Remember the Honda HR-V? The boxy, high-riding wagon that appeared on the Australian market between 1999 and 2001? Well, hazy memories of the CR-V‘s smaller sibling are being refreshed, as the Japanese marque returns to the segment after a 14 year hiatus.
The timing is important: the SUV market continues to boom—and small SUV sales are growing at the fastest rate. And, with the Mazda CX-3 arriving imminently, Honda needs the compact, high-riding HR-V to compete. Scheduled to hit Australian shores in February, Honda’s Australian arm have released some of the specifications of the cars we will receive.
Based on the Jazz hatchback, the HR-V’s dynamics will be distinctly car-like. The only engine at launch will be a 1.8-litre i-VTEC petrol delivering 105kW and 172Nm, although we expect Honda’s 1.6-litre i-DTEC turbodiesel to follow.
The naturally-aspirated petrol isn’t thirsty, though, promising a combined figure of 6.6L / 100km, not far from Mazda’s vaguer promise of ‘low sixes’ for their own CX-3 petrol.
There won’t be a manual, with Honda’s Earth Dreams continuously-variable automatic transmission the sole choice.
All models receive a number of the Jazz’s handier features, including the Magic Seats interior practicality concept, and the touchscreen Display Audio system also seen on the Civic hatch and Odyssey minivan.
Three familiar trim levels will be offered. The base VTi offers alloy wheels, climate control, and a reversing camera. The mid-range VTi-S adds smart entry, push-button start, and LED headlamps—and it really impresses by adding blind-spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking as standard features. The top-spec VTi-L brings leather, a sunroof, and paddle shifters.
Like the CR-V VTi-L, the flagship HR-V can also be optioned with Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System, which adds a forward collision warning alert, lane departure warning, and active high-beam.
Prices haven’t been announced, but the Jazz tops out around $22,000 and the competition sits in the mid-twenties. So, we expect a VTi price around $22,000, heading up to just shy of $30,000 for the VTi-L.