Honda HR-V e:HEV breaks cover…… Kim Henson previews the newcomer.
Honda’s drive towards electrification of its range continues apace, and in fact is accelerating. During an online press unveiling of the new HR-V e:HEV this week, the firm told us that low/zero emission technology is gaining ground faster in Europe than anywhere else in the world, and that the entire Honda mainstream line-up is scheduled to be ‘electrified’ by the end of 2022. Currently some 65 per cent of its sales in Europe are of ‘electrified’ models.
The latest HR-V, Honda’s compact SUV, features sleek coupé-like yet five door bodywork, and under the new skin of the new e:HEV is a twin electric motor power train, in a layout similar to that of the Jazz. The newest HR-V will be available only as a hybrid.
The drivetrain incorporates a 1.5 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine plus two electric motors and compact hybrid system components. The combined output is 131 PS (plus maximum torque output of 253 NM or 187 lb.ft), with the electric motors as the primary driving forces and in most situations with the petrol engine acting as a generator, except in high speed use when it is used to drive the wheels.The on-board technology changes/applies the drive system automatically as required, depending on conditions, but if desired, the driver can select between three drive modes, Eco, Normal or Sport.Advanced technology has been applied across the design of the new car, including vital safety aspects within the Honda ‘Sensing’ suite of features (as examples enhanced recognition is included, and the hill descent control system has been revised).
Further features of the new car, which is the same length and width as its predecessor, include a further reinforced body structure (with a centrally-located fuel tank), redesigned front seats and rear seat legroom that is 35 mm (1.38 in) greater than hitherto.Compared with the previous HR-V, the latest e:HEV version has ground clearance that has been increased by 10 mm (0.39 in), full LED lighting all-round, plus a distinctive full-width rear lamp bar, electrostatic keyless locks, a new interior air diffusion system, and a redesigned touch screen system intended to be more intuitive for drivers, and quicker to operate. Importantly (and sensibly in our view) ‘hard’ switches are used for heating and ventilation system activation (thus avoiding the need to scroll through menus to change settings). The centre console is also new, improving storage space within the passenger compartment, and connectivity features abound (including the incorporation of four USB ports).The designers have retained the much-praised practicality of the HR-V, with Honda’s clever ‘Magic Seats’ and low boot floor design built-in. To further help owners, hands-free tailgate opening is provided, plus a ‘walk away’ close feature.The HR-V e:HEV is brimming with useful ‘high tech’ features and Honda told us that in developing the new car, the company has endeavoured to held true to the approach of its founder Soichiro Honda, in using technology to make lives easier and better for buyers of the firm’s products.
We hope soon to bring you road test driving impressions of the new model. It will be available in Europe from late 2021. Meanwhile interest can be registered via Honda’s website: https://www.honda.co.uk