabling the engine to operate closer to its power peak during acceleration for better performance. The 6-speed manual transmission is standard in the LX and EX front wheel drive models. It is not available in the EX-L Navi, or in combination with Real Time AWD™.

The transmission has been carefully engineered to deliver state-of-the-art performance and shift action, with minimized internal friction, tight internal tolerances and smooth synchronizers. The transmission also has a rigid aluminum exterior case, high-capacity ball bearings, stiff gear shafts, and high torque capacity. A constant-mesh helical reverse gear mechanism significantly reduces noise when reverse is selected. A reverse lockout feature prevents the transmission from being shifted into reverse while the car is moving forward.


1 141 horsepower @ 6500 rpm (SAE net)

2 127 lb-ft @4300 rpm (SAE net)

3 LEV2 ULEV (Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle) models as certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

4 2016 EPA fuel-economy ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

5 Does not apply to fluid and filter changes. Will vary with driving conditions. Please see your Honda dealer for details.


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