The Honda HR-V wasn't the first subcompact crossover SUV to hit the market, but it has already become the one to beat. That's significant, because this segment of little SUVs has

suddenly become a big deal. A few years ago, you could count the players on one hand and have fingers left over. Now, in addition to early arrivers like the Nissan Juke and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the segment is bursting with contenders like Jeep Renegade, Chevy Trax, Mazda CX-3 and Fiat 500X. And more are on the way.

Value, easy manners, big utility

After arriving last year, the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V became a hit with both consumers and critics. What's behind the HR-V's recipe for rapid success? We'll name three reasons off the top of our head. For starters, with a price that starts under $20,000 and tops out around $27,000 for a loaded, all-wheel-drive model, it's a good value in the short term and a great one in the long-run, as evidenced by its recent win in Kelley Blue Book's 5-Year Cost To Own Awards.

Second, It's a cinch to drive with just-enough power, easy-to-park dimensions, and confidence-inspiring safety features like a standard backup camera and Honda's optional LaneWatch side-view monitor.

Third, and perhaps most important, this Honda crossover does a lot with a little. Like the smaller Honda Fit hatchback and larger Honda CR-V SUV that sandwich it, the HR-V has interior room that belies its small footprint. There's even the nifty "Magic Seat" we first saw on the Fit -- split-folding rear seats that folds and flip-up to accommodate a variety of gear.

Getting to know Herv

We've already grown to respect the HR-V for both its versatility and driving manners. In our full review of the 2016 Honda HR-V, we noted that, "Like the Fit, the HR-V is reasonably fun to fling around corners, while for ordinary commuting it boasts the higher seating position and the calm manners we've come to cherish in the CR-V."

Now, over the next half year, we'll have the opportunity to share what it's like living with our HR-V, which we've named Herv. (Because, well, why not?) Ours is an all-wheel-drive EX-L model with navigation and dressed in "Deep Ocean Pearl" paint color. Out the door, this top-line, fully loaded HR-V has a price tag of $26,720.

Like all HR-Vs, Herv uses a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 141 horsepower. As mentioned, ours is optioned with all-wheel drive (AWD) vs. the standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) setup. Like most buyers, we opted for an automatic transmission vs. the 6-speed manual. As is the case with most other new Hondas, this one uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), a type of automatic that has become popular because of its efficiency. Speaking of, an AWD HR-V is rated at 27 mpg city/32 mpg highway. Front-drive models improve those numbers to 28/35.

Now you, too, know a little about Herv. In the coming months we'll keep you updated on how this little Honda handles the rigors of daily life -- all so you can decide whether one may have a place in yours. 

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