We spend a week in the 2019 Honda HR-V, the brand's smallest crossover, and find that it continues to offer a smooth ride, a brilliantly versatile interior with class-leading cargo space, and a good value proposition. At the same time, acceleration is nothing to write home about, advanced safety features are missing from the two most affordable models, the new Sport model offers no performance advantage, and the sportier manual transmission has been dropped from the entire lineup.
The most fuel efficient member of the three-model lineup, the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Electric features a usable range, smooth ride, and hushed around-town driving experience. But it's hampered by a small back seat, a single motor drivetrain that isn't as smooth as some rival models, and a range realistically limited to commuting.
Still looking fresh five years after it debut as the third-gen model, the 2018 Mazda Mazda3 adds standard low-speed automatic emergency braking across the lineup to a slick design, stellar performance, and solid fuel economy figures. But we continue to have issues with the 3's cramped rear quarters, awkward and distracting infotainment system, and the fact that advanced safety features that are only available in an option package on the top trim.
The 2018 Hyundai Kona cruises onto the stage in a class already awash with solid entries from Subaru, Honda, Mazda, and Nissan, along with nearly every other automaker on the planet. What the Kona brings to the party is a solid value proposition, smooth ride, and a durable, practical interior. But it's also hampered by fussy exterior touches, a finicky optional dual-clutch transmission, leisurely acceleration, and limited availability of advanced safety features.