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2019 Honda HR-V: Goodbye, Manual Gearbox

Honda is giving its HR-V subcompact SUV a makeover for 2019, and one of the changes is the removal from the list of options of a manual transmission, which had been offered on the model since it first debuted in 2016.

The looming extinction of the manual transmission has been much noted, as it gradually disappears from the product offering of model after model. In the case of the HR-V, and many other models for that matter, the option had only been offered on the base trim, and it was not possible to combine it with all-wheel drive.

This is tantamount to the manufacturer not really wanting to sell it. In fact, for many manufacturers, the manual gearbox has become little more than a selling tool, allowing them to advertise a model at an attractive low price point. Once consumers visit the dealership, they are inevitably directed towards more expensive trims - and in any case most buyers are not interested in the manual option.

Now, gradually, the manual transmission is disappearing from the list of available options. As of 2019, all of the HR-V versions will only come with a CVT (continuously variable transmission).  The 1.8L 4-cylinder engine, and the 141 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque it delivers, remains unchanged for the new year.

The disappearance of the third pedal at the driver’s feet is not the only change being brought to the HR-V for 2019. Among other modifications, Honda has added variable power-assisted steering, designed to make manoeuvering in tight spaces easier.

The Honda Sensing suite of safety systems will be offered standard starting with the EX version. This package includes lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and emergency braking assist.

Honda has also added materials designed to reduce wind-caused noise inside the cabin, which has been a common complaint when it comes to the HR-V.

If you want to get your hands on a manual-transmission version of the HR-V, you still can, but once 2018 stocks are gone, you’ll have to search on the used-car market.

Of course, even there, the choice of available models will be limited, given how few manual-gearbox HR-Vs have been bought new…

2019 Honda HR-V
Photo: Honda
2019 Honda HR-V