“ In a World…” O.K., we’ll scratch that opening sentence. Spending 4 days on the road with Honda Public Relations, although always educational, exhilarating and eye-opening , can at times be exhausting and sensory-overload-intense. Our latest press-junket to Miami Beach for the introduction of 2016 HR-V CUV, was all those things and more. Much like the photo above, HR-V is 'living large' in a segment often reserved for cramped driver and passenger comfort sacrificing offerings.
While the Everglades, Alligators, Cuban Cigars and South Beach's “Beautiful People” may have little in common with Honda’s next best seller, they came along for the ride; as the national automotive press took a closer look at the Honda vehicle that will soon, and once again, set the benchmark for North America’s “White Hot” compact and subcompact crossover market. Actually. HR-V fit into to the “Glam” scene a better than one might have anticipated; it’s that kind of a work it, wash it off, and go to dinner sort of ride.
What was learned in Miami Beach
Summer-like winter weather is tough if not impossible to guarantee for drive and review in North America. Our thanks to Honda for choosing Miami for the 2016 HR-V introduction. While not the most diverse environment for a drive review, Miami did provide a proving ground for HR-V’s in-town maneuverability, driver visibility and standard featured street-smarts. However, we've been directed by our friends at Honda to hold first-drive impressions and technical specifications for a few weeks while the world-press catches up with 2016 HR-V. (Take a look at the photo, its true to the vehicle and speaks a thousand words.)
What we do know
Honda designed and engineered 2016 HR-V cooperatively with multinational teams. In this sense, HR-V is a true “World car,” with[very] little difference in specification and design, rather sold in North America, Japan or Europe. We know that 2016 Honda HR-V shares manufacturing platforms with 2015 Honda FIt, enjoys the same frame and cage rigidity, center mounted fuel tank, similar interior ergonomics and 2nd row “Magic Seat” configurable cabin.
If you like the looks, driving dynamics and fuel economy of Fit, but wish for greater foul weather driving capability, traction, a bit more power and coupe-like-CUV styling, you’ll love 2016 Honda HR-V.
Looking to the Los Angeles Auto Show, the first time Torque News encountered HR-V, members of the international press were measurably impressed by this sub-compact CUVs shades of coupe-design driving environment and body styling cues. Again, without over emphasizing the point, what you see in Japan’s Vezel is what you’ll find in the North American HR-V, with a drive train exception or two.
Yes, 2016 HR-V offers a smart All-Wheel-Drive(AWD)option as featured on CR-V, a Civic based 1.8 Liter SOHC i-VTEC gasoline engine coupled to a 6 speed manual transmission or CVT with paddle shifter.
We can also divulge that as with all 2015 Honda offerings, HR-V will come standard equipped with a rear-view-cam.
We can tell you this without reservation: Take a quick glance at the photo above. 2016 Honda HR-V in all trim variants looks better than its photo. As to price and availability? Read our last article with price estimates. It’s pretty close. As to release date, Honda’s pointing to a late Spring release date with our article embargo ending April 30, 2015.
Based on our exposure to the product: We believe that when released, 2016 HR-V will represent the greatest overall purchase value for the dollar spent in the compact crossover segment. As reported earlier, interior driver and passenger accommodations and ergonomics score very high for an economy offering; without sacrificing quality and anticipated engine, electronic, drive and safety performance.
2016 Honda HR-V when released for retail sale in late Spring will redefine the gateway compact crossover segment by offering exceptional utility and coupe-like styling in a quality vehicle priced $ thousands below Honda CR-V and most likely a notch or two above Fit. By limiting engines and trim variants, Honda effectively extends its own SUV,CUV lineup while simplifying the buying process for a very busy demographic.
We look forward to sharing the 2016 HR-V experience with our readers as near future events unfold, and wish to thank Sage Marie, Robin Eagles and Team Honda P.R. for an exceptional automotive preview experience in Miami.