Hona produced the Honda HR-V in two generations separated by almost a decade. The first generation HR-V was a 3-door or 5-door SUV based on the supermini Honda Logo, while the second generation was based on the Honda Fit or Honda Jazz, also a supermini. Classed as a subcompact crossover SUV, the HR-V has a small footprint.
The increasing demand for cars that bore the advantage of SUV but small enough to easily negotiate city streets and access limited parking spaces drove Honda to build the HR-V.
The First Generation: 1999-2006
The ‘Wild and Joyful J-WJ’ concept car previewed it at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1997. Due to the enthusiastic response that the concept received, Honda began manufacturing its production version, the HR-V, which stood for Hi-rider Revolutionary Vehicle. Honda marketed the HR-V in Japan, Asia-Pacific, and Europe from 1999 to 2006.
Honda exported the HR-V to Europe in either of two engines, namely:
- 1.6-litre D16W1/D16W2 inline-four SOHC petrol engine size for the front-wheel-drive version (77 kW, 138 Nm)
- 1.6-litre D16W5 inline-four VTEC SOHC petrol engine for the all-wheel-drive version (92 kW, 142 Nm)
The variants that reached Australia were all 4x4 types. The engines teamed up with a 5-speed manual gearbox or Honda’s Multimatic S CVT. One drawback with the Honda HR-V model was its lack of a diesel option.
The 4-seat SUV featured air conditioning, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, dual SRS airbags, power mirrors, power windows, power steering, folding rear seats, heat-absorbing windows, front fog lights, and an LED brake light array integrated in the rear spoiler.
The Second Generation: 2015-present
After the discontinuation of the first generation, it took a while for the second generation to get back to the market. When it arrived, it was an instant hit. Its concept version previewed it at the New York International Auto Show in 2014, while the production version followed shortly at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the same year.
This generation’s HR-V has the same underpinning as the third-generation Honda Jazz. The US-spec’d version, in fact, rolls off the same assembly plant where Honda produces the Jazz/Fit. It also takes a lot from the Vezel, which was first put on the market back in 2013. If you have once interacted with the Vezel, it would be easy to mistake the HR-V for it.
A 1.8-litre R18Z9 SOHC i-VTEC inline-four petrol engine powers the HR-V and distributes this power via a CVT automatic. The engine produces 104 kW of power at 6,500rpm and 174 Nm of torque at 4,300rpm.
A mid-year refresh in 2019 included a restyled chrome front grille, a redesigned bumper, revised taillights, and new options for the LED headlights.
The HR-V earned high safety scores from three car safety assessment institutions, including the following:
Euro NCAP – 5-star rating
NHSTA – 5-star rating
ASEAN NCAP – 4-star rating for models with driver-only seatbelt reminder and 5-star rating for models with two seatbelt reminders