Honda Unveils All-New HR-V
Unless you are a particular fan of the Honda brand or you already own one yourself, you could be forgiven for being unaware of the Honda HR-V. That might be about to change, however, as Honda has just taken the wraps off an all-new version that actually looks a bit tasty!
Honda first gave us an HR-V, which according to the Japanese auto giant means ˜Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle,˜ way back in 1998. It was an odd-looking thing that had a hint of one of those cars that double-up as a boat, and it was taken out of production in 2006. It's probably fair to say that not too many tears will have been shed at the news of the demise of the original HR-V, but Honda decided to revive the nameplate in 2013 with a prototype that went on display at the North American International Auto Show.
The production version went on sale in the UK in 2015 and has only had a mild facelift that you probably didn't notice since. That's all about to change now though as an all-new version is unveiled, and it has to be said that this is a case where the term ˜all-new˜ actually appears to be appropriate.
To say the new styling of the HR-V is an improvement over the previous model would be a gross understatement, but it has to be tempered with a warning that it isn't especially original. To these eyes at least, the new HR-V looks like the Mazda CX-5 and the Audi e-tron got together and had a baby and the Honda was the result. That's certainly not a bad thing by any measure, and the styling is sure to attract the attention of a lot of buyers who might never have had the HR-V on their radar until now.
If the new styling is a welcome departure for the Honda HR-V, the powertrain is perhaps an even bigger departure from the old second-generation. Although Honda hasn't released full specifications of the new HR-V's propulsion system yet, it has confirmed that a two-motor e:HEV powertrain will be standard for the first time. As the HR-V is based on the same platform as the Jazz supermini and the Jazz already has an e:HEV powertrain, it's probably a fair bet that the HR-V's unit will be very similar.
The hybrid system in the Jazz is based around a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors, but its extremely modest 108 bhp would surely have to be beefed up to be in any way appropriate for the larger, heavier HR-V?
Only one of the two electric motors actually drives the vehicle, and the other is used in conjunction with the petrol engine to generate electricity for the lithium-ion battery pack. As Honda has already made the commitment to electrify all its mainstream models in Europe by 2022 it should hardly come as a surprise that the new HR-V will be a hybrid.
What about the old HR-V?
When a completely new version of a vehicle is launched it often hurts the resale values of the previous model, and there's every chance that could happen here. Used car values are extremely strong at the moment, however, and there's little sign of them dropping anytime soon.
Any second-generation HR-V models still left unsold at dealerships at the moment will probably attract hefty discounts, so if you do like that model then there will never be a better time to get one. In the used cars market the difference between the second-generation HR-V and the new one is so stark that they could almost be entirely different vehicles, so the launch of the new model is unlikely to have a big impact on used HR-V prices for the time being.
Despite its impressive new look, if the new HR-V is launched with the same 108 bhp hybrid system as the Jazz it could easily turn out to be a bit of a damp squib. If Honda drops something a lot more exciting under the bonnet of the new HR-V instead, the UK car-buying public might actually sit up and take notice of the HR-V for once.