Since its camouflaged images leaked online, a lot of buzz has surrounded the incoming HR-V. It’s finally here, and the full model change looks a lot better in all its metal glory. Via an online launch, the all-new Honda HR-V debuted in its home country, and judging on its looks alone (and its accompanying presentation), we have quite a lot to look forward to soon.
Looking at the exterior, the biggest difference is the massive grille up at the front. Depending on the variant, you get either a honeycomb top-and-lower grill or a combination of a multi-slatted top and black honeycomb lower grill (e:HEV variant). The front end is also noticeably more upright with a much flatter hood. New headlight units were also fitted onto this model, so that’s a quick giveaway that what you’re looking at is the latest generation. Quite similar to the CR-V, really.
Compared to its predecessor, the windows look less rounded and instead a lot more angular. The doors are also higher, making the greenhouse look a bit smaller. Fans of the HR-V will be glad that the novelty of the rear door openers remains with the all-new model. Fender flares are still standard, but they look much wider and thicker this time, adding a bit more of a sportier look overall.
Moving to the rear, the HR-V looks less bulky with a more back-swept tailgate. As with the front, new taillight units are also fitted and accentuated by a long chrome strip and what looks to be a reflectorized red piece that runs the entire width of the rear. The rear bumper also got a redesign with gloss black trim and a similar metal accent fitted as well.
The interior is still predominantly plastic, but we can see that soft-touch materials are abundant as well. New upholstery materials were also used with materials that Honda said are those that "people normally, ordinarily use (sic)". The cabin is sporting a predominantly two-tone motif.
On to the dashboard, it features what looks to be a multi-layer design. Clear delineations between the dash, air conditioning vents, and the glove box and center stack give it a more organized look and feel. Also, in what looks to be a homage to the older climate controls, the HR-V returned to rotary dials. Yes, the haptic buttons were a big update, but we think it fits the overall theme. Also, Honda’s done away with the in-dash infotainment system. In its place is a “floating” screen dead center on the dashboard that comes standard with Honda CONNECT. It also stores a lot of safety and comfort features for everyone in the HR-V.
Other features a panoramic sunroof, a newly designed "breeze outlet" for the air conditioning, a versatile stereo system and tweeter pods for better enjoyment of audio, and even a foot sensor for opening the tailgate.
The brand's proprietary vehicle safety package, Honda SENSING, is also available, but we can most likely assume this will be for the top-of-the-line variant. It includes features such as adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keep assist. There are also three new functions: rear false-start suppression function, a short-range collision mitigation brake, and an auto high beam.
Now, let’s look at the engine. It seems that the HR-V will be available with two choices. Buyers can opt for a 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a CVT or, for the first time in an HR-V, a two-motor hybrid system found in the e:HEV variants. There are also three e:HEV choices being the Z, PLaY, and the X. These are told apart by the standard equipment that they come with, as well as whether they sport a single or two-tone paint scheme for the exterior. The non-hybrid HR-V, on the other hand, is the G Variant.
Front-wheel drive options are available for all variants of the HR-V, while the AWD system can be fitted in all except the PLaY variant.
The HR-V has seen a lot of success in the Philippines, and rightfully so. It’s seen its share of price increases through the years, but with all its standard equipment across either variant, you do get a lot of value for your purchase. The next question is when we’re going to get it.
Our regional contacts have shared that Thailand will get it sometime in the 4th quarter of 2021. Historically, the PH release of the HR-V takes a pretty long time. But again, it’s already garnered a strong following here, so maybe Honda Cars Philippines will put in a good word for their newest sub-compact crossover. At least we won’t have to wait too long, right?