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Will Malaysia Get The 3rd-Gen Honda HR-V In 2022? Here's What We Know.....


Will Malaysia Get The 3rd-Gen Honda HR-V In 2022? Here's What We Know.....

We’re about a year past the point where the 3rd-generation Honda HR-V was first revealed to the world in production form. It’s reached Europe and other Asian countries, even our nearest neighbouring countries, but has so far eluded a Malaysian premiere. Is 2022 the year we see it on our shores?

As has become a typical occurrence, Malaysia is behind the curve when it comes to receiving the latest and greatest vehicles from the various auto manufacturers. In the case of Honda, the 11th-generation Honda Civic, City, and City Hatchback only got its local debut after Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.

So it goes - again - with the newest 3rd-generation HR-V. At the time of writing, the Indonesian market is being primed for its imminent launch having already gotten its market entrance in Thailand (November 2021) and Singapore even before that (June 2021).

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Europe

However, despite being late to the party, the Malaysian market does end up receiving the bulk of goodies that other markets had earlier access to. For example, with exception of the smaller 1.0-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine in the City sedan and Hatchback, those cars arrived with the majority of their spec sheets intact, so we can expect the same for the all-new HR-V.

Since HR-V’s eventual local introduction is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’, this also means we can make some educated guesses on what exactly will be available in showrooms when the time comes.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Europe

What Does It Improve On?

Honda would sure provide a blanket answer, declaring “Everything is better!” - but that might not be too far removed from reality. The outgoing model, the 2nd-gen HR-V was a beast in terms of all-round usability and practicality and, despite its age (since 2013), still manages to put up a strong fight against much newer B-segment crossover rivals.

Obviously, the first aspect of the all-new model worth talking about is the exterior design. It boasts a much more squarish silhouette while retaining the rounded edges that give it a visual link to the 11th-gen Civic and Accord.

In a sense, it does look sportier even in base trim and without the RS cosmetic extras. The rake of the rear windscreen itself gives a ‘coupe-SUV’ impression, so it’s pretty clear that Honda trying to make the new model appeal to a younger crowd.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Europe

The 3rd-gen HR-V is built on the new Honda Global (Small Car) architecture that’s shared with the 4th-generation Jazz and will underpin the majority of future passenger models from the brand. Though the main purpose of the unified platform is to streamline costs by expanding modularity, it does introduce improved structural integrity, increased cabin volume, reduced weight, better drivability, and better support for electrified powertrains.

Add to that the claimed refinement and handling benefits of the more rigid yet lighter body as well as the new bushings, mounts, and retuned suspension, and it should easily surpass the older model's more conservative driving manner.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid

Powertrain - You'll Have Options

A headline change here is the absence of legacy engines. Instead of a carry-over 1.8-litre i-VTEC naturally aspirated four-cylinder, we see a switch to the exclusive use of the newer 1.5-litre mills.

As with our neighbouring markets, the standard engine is expected to be the now-established L15B. However, it arrives in the all-new HR-V without a turbocharger and has reduced output of 118PS and 142Nm just like City E, S, and V variants.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid

A notch up the pecking order we find the e:HEV version with Honda's i-MMD hybrid system (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive). It uses the same engine, albeit one that runs the more efficient Atkinson combustion cycle, to power an electric traction motor that delivers 106PS and 253Nm to the front wheels.

You’ll notice these are identical figures to that of the City RS and City Hatchback RS, but given the extra bulk of the HR-V, we’re not expecting identical performance. It’ll be interesting to compare the Honda against its rivals in the Malaysian market as the majority of them do deliver more grunt and pace on paper, but we might be pleasantly surprised come launch.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Singapore

Interior - Lagilah Premium

By volume, the all-new HR-V is slightly down on its predecessor thanks to being slightly shorter from nose to tail. It's lower too, but 20mm wider than before to accommodate its lower-slung coupe-like body.

That said, Honda has sought to keep the cabin experience in their newest crossover a commodious one, utilising its much-known use of excellent interior packaging to yield unexpected levels of cabin space which should at least be on par with the outgoing model in terms of shoulder room (extra width?) and is claimed to improve on legroom despite the same wheelbase length of 2,610mm. Headroom could be a weakness, though, thanks to that heavily raked rear screen.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Interior

Upfront, the dashboard has seen a total overhaul and adopts floating (but with a sizeable back panel) 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and full-width look HVAC vents as the 11th-gen Civic. Buttons on the centre stack have been reduced to ones surrounding a trio of knobs for climate control and some extras on the multi-function steering wheel, giving a very minimal aesthetic overall.

Honda Connect plays a larger role in the all-new HR-V, though its breadth of ability is contingent on the background infrastructure available locally, and in Japan is even able to support having its own in-vehicle WiFi network, but like the panoramic glass roof, we’re unlikely to receive that in Malaysia.

2021 Honda Vezel - e:HEV Hybrid AWD

Honda Sensing - It's About Time!

Arguably, the big headlining feature here is the full inclusion of the Honda Sensing suite, something that the outgoing model sorely lacks, being the only current model in the Malaysian line-up to not support active safety.

When it does arrive, and knowing that it cannot afford to lose further ground to competitors, we expect the majority of the incoming range to feature some Sensing tech, if not the full complement altogether.

Still, seeing as how the City and City Hatchback only arrive with LaneWatch in the 1.5V, we’re not holding our breath for anything but the usual 6 airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control in the base variants with Sensing reserved for the top-rung petrol-only variant and the e:HEV.

In those guises, buyers will be treated to autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and front departure alert. Also of note is the continuing absence of rear cross traffic alert.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Europe

So…When Is It Launching?

Good question! Our best guess would be the second half of 2022 based on what we’ve been hearing of the upcoming Indonesia-spec HR-V that will significantly overlap with the ones we can expect in local showrooms (see the section below).

Add to the near back-to-back launches of the Honda City Hatchback and 11th-gen Civic, both being locally assembled putting stresses on Honda’s manufacturing facility in Pagoh, Melaka which is only expected to ease further into the year.

As was the case with both aforementioned cars, Honda is unlikely to greenlight a Malaysian debut should the all-new HR-V not be ready in volume for post-launch customer deliveries as a locally-assembled (CKD) model. Accumulating that initial inventory will take time, of course, but will be a much smoother undertaking given the established foundations/experience of producing the i-MMD hybrid powertrain for the City e:HEV.

2021 Honda Civic RS 1.5 Turbo

Ada VTEC Turbo?

The fortunate aspect of a delayed launch only after a few of the major ASEAN markets have received their lot of HR-Vs is the possibility of alterations after the initial rollout.

Recent filings by Honda with the Indonesian tax office seem to confirm the existence of a third powertrain option, that being the 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo lifted from the Civic, which is expected to be offered in lieu of the e:HEV hybrid when the HR-V makes its national debut there later in February.

Should this be the case, this engine can be assumed to be included (or at least considered) for the subsequent Malaysian launch as well. Outputs should be similar, if not a match, to the previous 10th-gen Civic 1.5 TC-P at 173PS and 220Nm, mated to the usual Honda CVT. As certain markets - such as China, where it's called the XR-V - did receive the older 2nd-gen HR-V with the VTEC Turbo mill, this isn't an unprecedented move.

2021 Honda HR-V - e:HEV Hybrid - Singapore

While the incoming HR-V e:HEV is busy trading efficient punches with the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, the gutsier turbocharged powerplant should stand it in good stead against other force inducted B-segment rivals such as the Proton X50 and Hyundai Kona 1.6T.

In this case, Malaysia will be the only ASEAN market (at least for a time) to offer both petrol engines - the naturally aspirated 1.8-litre and turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol - alongside the i-MMD hybrid. Those are three powertrain options to cater to the needs or preferences of Malaysian buyers!

Jim Kem

Jim Kem

Content Producer

There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.

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