What did the HR-V do so right that people are still putting down orders? Is its shape? The price? Or its 5-year warranty with unlimited mileage? This new HR-V “Great Thinking Inside” commercial from Honda highlights some of their greatest hits in recent times that had won over the hearts and minds of people in their respective eras.
The video starts off with the iconic second-generation CR-X, which was noted for the use of the legendary B16A engine, making it one the first cars to use Honda’s now-synonymous VTEC variable valve timing and lift technology. Much of the CR-X’s oily bits, including its all-round double wishbone suspension and B16A engine, were also adopted in the more practical fourth-generation Civic EF hatch, which wraps itself around the CR-X. It was this combination of sophisticated suspension and rev-happy engine that cemented the Civic name as the de facto Japanese hatchback.
The Civic then parks itself into a 1991 fourth-generation Prelude coupe, which was an icon with its own distinctive styling, laudable handling, fine 2.2-litre H22A VTEC engine, and sporting an electronic four-wheel steering system that was a successor to the mechanical system its predecessor pioneered. From there the Prelude takes a chronological step back to the 1990 Honda Accord Wagon CB9, the rare station wagon version to one of Honda’s most widely recognised cars, which elevated the Accord name from being an upsized Civic to becoming a proper executive car.
The Accord then transforms itself into the 1992 CR-X Del Sol, a car that represented a huge departure from the CR-X hot hatch formula to adopt a more fair weather friendly targa top design. There was no denying that its unique eye-catching looks enthralled a generation, but its real party piece was its TransTop system, where the roof would be stowed away by two mechanical arms that rises from the rear trunk lid, grabs the targa top and pulls it back beneath the trunk lid. A system that was needlessly complicated, but very, very cool.
From the ingenious Del Sol, we move onto the exciting S2000 roadster, a roadster which needs no introduction and possibly the most exciting car of the new millenium. With its high-revving 2-litre VTEC engine, rear-wheel drive layout, and 50:50 weight distribution, the S2000 was the ideal embodiment of a Honda sports car. In retrospect, the HR-V’s driver-focused cocooning interior does bear an uncanny resemblance to the S2000’s cabin.
Completing the transition from S2000 to HR-V, the commercial highlights the rather unique 2003 Honda Element SUV. Based on a modified CR-V platform, and sold only in North America, the 4-seater Element was a fun take on the whole SUV genre, with its modern family-friendly cubist body that resembled a Tonka Toy, impressive packaging, and unique suicide doors that allowed passengers to get in and out with greater ease. There wasn’t anything quite like it when it first came out, and the Element proved to be extremely successful in America outperforming Honda’s own estimates and even inspiring other carmakers to follow the Element’s angular style. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery.
And from the Element comes the HR-V, though bearing no direct hereditary links between one or the other, the HR-V is introduced as a new and unique icon to Honda’s stable. And judging by how well it is doing here, who are we to argue?