2021 Honda HR-V Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake, acceleration, and electrical system issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Editor: Rita Roberts | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

There are no changes in technology in the 2021 Honda HR-V from the 2020 model. So, it’s not surprising that 2021 model owners are facing similar issues to those experienced by previous model owners. These include problems with brakes and acceleration, including spontaneous acceleration. 2021 owners are also reporting problems that affect the power lock system and ignition, both of which are electrical issues.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

Complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2021 Honda HR-V vary. But the most common problems relate to faulty brakes and the SUV either failing to accelerate or accelerating unexpectedly. Brake issues are filed under Service Brakes, Airbags, Forward Collision Avoidance, and Powertrain, and sometimes more than one of these categories. Acceleration problems are identified as being related to the engine and vehicle speed control, with one being categorized as Unknown or Other.

Other components and systems listed as being problematic include the electrical system, fuel/propulsion system, seatbelts, and seats.

There is also a rearview camera recall, which is listed as a backover prevention problem. NHTSA Campaign Number 23V046000 states that the rearview camera image may not display when the engine is started with a key. This is because of a design error in the audio display power circuit. If the display doesn’t operate, it can reduce the driver’s rear visibility, which increases the risk of a crash. This error affects nearly 115,000 Honda HR-V (MY 2019-2022) and Honda Fit (MY 2018-2020) vehicles.

Additionally, there is an open investigation into loss of motive power at highway speeds that occurs without any warning. There are reports indicating differential seal leaks that result in the rear differential locking up, which causes the loss of power. More reports also indicate that rear differential lock-up sometimes causes the driveshaft to fracture while vehicles are being towed.

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2021 Honda HR-V Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Air Bags
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Seat Belts
Vehicle Speed Control

Brake Problems

The most common brake problem relates to brakes that activate automatically, without the driver touching the brakes. An owner from Tennessee states that this has been happening for about two months when driving down the highway with nothing in front of the SUV. He explains, “The brake light comes on,” and “it goes beep beep and the brakes slam on really hard.” The brakes make a grinding sound when this happens. “It’s done that three times on me just today.”

An owner from Virginia states that between October 2021 and February 2022, he took the SUV to dealerships five times. The brakes either “activated without my touching them,” or stopped the vehicle “as I was slowing down for a stoplight. This could cause someone behind me to ‘rear-end’ my car.” On four occasions, the dealership was unable to duplicate the issue and couldn’t find any codes. On one occasion, they adjusted the cameras and aligned the front wheels. After the fifth visit, “the service coordinator supposedly turned off VSA (vehicle stability assist), but the brakes applied themselves two more times.” The complaint adds that, “Every time these incidents occur the indicator ‘BRAKE’ flashes on.”

An owner from Michigan has a different problem. “When I have to abruptly brake, the transmission occasionally slips and/or skips. I bought this car brand new, and I have only had it [for] seven weeks. I should not have performance issues at this stage.” The complaint says that the dealership hasn’t been able to replicate the issue.

An owner from Georgia states that the SRS (supplemental restraint system) light, which relates to the vehicle’s airbags, came on one morning. Also, the brake indicator light comes on when the HR-V gets “too close to a vehicle,” causing it to brake suddenly and stop.

Acceleration Issues

While some 2021 Honda HR-V owners identify lack-of-acceleration problems as a loss of motive power, it appears that dealers don’t see it this way. For instance, an owner from West Virginia states that in six instances, when traveling on the interstate, “when we press on the gas it does nothing. The dealer told us it’s in the software and was designed that way.” That was in July 2023, more than seven months after the loss of motive power investigation was launched.

In March 2023, an owner from Ohio had a similar experience. “Pressed gas pedal and car did not accelerate. This is [the] 3rd time this problem [has] occurred.”

One of the earliest complaints about this issue was in June 2021. An owner from New York states: “While driving at low speeds and attempting to accelerate the vehicle lost power.” Even when the driver “depressed the accelerator pedal to the floorboard,” the SUV wouldn’t move. The dealer said “the vehicle was working as designed,” and it wasn’t diagnosed or repaired.

Another owner from Ohio reports the opposite problem. “The car accelerated unexpectedly… toward several oncoming cars.” It had not been inspected by a dealer at the time of the complaint.

Problems with the Electrical System

An owner from Texas describes how the power lock system failed after a rainstorm, and she couldn’t open the doors of her 2021 HR-V. As a result, she was trapped in the SUV. Additionally, she states that the theft alarm system activated independently. On other occasions, the doors would lock and unlock independently. The dealer replaced the battery, but the failure recurred when the weather turned bad again. This time, the dealer said there was an electrical junction box that needed to be replaced. They also needed to replace a portion of the wiring located under the headliner. At the time of the complaint, the vehicle had not been repaired.

An owner from North Carolina wasn’t able to get the key into the ignition to start his Honda HR-V that had only about 876 miles on the clock. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, who couldn’t duplicate the failure. While taking it back to the dealer a second time after the failure recurred, the SUV would not turn off. The dealer was able to turn it off but, once again, could not duplicate the failure. The SUV wasn’t repaired.

Other Problems

Two other problems worth mentioning concern the sunroof shattering “for no reason,” and an injury caused by an airbag that malfunctioned when it deployed.

The latter complaint, filed as a problem involving the airbags, seat belts, and seats, explains how the HR-V was hit on the left-hand door, fender, and bumper when another car went through a red light. Apart from $15,709 damage to the SUV, the “airbag deployed [and] hit me in the face causing (a) swollen bruised eye.” A post-crash problem is that, because the airbag deployed, the owner must replace the seat frame and seat belt. However, the driver’s side seat belt is on a national-global backorder with no ETA. With 12 months left on a lease, the owner states he is “trying to get compensation from Honda to return the lease car but the body shop will not release the car. I am a senior who is still working, with no transportation to work.”

Next Steps If You Have Reoccurring Problems

Do you think you’ve bought a lemon? If so, a lemon law legal firm like Lemberg Law can help to work out your lemon case at no cost to you. After all, the law makes Honda pay legal fees.

Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. So, if you have problems with your 2021 Honda HR-V that make you think it’s a lemon, contact us. We have helped many car owners in this position.

All you have to do is call the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill out a contact form to requet a free evaluation of your problems.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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