The Honda HR-V is essentially a ground-up design, starting with its 2014 year. While loosely based on some of the elements of the Honda Civic, the HR-V is Honda’s first real subcompact crossover, marking a strong entrance for the auto maker into that market niche.

The exterior styling of the HR-V is aggressive and distinct, giving it a familiar Honda look, with motifs shared by many other of the manufacturer’s products. The HR-V strikes a nice balance between curvaceous aerodynamics and angular channels and grooves, giving the car a street presence not seen in some of its competitors. Most of the automotive press has praised its exterior design, citing both its distinctiveness and beauty.

The interior of the car is refined yet understated. Tasteful chrome accents throughout the cabin give it a feel of something costing much more than its sticker price. And the cloth seats are a surprisingly comfortable material that has both a space-age, upscale look and a nice feel.

The HR-V is also the only crossover compact to go with a completely buttonless and knobless dash configuration. While the total absence of tactile buttons may displease some people, it’s quite an easy setup to get used to. The large touchscreen display has an intuitive user interface and the operation of the controls generally requires less effort than with traditional, knob-based systems.

The driver’s view is filled out with a cluster of three large analogue gauges. These are nice to look at and easily read in all conditions. The steering is both tight and responsive. The HR-V is a fun car to drive and engages the driver with the road in ways that some of the competitors do not.

The power plant is the only point that is somewhat lacking, although it still gets the job done. The 1.8 liter, inline-four cylinder could, perhaps, benefit from a turbocharger. As is, it produces 141 horsepower and 126 pound-feet of torque. Still, the little engine, when mated to the continuously variable transmission, can push the little crossover from 0 to 60 in just 8.5 seconds. That’s not exactly fast, but it’s not slow either. But the tiny, naturally aspirated engine comes with one very nice trade-off. It gets up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway and just under 30 in the city, making it the most fuel-efficient crossover on the market, at least with the standard engine.

The HR-V starts at $20,000, about average for the compact crossover market. Overall, it’s a great value.

Why leasing a Honda HR-V may be the right choice for you

Many people are set on owning their own vehicle. Yet there are many reasons that leasing can be the superior choice. One of the serious drawbacks of owning a new car is that cars are some of the most quickly depreciating assets there are. The average car will lose over half its value within three years of driving off the lot. And it will lost 10 percent of its resale value the moment it leaves the dealership!

This rapid depreciation, coupled with the volatility of the used car resale market, can actually make owning a new car a far riskier proposition than many people believe. In fact, because of their economies of scale and employment of a team of experts in maximizing cars’ resale values, dealerships are often better owners of cars, meaning that they can maximize the value they get from owning a vehicle far better than an average consumer can.

This extra value that dealerships are able to extract from car ownership can then be passed on to the consumer in the form of much reduced lease payments. While the economics are beyond the scope of this article, the results are quite clear. A Honda HR-V can be leased for as little as $150 per month, while an HR-V bought on loan will often have monthly payments of three times that amount.