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Honda’s much-anticipated hybrid small SUV has been detailed ahead of its European launch.
The HR-V will launch before year’s end in Europe, where it will be available only with the brand’s new e:HEV hybrid powertrain. Unlike the upcoming Nissan e-Power hybrid drivetrain which is solely electrically driven, or many rival’s predominantly combustion ISG mild-hybrid options, the e:HEV system is closer in design and operation to Toyota’s renowned hybrid synergy drive.
To that end, the HR-V blends dual electric motors on the front axle with an Atkinson-cycle version of the brand’s 1.5-litre VTEC petrol engine.
The electric motors are backed by a lithium-ion battery (as opposed to the older nickel-metal hydride version used in some popular Toyotas), and the combined system produces a competitive-for-the-segment 96kW/253Nm.
Fuel consumption has been rated on the WLTP cycle as 5.4L/100km for the hybrid HR-V. The e:HEV system used in the HR-V is an upscaled version of the one used in the new-generation Jazz, which has been ruled out for Australia.
Drivers will also be able to select three drive modes with automatic electrification, as well as a ‘B-range’ mode which opens up adjustability for regenerative braking for a more customisable electrified driving experience.
The HR-V has already launched in Japan, where it is known as the Vezel, and is also available as a non-hybrid in either front- or all-wheel drive, with a 1.5-litre engine producing 87kW/142Nm. Its fuel consumption is rated at 5.9L/100km. The HR-V drives its wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission regardless of variant.
It is unclear whether the HR-V will be offered as a hybrid only as it is in Europe, or whether it will maintain a fully combustion option for the Australian market. It will be the first Honda model to debut the brand’s new stripped-back interior design language, which has debuted internationally on the all-electric Honda e and Jazz hatchbacks. It will maintain its ‘magic seat’ arrangement.
Honda has recently completed its transition to a new business model, with a refined range, fixed pricing model, backed by a stronger online configurator.
While there are multiple electrified Honda models available overseas including a hybrid version of the popular CR-V, currently the only hybridised Honda in Australia is the Japan-sourced Accord sedan.
The HR-V is set to be part of a range of next-generation hybrid Honda products in Australia, including the 11th-generation Civic.
CarsGuide has reached out to Honda Australia for an update on arrival timing for the new HR-V, which has thus far been earmarked for launch toward the end of 2021.