The Honda HR-V (also known as Vezel in Japan and some other markets) was a hit the moment it arrived in showrooms. As always, Honda somehow got it right first time and in just about every market it was launched – including Malaysia – waiting lists quickly built up.
But no matter how good a product is, there comes a time when competitors have new offerings which start to draw customers away. It’s then time to do a model change and that time has come for the HR-V 5 years after the first generation was launched. Actually, to some, it is considered the second generation because there was a HR-V back in the late 1990s, but that was really a different model concept.
Preview of HR-V prior to its Malaysian launch in 2015 attracted a lot of attention. Hybrid e:HEV powertrain
This time round, the new HR-V gets Honda’s advanced e:HEV hybrid powertrain as standard in most markets. This powertrain is a 2-motor hybrid powertrain which first appeared in the latest Jazz. Unlike the earlier hybrid systems Honda had, the e:HEV powertrain uses on electric motor as a generator and the other as a propulsion motor.
Specific details of the powertrain for the new HR-V are still not available. While it may be an improved version from that in the Jazz, it still has a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine and the system output would probably be around 200 ps.
Honda’s designers have maintained the coupe-inspired profile for the crossover SUV. They aimed for ‘seamless, clean, modern design’ but some may find the overall appearance rather bland compared to the current model. But with car designs, time can sometimes change perceptions and as one designer (not from Honda) once said: “If the design of a new car is a great hit right away, we may have a problem as it can also age quickly”.
Interior space has also been a strong point of the HR-V, and with this new generation, exceptional spaciousness is claimed. Intelligent packaging of the hybrid powertrain and its components, which include the battery pack, has liberated more usable space in the cabin.
Thanks to Honda’s compact, integrated powertrain technology and centre fuel tank layout, the new HR-V also retains the Magic Seats that more versatility than conventional folding seats.
Premium SUV feel
As with the exterior, the interior has a premium SUV feel, but with contemporary fabrics and soft-touch materials. The modern minimalist aesthetic, which is initiated by the horizontal sweep of the instrument panel, is the result of an uncluttered interior and dashboard, with each element carefully positioned to contribute to the sense of space.
The feeling of airiness and space is elevated by a new air diffusion system that creates a curtain of fresh air beside and above passengers, flowing from unique L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard.
The first market that will get the new HR-V will be Japan, from April, with export markets around Asia possibly getting it by mid-year. European markets will have the model in showrooms towards the end of the year. As for Malaysia, a year-end debut might be possible if the supply chain is not disrupted as the model is assembled locally at Honda’s own plant in Melaka.
Prefer the current HR-V? Visit www.honda.com.my to locate an authorised dealer to buy one.
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