AEB now standard across the range, sporty RS variant joins line-up

Honda Australia has released preliminary information for the updated 2018 HR-V range, headlined by the standard fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB), along with a new sport-themed RS trim grade.

Previously reserved for higher-grade models, all versions of the MY18 HR-V get city-speed AEB as standard – operating at speeds of less than 30km/h using a windscreen-mounted laser radar.

Full details of the updated range will be confirmed closer to its launch in August, though the company has shed some light on the sporty new RS variant.

Key features include 18-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, piano black body kit, black rear licence plate trim, a leather-trimmed sports interior, black mirror caps, honeycomb sports grille, LED front fog-lights, and RS badging.

The HR-V RS also gets Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering – similar to the technology used in the current Civic and CR-V – along with front stabiliser bars and "improved suspension" which Honda claims make the new variant "the most engaging HR-V yet".

Exclusive to the RS is the new Phoenix Orange paint (pictured), though pricing for the unique hue is still to be confirmed.

It appears the wider range will get a similar visual upgrade to the facelifted Vezel revealed for the Japanese market (above) earlier this year, including revised headlights with available LED internals, updated bumpers and new alloy wheel designs.

The local range will likely miss out on the Honda Sensing safety suite that is now standard on Japanese models – which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist. It's worth noting the Australian-market HR-V is sourced from Thailand, not Japan.

Other upgrades will likely be revisions to interior trims and finishes, along with a possible update to the HR-V's infotainment system – hopefully bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Power will continue to come from a 105kW/172Nm 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, mated to a continuously-variable transmission driving the front wheels.

"The brief for the new HR-V was clear; keep what customers love, like the 18-way ‘Magic Seats’ and versatile roomy interior, and add some newfound style, sportiness, plus AEB across the range," said Stephen Collins, director for Honda Australia.

Stay tuned for a full pricing and specifications breakdown ahead of the HR-V's August launch.