The all-new HR-V e:HEV was premiered to Europe via the Honda UK Facebook live stream on Thursday 22nd April.
Powered by Honda's advanced two-motor hybrid powertrain technology, the new HR-V delivers a blend of efficiency and responsive performance. The sub-compact SUV joins Honda's e:HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) model line-up for the first time and represents one of the final steps in the brand's commitment to electrifying all its European mainstream models by 2022.
When reimagining the HR-V, Honda set out to create a car with a desirable blend of stand-out design, exceptional efficiency and ultimate usability. Conceived to meet the exacting needs of modern consumers, the new model achieves a rare balance of premium SUV styling and exceptional spaciousness, with compact dimensions and easy entry and exit for passengers. All this is enabled by Honda's 'Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum' (M/M) principle, which centres on the belief that the purpose of technology and design is to serve the needs of the driver and passengers.
With its forward-oriented character lines and smooth surfaces the next-generation HR-V e:HEV embodies the brand's simple, clean, modern design philosophy already seen in recent new Honda models.
Defined by the same key design concepts of function and beauty, the compact coupe-inspired shape is familiar yet exciting in appearance, with a playful character and confident SUV stance. Its sleek silhouette is achieved by increasing road clearance by 10 mm and reducing the roof height by 20 mm compared to the previous model. Increasing the size of the wheels to 18 inches, which come as standard on the all-new HR-V, and reducing the front overhang further reinforce the robust SUV appeal, and provides the aesthetic solidity that modern customers desire.
The clean simplicity of design is realised through the car's smooth surfaces, with exterior design features incorporated into the body shape. For example, the headlights, unique body-coloured grille and distinctive lower mesh grille seamlessly integrate with the forward-protruding nose shape and front quarter panels, giving it a more sculpted appearance and creating a sleek, bold expression.
The body sides present a contemporary, noiseless aesthetic, with a crisp horizontal shoulder line running from the rear as far as the front headlights, generating a sense of forward momentum. The protruding front section and pulled back A-pillar combine to create a premium long bonnet, visually moving the cabin volume rearwards and further accentuating the sleek coupe-like proportions. The combination of utility and aesthetics is evident in the simple, elegant tailgate design, which neatly integrates the tailgate door handle within the three-dimensional rear panel.
Aerodynamic improvements are achieved without the need for unnecessary design features that often compromise styling. An air curtain slit at the front bumper, rear side sill lip and sleek rear light shape all help to reduce turbulence, aided by the rear side spoiler that reduces air turbulence behind the vehicle. The resulting effect is higher stability and better high-speed fuel efficiency, without spoiling the sleek design.
Inside the new HR-V, every design element is dedicated to achieving a sense of generous spaciousness and airiness that connects occupants to the outside world, with levels of comfort and practicality unrivalled in the sub-compact SUV segment. Contemporary fabrics and textured materials create a solid, premium feel, with the quality of soft-touch materials.
The interior was designed with a focus on space and light to elevate the sense of airiness in the cabin. This airy feeling is amplified by a unique ‘Air Diffusion System’ where L-shaped vents are positioned in the top corners of the dashboard. This new system addresses a disparity in traditional vent configurations, where passengers often feel uncomfortable with air flowing directly onto them. The system subtly directs a stream of air along the front side windows to the roof, creating a vortex of air beside and above occupants. The effect of these new vents does not impact directly on passengers but creates a comfortable internal environment for all.
The sense of connection with the outside world begins with excellent outward visibility. This has been enabled by several enhancements. Firstly, a new driving position, which is 10 mm higher than the previous model. In addition, windows that are designed to admit as much light as possible, which are aided by the horizontally orientated, noiseless instrumental panel to the flat line of the bonnet. Furthermore, the mirror attachment has moved lower down the door, improving visibility around the three-quarter area when turning.
Honda's next-generation body stabilising front seats feature mat-structure support, replacing the previous spring set-up, which helps prevent fatigue on long journeys and increases comfort in everyday use. For additional comfort while driving, the interior controls are optimally positioned as close as possible to the driver's field of vision. The uncluttered, simple-to-use layout further adds to the sense of spaciousness, with instantly recognisable audio and ventilation controls allowing for safe and intuitive operation.
Although overall vehicle dimensions are similar to the previous model, the new HR-V offers greater leg room and shoulder space, for an enhanced feeling of spaciousness and comfort. In addition to the 35 mm increase in rear leg room, there is an additional two-degree recline compared to the previous generation HR-V, enabled by Honda's centre tank layout and clever packaging of hybrid components. The platform configuration also allows Honda to retain the exceptionally versatile rear Magic Seat set-up, that offers both fold-flat or flip-up seat flexibility, depending on load space required.
Easy loading access has not been compromised by the coupe-inspired roofline. The clever packaging and Magic Seats, a lower tailgate edge, tailgate aperture, low, flat cargo floor all work in unison to provide this. The resulting cargo space can easily accommodate a wide variety of luggage and lifestyle-related equipment. For example, two adult mountain bikes (with the front wheels removed) can be loaded and stowed upright with ease. Loading convenience is enhanced by a hands-free ‘Power Tailgate Walk Away Close’ function* with increased functionality over other similar systems. The smart key proximity function detects when the key is moving away from the car, to automatically start closing the tailgate.
Storage space within the HR-V is also optimised, a centre console sits in the middle of the cabin plus a front pocket for small items with USB charging sockets in the front and back*, in addition to a wireless charging pad*. The premium audio system and external amplifier*, and touch-activated cabin lights further reinforce the premium interior feel and comfortable ambience.
Applying Honda's M/M principle, the HR-V platform has been engineered with hybrid drivetrain components cleverly packaged into the chassis and within the engine bay. This, combined with Honda's innovative centre fuel tank layout and the integration of the battery beneath the trunk space rather than the floor of the car, enables the HR-V to provide maximum comfort for four adults, despite the additional e:HEV components.
Honda's proven e:HEV hybrid technology delivers a smooth and enjoyable driving experience, with responsive performance and impressive fuel efficiency. It comprises two compact, powerful electric motors connected to a 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine, with peak power output from the propulsion motor of 96 kW (131 PS) and maximum torque of 253Nm at 4,500 rpm.
The e:HEV set-up includes three interchangeable drive modes, automatically selected for the prevailing driving requirements. For ultimate efficiency, the HR-V pulls off in electric mode, seamlessly changing to hybrid mode when the engine is under high-torque demand, with the petrol engine used when driving at higher, more constant speeds. The driving dynamics are enhanced through the various performance modes – Sport, Normal and Econ, while the additional drive mode B can be selected through the gear shifter for stronger regenerative braking and a more EV-like experience. The level of energy regeneration and the strength of the deceleration effect can be adjusted to suit the driver's preference by using Deceleration Selector behind the steering wheel, to provide a variety of driving experiences.
The all-new Honda HR-V provides seamless in-car connectivity that allows owners to connect to their everyday lives with ease. The intuitive 9” LCD touchscreen interface is designed to minimise driver distraction, with a simplified and fully customisable menu layer enabling easy access to convenience features and controls. HMI operation time is greatly improved compared to previous model HMI systems, making it quick and easy to switch between Apps and providing fast response to inputs and commands. The driver is also able to decide how much advanced driver-assistance system information is displayed on the 7” TFT e:HEV meter, to further reduce distraction while driving.
The interface, which is navigated using familiar smartphone-style controls, also enables smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay (through Bluetooth, WiFi or cable) and Android Auto (cable). Over-the-air software updates allows upgrades to the latest features and apps.
The all-new HR-V is equipped with Honda SENSING™, for the first time, and features a comprehensive range of class-leading advanced safety technologies and driver aids. Honda SENSING™ receives an upgrade for the all-new HR-V including the application of a new wider, higher-definition monocular front camera and high-speed image processing chips that improves upon the previous camera and radar sensor combination. It also includes, improved night-time operation of the Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System and the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), which now detects oncoming vehicles crossing the path of the car, including cyclists and motorcycles, and applies the brakes.
New Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) technology introduced for the all-new HR-V improves safety when changing lanes and passing vehicles. The steering angle and lateral G-force is now assessed in conjunction with the enhanced camera images to accelerate the car earlier during manoeuvres. This delivers a safer, smoother transition when pulling out. ACC also boasts a low-speed follow function and brake control to maintain set speed during hill descent.
Blind Spot Information now features on the all-new HR-V*. It uses radar technology to automatically detect vehicles in the driver’s blind spot and alerts the driver via a warning symbol in the door mirror. The detection distance has been improved from 3m to 25m for increased driver confidence.
Cross Traffic Monitor has also been strengthened, this uses rear side radar sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles from left or right when reversing. An audible and visual warning is provided here.
Hill Descent Control, available for the first time in Europe on the HR-V, operates from a minimum speed of just 3 km/h. This technology enables greater and smoother control on low-grip surfaces and steep descents to increase driving confidence in a wider range of conditions – from navigating slippery outdoor carpark ramps to tackling steep snowy roads.
The all-new HR-V e:HEV will be available in Europe in late 2021.