Instead of launching the global model HR-V in North America, Honda has instead decided to offer the nameplate as a mostly bespoke new model that’s based on the C-segment 11th-generation Civic.
They like things bigger in North America, as could be apparent from the average belt size, but also quite obvious with their taste in cars. The HR-V as we’ve known it has been a hit in pretty much every market it lands in, even ones where it adopts the odder Vezel name, but declared too small by customers in the Far West.
Many have attributed this move from Honda as a reactionary one to the success of the Toyota Corolla Cross, which is more or less unaltered from the version that’s sold everywhere else in the world. Though plenty of us have sampled both, we’d actually argue that that HR-V feels just as roomy thanks to that inexplicable Honda packaging.
Still, it does call into question if this bulkier HR-V will start to cannibalise the CR-V, which had already been a close rival to the Corolla Cross. We won’t be at all shocked if this does make it to showrooms in other regions at some point, though under a different name.
This North America specific HR-V also wears a new exterior design that definitely does have some region-specific aesthetic going on. It looks like like it was penned by Acura, unsurprisingly, and doesn’t exactly stand out as a Honda if the badges were absent.
Just have a look at that front end, where the slim headlights have an L-shaped daytime running light signature and meet a downwards trapezoidal central grille that could’ve come a Ford factory. Viewed from its side, is again could come across as rather generic even next to the Civic upon which it’s based.
The crossover does exhibit the longer wheelbase to accompany the increase in overall length and width. Speaking of which, it also inherits the sedan’s door-mounted wing mirrors and multi-link rear suspension setup. The latter should theoretically give it superior dynamics over the global-spec HR-V and its Toyota Corolla Cross nemesis.
Frustratingly, Honda has not disclosed any details about this US-specific HR-V’s mechanicals, meaning we don’t quite know how closely it mimics the Civic or if it borrows powertrain bits from other areas of the Honda vehicle portfolio.
That said, our guess would be that it’ll be offered with a choice of a naturally aspirated or forced induction petrol engine. Specifically, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC with 160PS and 187Nm or a beefier 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo tuned to deliver 180PS and 240Nm.
If Honda really wants to give the CR-V a hard time, it could also seize its e:HEV powertrain which uses the same i-MMD hybrid drive unit technology found in the City RS in Malaysia. However, its wheel are hooked up to a gutsier 182PS/315Nm electric motor that’s replenished/boosted by a 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle naturally aspirated four-cylinder.
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