The reborn 2015 Honda HR-V will go on sale in February, the company’s local arm has today confirmed.
The Jazz-bazed HR-V urban crossover will expand Honda’s SUV line-up to two models. We knew it was coming before today, but now we know precisely when.
It will sit below the CR-V in terms of pricing and alongside the European Civic hatchback, with key rivals including the Nissan Juke and Holden Trax, plus the slightly larger Hyundai ix35 and Subaru XV.
Honda was something of a pioneer with the polarising original HR-V urban SUV (available in both three- and five-door configurations) produced between 1998 and 2006. While that car in hindsight was ahead of its time, this five-door iteration is arriving to the party fashionably late and staying true to the Vezel concept that previewed it this time last year.
The small SUV segment led by the small-car-based ix35, XV and Mitsubishi ASX but also including the even smaller breed of light-car-based models is up 18 per cent this year.
The HR-V will be one of two new contenders in this expanding corner of the market to launch in the first quarter of 2015. After repeated delays, Renault is poised to launch the Clio-based Captur by March.
That said, while Honda may be launching its offering after some rivals, the HR-V ought to at least be among the segment’s most practical offerings. At 4295mm long, it is about 160mm longer than a Juke, and gets the Jazz and Civic hatch’s brilliant Magic Seats that fold completely flat and drop into the vehicle floor.
While based on the new Jazz platform, under the bonnet is a 1.8-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine familiar from the Civic, producing in this guise 105kW and 172Nm, while fuel consumption is listed at between 6.6L/100km and 6.9L/100km.
It will likely be front-drive only at the start, as that is where the overwhelming majority of sales are. i-DTEC 1.6-litre diesel and petrol-electric hybrid versions (big in Europe and Japan respectively) appear to not be on the Australian agenda for now.
Some overseas versions are also expected to get a direct-injected 1.5-litre petrol option rather than the 1.8. It is expected our versions will come from Thailand to keep costs down, which could potentially preclude some Euro engine options. The CR-V diesel, for instance, is UK-made.
The all-new HR-V will also feature new safety technology – and a first for Honda – called City-Brake Active. This auto-braking technology works at low speed and can assist the driver when a vehicle in front stops suddenly, using a sensor in the rear-view mirror. The system provides an audible warning and can also apply braking.
Honda’s Display Audio touchscreen system is also a feature. It is the same as the one found in the Odyssey, City and Jazz.
“The all-new HR-V is a very important model,” said Honda Australia director Stephen Collins. “The HR-V will be positioned below the CR-V and complement our SUV line-up by offering versatility and practicality along with new safety technology, loads of features and of course a sporty, dynamic drive.
“We know consumers want more choice and we will offer that choice in the all-new HR-V, right into one of Australia’s fastest-growing segments.”
Speaking to CarAdvice earlier this year, Collins set Honda the lofty goal of pushing towards 1000 monthly sales, which would put it right at the pointy end of the segment.
It will compete on price with the likes of the EcoSport (from $20,790), 2008 (from $21,990), Juke ($22,090) and Trax (from $23,490), among other sub-compact SUVs.