The Honda HR-V may be a new model, but it has typical Honda qualities: reliability, utility, fuel efficiency, and so on.
A roomy cabin and decent storage space make the HR-V suitable for family trips.
Can you haul your family across winter roads with the HR-V? Let’s find out.
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Here is the short answer to whether the Honda HR-V is good for snow and winter driving:
The Honda HR-V can handle well in snow and other winter conditions because it comes with Honda’s Real-Time All-Wheel Drive that improves traction and stability on slippery surfaces. It also features Vehicle Stability Assist, Traction Control, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
Is a Honda HR-V Good in the Snow?
If given the chance, most drivers would not pick the Honda HR-V for snow driving. What with its small-SUV proportions, one would expect the HR-V to falter in snowy terrain.
However, the HR-V is decent at driving on roads covered in snow.
Sure, you cannot take it in deep snow, but it will handle light snowfall just fine.
Base HR-V models come standard with Front-Wheel Drive, which makes them average in snow. Higher-trim HR-Vs, however, offer all-wheel drive, which makes all the difference in snow.
The all-wheel drive on the HR-V helps with snow driving by minimizing wheel slippage. Left unchecked, wheel slippage can cause loss of traction, and lead to your vehicle getting stuck in snow.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
The Honda HR-V is a suitable vehicle to drive in winter weather for many reasons. But perhaps the biggest one is that it has various features designed to enhance comfort and safety in cold climates. Here are some of those features:
Real-Time All-Wheel Drive
Traction on winter roads is low and tires cannot grip the road as they would on dry pavement.
This increases the chances of your tires slipping, which could cause your vehicle to slide off the road.
Fortunately, the Honda HR-V’s Real-Time All-Wheel Drive system forestalls such an event. Real-Time AWD enhances traction by sending torque to the rear wheels on slippery surfaces.
Typically, only the front wheels will get most of the power generated under normal operations.
Vehicle Stability Assist
The HR-V features Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist System that maximizes vehicle stability on low-traction surfaces (ice, snow, etc). Vehicle Stability Assist does this by monitoring and counteracting wheel slip and enhancing steering control.
The Vehicle Stability Assist feature can change your vehicle’s direction if it goes out of control.
Say, your car is veering off its original path; the VSA system will apply the brakes and reduce engine output. This will force the vehicle to return to its original path, restoring stability.
Traction Control System
The Traction Control system minimizes wheelspin and prevents loss-of-traction situations. As your wheels have low grip in winter weather, they can lose traction and cause your vehicle to slide off the pavement.
When your wheels are losing traction, they start to spin excessively, indicating that they are not gripping the road properly. Traction Control can detect excess wheelspin by monitoring wheel rotation.
Should one or more wheels be moving faster than the vehicle, Traction Control will work to reduce the spinning of such wheel(s). It will either reduce the engine output or brake the wheels, or do both.
Either way, your wheels will stop spinning rapidly, and they will regain traction.
Antilock Braking System
The Antilock Braking System enables you to brake safely on surfaces covered in ice or snow. Braking on wet surfaces actively increases chances of locking up your wheels. ABS ensures this hardly happens by modulating brake pressure on wheels.
Different sensors will monitor the rotational speed of your wheels while you brake and feed the information into the ABS.
If a wheel’s rotational speed drops rapidly under braking (signaling lockup), ABS immediately reduces brake pressure. This allows the wheel to regain its speed and averts a lockup situation.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
The Electronic Brake Force Distribution prevents your wheels from locking up when you brake. This is similar to what the Antilock Braking System does.
However, the EBD works in a way that’s different from the ABS. It transfers brake pressure to wheels based on their load, speed, and road conditions. This prevents the application of excess brake pressure on wheels that can cause them to lock up.
Depending on what trim you buy, the Honda HR-V has heated front seats and climate control system. The heated front seat keeps you warm as you drive on cold winter days.
Meanwhile, the climate control system can heat up the cabin so the driver and passengers can stay warm.
Make sure to also read our article on driving the Honda CR-V in snow and winter.
Does a Honda HR-V Have Snow Mode?
Some latest SUVs and trucks have a Snow Mode feature, which helps with navigating snowy conditions. Activating Snow Mode on such models modulates vehicle systems to increase traction and stability in deep snow.
The Honda HR-V lacks a Snow Mode button, although it may get one later. In the meantime, you have features such as Real-Time AWD, Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Assist that help with snow driving.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on HR-V?
You can install snow gear on the HR-V. Some snow gear we can recommend putting on the Honda HR-V include snow socks, snow tires, and snow chains.
However, there are things you should keep in mind before buying snow gear. The first is that local governments have varying regulations on what snow gear is permissible.
For instance, some areas prohibit the use of snow chains and/or snow socks. However, such areas, more often than not, will ask that you use snow tires.
You must also remember that it’s necessary to measure your tires before you buy snow gear. Your tire size and other related information should be on the sidewall. Check it so you don’t buy snow gear that doesn’t fit your tires.
Also check out our article about driving the Honda Clarity in snow and winter.
How Much Snow Can a HR-V Handle?
The Honda HR-V is a subcompact SUV, so its ability in snow is not comparable to a big truck like the Honda Ridgeline. Still, it can drive well in the average snowfall without getting stuck mid-transit.
AWD-equipped HR-V models can handle more snow than the FWD-equipped models. Thus, if your area gets heavy snowfall, an AWD HR-V is a sensible choice.
How Do HR-V Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
Honda uses fuel-injected engines on all its models, including the HR-V. This allows it warm up rapidly run, regardless of weather conditions.
The HR-V is never affected by cold weather, so when freezing temperatures arrive it will operate flawlessly.
In some cases, though, your HR-V may refuse to run properly in winter. This could result from faulty components such as bad batteries, worn spark plugs, etc. It could also be that you have bad gasoline in your engine.
Can a Honda HR-V Drive on Ice?
The Honda HR-V can drive comfortably in different winter conditions–and that includes ice. Particularly when equipped with available AWD, the HR-V can navigate slick, ice-covered surfaces without slipping or sliding.
However, the fact remains that the HR-V is a SUV, even if it’s of the subcompact type. This means it has higher rollover risk compared to a smaller vehicle. Driving carefully on ice is best for your safety and other road users.
Does the HR-V Have 4WD?
No, it doesn’t. The base Honda HR-V comes with standard front-wheel-drive, while all-wheel drive is standard on the Touring model. On the other models, all-wheel drive is available as optional equipment.
If you are planning to drive in winter, then it makes sense to opt for an AWD-equipped HR-V model. It may be more expensive, but it is worth it.
What About Older HR-V Models and Winter Driving?
The HR-V was released in 2015. Those models had standard Antilock Brake System, Vehicle Stability Assist, Traction Control, and other features that improve winter driving.
Based on this, we’d say the older HR-Vs are quite good at handling winter conditions.
Please also read our article about driving the Ford EcoSport in snow and winter.
Do HR-Vs Need Snow Tires?
Snow tires are advisable for anyone planning to do frequent winter trips. Although the salesperson at the tire store will tell you all-season tires are good in winter, they are not. Here’s why you need to buy snow tires in winter:
- Specially formulated compounds: The tread compound on your all-season tires typically hardens in cold temperatures, reducing its grip on roads. In contrast, snow tires are made from special compounds that are flexible, even when temperatures dip to subzero levels.
- Safer braking: During emergency stops, you may be tempted to slam your brakes; doing this with all-season or summer tires can be dangerous because it can cause skidding. By comparison, the flexibility of snow tires means you can brake hard without fear of skidding or slipping.
- Increased hydroplane resistance: Hydroplaning is what happens when a vehicle slips and loses stability while driving on a wet surface. It occurs when water (usually from melted snow or ice) builds up under the tread. Snow tires have special groves that remove water from under the tread and stop your car from hydroplaning.
- Maximum traction: Snow tires have sipes or slits that help cut into ice and snow for better traction and control. This ensures safer driving and handling in winter conditions.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow on A HR-V?
You cannot plow with a HR-V, so there’s no reason to mount a snowplow on it. If you attempt to plow with your HR-V, you may damage its transmission, engine, and other vital components.