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Cheaper Honda hybrids coming soon! More grades on the cards for Honda HR-V, ZR-V and CR-V SUVs to rival Hyundai Kona and Toyota RAV4 hybrid cars

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The cheapest CR-V hybrid costs $59,900 drive-away.
The cheapest CR-V hybrid costs $59,900 drive-away.

Honda Australia is about to seriously ramp up its hybrid range, with the focus on more affordable petrol-electric grades of key models.

Honda currently has hybrid variants of each of its five models - the HR-V, ZR-V and CR-V SUVs, and Civic hatch and Accord sedan. However, for the SUVs at least, the hybrid grade serves as the flagship grade only.

That means high pricing that will be out of reach for some. For example, the CR-V RS e:HEV hybrid is priced at $59,900 drive-away. That’s well above the petrol CR-V’s starting price of $44,500 for the VTi-X.

Honda Australia Director, Carolyn McMahon told journalists at the 11th-gen Accord launch in Melbourne recently the company was expanding its hybrid grades “probably later on this year”.

McMahon added that the rollout would likely occur during mid-life or model year updates of its range.

While she wouldn’t be drawn on which model would be the first to add more hybrid grades, the next Honda model update to land Down Under is expected to be the HR-V small SUV. Honda revealed an update to the HR-V in its Japanese market Vezel guise in March.

The flagship hybrid HR-V e:HEV was, until recently, priced at $47,000 drive-away, but it just copped a $3000 price cut as it’s in runout.

Until recently HR-V e:HEV was priced at ,000.
Until recently HR-V e:HEV was priced at ,000.

McMahon said the split of hybrid sales had exceeded the company’s expectations.

“Our current hybrid take-up is around 40 per cent. I think this time last year we said we were expecting around 25 per cent, so we're actually higher than what we had originally set a goal for.”

The sole ZR-V hybrid grade also tops that range at $54,900 drive-away, but with more affordable grades coming, that will likely slip in at less than $50,000, but it’s unclear when that will happen. Both the ZR-V and CR-V are still fresh models in the line-up having only arrived in August and October last year, respectively.

CR-V are still fresh models in the line-up.
CR-V are still fresh models in the line-up.

CarsGuide understands the hybrid expansion will be concentrated on the SUV line-up, rather than the passenger models. The new-gen Accord, launching this month, is a one-grade, hybrid-only offering from $64,900 drive-away, while the Civic is available in petrol VTi-LX and hybrid e:HEV LX guise, as well as fire-breathing - and petrol-powered - Type R hot hatch.

Honda is also not considering the plug-in hybrid version of the CR-V that’s offered in some other markets.

McMahon would not be drawn on pricing for the potential new hybrid grades, but said they would be competitive.

“You'll see when we start to introduce more hybrids that the pricing - we haven't determined it yet - but you'll start to see when we launch hybrids that it will be more in line with the market.”

Some of the HR-V’s rivals have more affordable hybrid grades, like the Hyundai Kona which kicks off at $36,000, the Subaru Crosstrek from $38,590, or Toyota Corolla Cross from $36,480 - all of these prices are before on-road costs, whereas all Honda pricing includes on-roads.

The ZR-V hybrid tops that range at ,900 drive-away.
The ZR-V hybrid tops that range at ,900 drive-away.

Similarly, more affordable hybrid ZR-V and CR-V rivals include the Kia Sportage (from $45,950), Nissan X-Trail ($49,990), and the segment-leading Toyota RAV4 ($42,260).

Asked whether Honda would switch other models beyond the Accord to hybrid only, McMahon said that was not the plan for now, but added that the company was keeping an eye on what impact the Federal Government's proposed New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) may have.

“We'll see how long that demand stays there for (for internal combustion engine cars). It will be interesting to see. I guess that's the curiosity around the new program (NVES) you know - is the consumer demand still going to be there for ICE? You know, we've got to wait and see a bit.

“Certainly production is available for us but … the hybrid strategy was always our strategy. That's what we committed to a number of years ago, and that's what we will roll out. NVES throws in a new component of that. So we have just got to be adaptable and to meet that as well.”

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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