Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

It’s an understatement to say I enjoyed the idyllic Pacific Northwest in Washington State from the Skamania Lodge with the active and outdoorsy-focused 2023 Honda HR-V AWD EX-L. The air was refreshing, the striking Columbia River Gorge was purifying, and the urban, sporty drive experience was oriented toward those who love recreational activities like me and the Fit Fathers movement. The crossover is a gateway into the Honda SUV family and slated for young buyers transitioning into a life of added responsibility, but still covet impressive driving dynamics and new tech features.

Cruise around Stevenson, WA and Skamania County in your efficient HR-V to discover a world full of energetic people tapping into natural escapes when the world becomes too loud. This area grabs your soul with amazing views and whole-body leisure pursuits, from hiking and biking trails to water activities and ziplining. Settling in at the Skamania Lodge was a perfect union for a 2nd-generation vehicle that will attract young families and couples with its longer and wider body and more stimulating ride quality than the model it replaces. In fact, this new HR-V is so far ahead of the earlier HR-V in styling, that it is hard comprehending that the two share the same name.

The interior is comfortable and freshly updated with leather-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-way powered driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate controls, and a respectable 8-speaker audio system with base. Heading out to Spirit Lake for a morning drive, I could wirelessly connect my iPhone to Apple CarPlay for mapping through the 9″ color touchscreen that also features a Multi-View Rear Camera. This came in handy when we backed into a boat ramp for mountain panorama photo opportunities. Wireless phone charging and a few USB ports are also at your disposal. Though, I would like to see another knob for radio adjustments in addition to the volume knob. I’m not sure why automakers are reliant on touchscreens alone for tuning. Lastly, expect the smaller-sized one-touch powered sunroof.

Skamania County is home to flowing waterfalls, effervescent forests, organic vegetation, and stimulating outdoor adventure. Whether you are escaping to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, sightseeing at the Bridge of the Gods, or heading out to the geologic preserve and public recreation area of Beacon Rock State Park behind the wheel of your Honda, the journey will always bring fulfillment to your day. Powered by a competent 158-horsepower 2-liter 4-cylinder engine, I had no qualms pushing up or zipping around the curving roads between locations. All-wheel-drive connecting to 215/60 R17 all-season Hankook tires added more road confidence and electric power steering provided nimble movements. A “drive mode” button assists with Snow Mode for wintry environments and Hill Start Assist will help in cities like San Francisco. The Honda will achieve 25 city and 30 highway miles-per-gallon from the little guy.

Design-wise, the 2023 Honda HR-V fits with today’s modern crossover look. A bit edgy but simple and unique in its own way. Black trim surrounds the vehicle and add-ons consist of a tailgate spoiler, heated power side-view mirrors, LED headlights and taillights, rear exhaust covering, and a larger honeycomb-style grille. But I’m not a fan of the new quirky front fascia.

Available in LX, Sport, and EX-L grades, my Nordic Forest Pearl EX-L started at $28,950 and featured a bevy of safety from Honda Sensing. This technology suite consists of Traffic Jam Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and Collision Mitigation Braking System. But, of course, it’s that time of the year for family vacations and summer get-a-aways. So why not advance the journey in your new 2023 HR-V.