An Outdoor Explorer’s Story to Owning a Honda HR-V

Driving Honda HR-V across the desert under a golden sunset

I’m a 22 year old recent college graduate with a mission to be more in touch with the outdoors.

Yet virtually nothing about my lifestyle depicts that I’m “outdoorsy.”  Sure, I dress in Patagonia, carry a HydroFlask with stickers plastered all over it, and post naturesque photos on social media. But the car I drive, the house I live in, and the music I listen to do not scream ‘I love being outdoors!’

Yet, I do.

Before I continue, I need to point out that I’ve never tried to fit into a box defined by labels. Just because I like the outdoors doesn’t mean I need to drive a Jeep or a Subaru. Just because I believe in leaving no trace doesn’t mean I eat all-natural ingredients and confine to minimalism. Instead, I prefer to go with the flow and buy what I like, regardless of its perception.

Finding the Right Vehicle that Fits your Lifestyle

My college friends often wondered why I drove a Honda Civic. It’s not the optimal vehicle to take camping and is not the slightest bit off-road capable. But I loved it!

I’ve owned two Honda Civics in my life. Both got the job done. They got me from point A to point B (on a budget I might add). The Civics’ maintenance costs were low and each had a working stereo. I could even fit a bicycle in the trunk, with some creativity.

My first Honda Civic was a 2004. It was Silver, and I bought from a sketchy dude I met via a Craigslist ad. My parents came with me, just to be safe. Though I didn’t know much of anything when I bought that first car, I was well aware that I needed it in order to get around.

I learned a lot from buying that car, and took that knowledge into purchasing my second Civic. This time, I decided to go with a dealership — it was a black 2007 model I found on CarMax.

My first Civic took me to many parties and practices throughout high school. However, the fun eventually ended by being rear-ended. It was quickly deemed totaled. See ya, Silver Bullet!

My second Civic did the same thing for me throughout college. The only difference is that it also took me  to and from my first ‘real-world’ job for about 6 months. It was just a few months back when I had to say sayonara to this baby, though. My second Civic hit its 10-year mark and it showed — the car was breaking down and the maintenance costs simply outweighed its worth.

Why I bought the Honda HR-V

So, I began looking again. Just getting out of college and tackling my student loans, I needed something that was under $20,000, would be relatively inexpensive for insurance purposes, and had decent gas mileage.

Of course, the first spot I looked was again CarMax, for another Honda Civic. All the criteria matched. Plus, it took the difficulty out of making the decision for what make and model that I should buy.

As I began my search, I came across a review for an HR-V, Honda’s new-ish subcompact SUV. (It was first released in late 2016).  I’ve already dedicated 8 years of my life to Honda, with no reason to stop now.

I’ve always wanted an SUV of some sort, but I knew none of my needs would be met if I bought an SUV. I’d pay more per month, have a higher insurance payment, and also lose out on great gas mileage.

However, the HR-V was almost identical to the Civic in those regards…. but also so much better! It was a little more expensive (but doable), was reasonable to insure, and actually got better gas mileage than my Civic.


Long story short, I flipped a coin and purchased the HR-V. Seriously, I flipped a coin. Heads was a third Civic and tails was the HR-V. Tails it was!

Solely based on my comfort with driving a Civic, I immediately became uncertain with my spontaneous decision.

The author poses with her white Honda HR-V

But after taking it for a ride, it wasn’t long until I figured out how perfect the HR-V is for me! I can now say that I own a vehicle that fulfills my needs, but also fulfills my wants for living more adventurously. Dare I say it, I own the vehicle of my dreams!

Why the Honda HR-V is a Great Fit for an Outdoors Lifestyle

Now, I can fit a bicycle into the back with ease. Heck, I could even car camp comfortably if I wanted to. The body sits a little higher, so I don’t worry about bottoming out when I drive on unpaved roads to reach a trailhead. The seats are very versatile, making it great to roadtrip with. Its fuel economy isn’t too shabby either.

The HR-V also has much more technology (hello, 7-speaker system) and features that make the car great for day to day use, and perfect for the weekends. Exactly what I needed!

Having a subcompact SUV, I am now able to offer up my car for road trips. With my Civic, I was automatically nixed to drive. I finally have a vehicle that is adventure-sustainable.

One weekend, a friend and I had a day trip planned to snowboard in Flagstaff, Arizona. Even though my friend owns a Jeep, I was first to offer that we take the trip in my HR-V. Being able to drive and the 11 inches of snow recently dropped left me stoked!

Both of our boards and gear fit easily into the back. My friend was even able to recline his seat and sleep for half of the trip without moving the boards.

Plenty of cargo space for outdoor adventure gear in the Honda HR-V
My board, minus all of our additional gear we had packed.

The HR-V even took the snow like a champ! It’s worth noting here that I’m used to driving in snow from living in the Midwest for the past four years. Regardless, it took the challenge much better than my Civic ever did. The little bit of extra clearance gave me more confidence that we would make it back safely with no trouble.

After hours of shredding, I was happy to be back on the road to home. Even more, I was happy to be in the comfort of my own vehicle. A vehicle that I am proud to explore the outdoors in.

It may not be a Jeep or a Subaru, but it’s my version of an adventure-mobile, and I couldn’t be happier!

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