Honda 2015 HR-V takes North America back to the future
As eagerly anticipated by Torque News, Honda introduced the latest member to the light truck line, Thursday at the New York International Auto Show. The name HR-V has a following in Japan and Europe and is recognized by many as the original high-tech mini crossover.
Surprisingly, the new HR-V's introduction was limited in scope and specification. From what we've seen, there was no grandiose unveiling, Hollywood produced Video, or kids dancing on stage with surfboards in hand. In-fact, there was no physical 2015 HR-V; it hasn’t been manufactured, yet.
We’ve covered the Japanese only Vezel in earlier articles. looking to the presented photos of the built in Mexico, Fit platformed mini-crossover, we find a rather identical twin to the Japanese version.
Fair enough, we like the concept of an economical smaller than CR-V Urbane gorilla mini- crossover, ready and willing to take on the daily battle of city commuting, inner-city parking and the occasional weekend jaunt to the Wine Country.
A little bit of history Honda style
Honda introduced a super-mini platform based SUV back in 1997 at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Designated the HR-V(Hi-Rider Revolutionary Vehicle) in Japan and Europe, the original SUV crossover would enjoy a production run of 7 years before being discontinued. Known as the most advanced mini-SUV, crossover of the day, the HR-V came standard with a 1.6 SOHC 4 cylinder, or a SOHC VTEC engine in its Real Time 4WD variant.
And, produced one of the lowest carbon footprints of its day.
Rounding out the standard features list was a dual hydraulic pump rear differential, enhanced drive shafts and suspension, ABS, EBD braking and safety features second to none in its segment. The old-school HR-V can seat four in relative comfort while traversing bolder strewn roads or crowded shopping center parking lots.
Marketed by Honda to a younger demographic as the “Joy Machine,” the HR-V lost popularity in Japan and Europe due to its lack of a diesel engine option.
Back to the future
The 2015 Honda HR-V will fill a void in the North American light truck segment left vacant by the exit of Fuji Industries, Suzuki, Geo and under-served by Hyundai and Kia.
What many driver’s want and need in North America is a pocket-sized, highly refined, tech-rich and trouble free cross-over. Smaller than Honda’s most popular SUV, the 2015 HR-V will fill the needs of those drivers wishing for the economy and operating ease of the Honda Fit, with the capabilities of a Real Time 4WD crossover.
We are looking for real competition in this segment from Subaru. It too has super-sized the Forester to the dismay of the entry-level crossover crowed.
While Honda hasn’t released estimated pricing and specification for the HR-V, we do know that the niche will dictate a Honda quality crossover priced below the CR-V and within range of those opting out of the Fit. That equates to a beginning MSRP of under $20,000.
We anticipate the integration of the 2015 Fit’s Earth Dreams engine and the CR-V’s Real Time 4WD drive-train and off-road capability. Our readers like the idea of a Fit-based crossover. Based on the Japanese manufactured Vezel, we anticipate fuel economy to surpass 35 mpg.
Look for the all new CR-V to be released to the North America market, December, 2014.