Video: Here’s How the New 2023 Honda HR-V Compares to Subaru Crosstrek Off-Road

Here's how Honda's newest small crossover performs on the rougher stuff

The 2023 Honda HR-V is bigger, and more powerful than the vehicle it replaced, but is it as capable as a Subaru Crosstrek?

Tommy used an older roller test of the Subaru Crosstrek as a yardstick for testing the 2023 Honda HR-V. That’s because they have similar numbers. The 2023 Honda HR-V makes 158 horsepower and 138 lbs-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It’s hooked up to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that feeds all four wheels via a Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. That AWD system sends power to the wheel that needs the power.

It’s, what I would call, a Honda’s basic AWD system. Similar to the base mode Crosstrek in terms of power and torque (154 hp for the 2.0-liter Subaru), Honda does not offer a more powerful option – but Subaru does. Subaru’s AWD system is far more capable than the Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. It just is. In the video, Tommy does the same slip test on both vehicles, and the Subaru comes out on top.

Why no iVTM-4?

iVTM4 is Honda’s Variable Torque Management all-wheel drive system, and it is one of the better AWD systems we’ve tested. It vectors torque for performance needs, and properly sends power where it needs to go. We’ve tested this system in the new Passport Trailsport, (brand-new) Pilot Trailsport and the Honda Ridgeline. All of which exceeded our expectations for crossover off-road performance.

The Real Time AWD systems is not as complex (read: expensive) as the VTM-4, and I would imagine there are other packaging concerns with that system as well. Tommy noticed that the Real Time AWD system didn’t seem as active as others when it came to stopping the spinning wheel, and sending power where it needs to go.

This is a pretty good video Tommy’s put together for you. It not only shows the HR-V’s traction capabilities, he takes it into the rough as well.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.