On April 22, Honda opened its order book for the third-generation HR-V in Japan. In Europe, it will be available by the end of the year. The small SUV was brought out for show and tell at the Shanghai auto show last week. Meanwhile, however, Honda still hasn't announced or shown anything regarding the model that will eventually be offered in North America. Again, the HR-V coming to Asia and Europe was announced back in February!
So there’s a neat little mystery surrounding the potential North American 2022 HR-V that many are waiting for. The rise in popularity of small SUVs has made the current edition of the model a success here, even though its design dates back to 2013.
In 2020, with 10,306 units sold, the HR-V was the third choice of Canadians among all Honda products. While it lagged far behind the brand's two champions, the CR-V (44,495 units sold) and Civic (42,996), the gap between it and the fourth-place Pilot (7,709) and fifth-place Accord (6,473) was still significant.
In the U.S., where consumers are generally less fond of small vehicles, the HR-V still did well. With 84,027 units sold last year, it stood at fifth place on the brand's sales chart, between the Pilot (123,813) and the Odyssey (83,409).
In the U.S., the HR-V's sales helped it reach fourth spot in the small utility (some say sub-compact) category, a segment that includes no fewer than 20 rival models! In Canada, it came in sixth, which is not insignificant either.
A recent Automotive News report about the third-generation HR-V indicated that Honda has developed two different versions this time around: one for North America and the other for the rest of the world.
The report also clams that the new HR-V, which will be larger than the current edition, will have a design that suggests more robustness. What’s more, if Honda's announcement this week about the electrification of its models is anything to go by, this new SUV should go the same way.
That description fits, at least to some extent, the vehicle presented to Europe and Asia (for the Japanese and Chinese markets, it’s known as the Vezel). Its body has an arched roof, evoking the silhouette of a coupe, and smooth surfaces into which various elements such as the headlights are subtly integrated.
The automaker did not disclose its overall length, but we do know that rear seat occupants have 35 mm more legroom than the outgoing model.
Standard wheels are now 18 inches and the front overhang has been shortened to "reinforce its SUV character," the automaker says. In addition, ground clearance has been raised by 10 mm, while body height has been lowered by 20 mm, a change that some might consider contradictory to the very meaning of the HR-V acronym: "Hi-Rider Revolutionary Vehicle".
The revolutionary aspect remains, however, since the global-market HR-V is now offered with a hybrid engine that the manufacturer promises is eco-efficient (although it doesn't give a figure for this performance). Called e:HEV, this powertrain combines a 1.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine with two electric motors that provide a net power of 131 hp. It remains to be seen whether this powertrain will make its way to our shores and what the mysterious new North American HR-V will look like.