THE ALL-NEW hybrid-only Honda HR-V for Europe has been launched online.
Although the outgoing version of Honda’s sub-compact SUV has racked up 3.8m sales globally since it launched in 2013, the new model is not just an evolution of the predecessor but a substantial redesign.
Simplicity is at the core of the new look, both inside and out, with a single continuous shoulder line from front to rear and a distinctive, flatter nose with large, body-coloured grille.
Combined with increased ground clearance (10mm), the car appears taller than before, though the more steeply-raked windscreen, lower roofline (20mm) and “coupé-inspired” rear end help to to reduce the boxiness of the silhouette.
The new Honda HR-V also features larger 18in wheels, a shorter front overhang and slimline light clusters front and rear, with seamless front door handles and rear handles integrated into the rear quarterlights.
Inside, the design is similarly unfussy (Honda uses the term “noiseless”), with a de-cluttered dashboard characterised by a single line running from door-to-door and a new fully-customisable 9in touchscreen that has a quicker response time and menu layout that makes finding settings 50% easier than before, Honda claims.
Smartphone mirroring is possible via Apple CarPlay (through Bluetooth, WiFi or cable) and Android Auto (cable), and over-the-air software updates allows upgrades to the latest features and apps.
The driving position is 10mm higher than before, for a more commanding view of the road, and the side mirrors have been lowered for improved visibility.
Honda is making much of new L-shaped air vents and an “Air Diffusion System” that channels air along the front side windows to the roof, creating a “vortex of air beside and above occupants” rather than a blast directly onto them.
Cabin storage space has been increased, with a wireless phone charging pad in the centre console plus four USB ports, with two in the rear, where there’s a 35mm increase in legroom and Honda’s trademark Magic Seats have been retained.
The new HR-V features a hands-free powered tailgate with “walk-away close”, and a lower lip to make it easy to lug items in and out of the rear of the car. Honda claims two adult mountain bikes (with the front wheels removed) can be loaded and stowed upright with ease.
The 2021 Honda HR-V is powered by the same e:HEV hybrid system found in the Jazz, which comprises a 1.5-litre petrol engine combined with two electric motors and a battery pack located under the boot floor, though maximum power is boosted from 108bhp in the Jazz to 128bhp in the HR-V, with maximum torque of 187 lb ft at 4,500rpm.
When setting off and around town the car is powered by the electric motor but at high speeds and when pushed hard, the petrol engine can switch to driving the wheels directly.
The Honda Sensing suite of safety aids has been including on HR-V for the first time, with a new wide-angle, higher-definition front camera and high-speed image processing chips to replace the old camera and radar technology. Benefits include improved night-time operation of the pedestrian, cycle and vehicle collision avoidance systems.
The blind spot sensor has an increased range, while the adaptive cruise control system has improved lane-changing sensor tech. Pulling out of junctions is made safer and easier thanks to improved powertrain response when the car senses such manoeuvres.
New HR-V also features rear side radar sensors to warn the driver of approaching vehicles from left or right when reversing, as well as hill descent control to increase confidence when driving down slippery and steep slopes.
Honda is registering customer interest now via the UK website, with the first cars being delivered in late 2021. UK pricing an specification will be revealed later in the year.
– If you were interested in the all-new 2021 Honda HR-V being revealed, check out our review of the 2020 Honda Jazz and Jazz Crosstar hybrids.
– If you need something with a bit more space, take a look at our extended test of the Honda CR-V Hybrid.
– And don’t miss this review of the tiny Honda e electric car.