The first teasers of the 2021 Honda HRV (2021 Honda Vezel) are officially out ahead of its world premiere on 18 February 2021. Sales of the reportedly India-bound upcoming SUV are to kick off in Japan in spring (March-May).
The teasers give a glimpse of both exterior and interior of the all-new Honda HR-V. On the outside, the upcoming model features a stylish stance with a significantly more rakish back glass, slim new tail lamps, squarish fuel filler flap, an e:HEV badge on the tailgate and a two-tone scheme. On the inside, we observe a slimmer dashboard, a new touchscreen infotainment system, physical knobs for climate control (instead of a touch panel), and a panoramic sunroof.
At the end of last year, a report from creative311.com said that training for the 2021 Honda HRV at Japanese dealerships is likely to start as early as next month (January 2021). Japan would be the upcoming SUV’s global launch market. The release of the training material could lead to preliminary details like specifications, colour options and grade-wise features surfacing on the web in the coming weeks. As per local reports, production of the current Honda HR-V (marketed as the Vezel in Japan) is to conclude in February.
The next-gen Honda HR-V would be launched in India to consolidate the brand’s weakening line-up. With the Honda Civic and Honda CR-V exiting our market, the Honda HR-V would become the new flagship Honda car in India. Early last month, a report from cartoq.com said that Honda is working on bringing the next-gen HR-V to India.
As road-testing of the 2021 Honda HRV (or ‘2021 Honda HR-V’) continues in Japan, social media is awash with spy shots of every angle. After twitter user Kyan0727 posted a picture of the next-gen Honda HRV in October 2020, showing its raked rear angle and the shape and the glow pattern of the tail lights, twitter user KAZ90501217 had shared a picture previewing the front three quarters in November 2020.
The 2021 Honda HRV will follow the design direction of popular premium B-SUVs. We are talking about models that are on sale, like the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos, and global cars such as the TNGA Toyota Yaris Cross and the smaller, DNGA Toyota Raize. A high ground clearance, upright front fascia, flattish bonnet and a strong horizontal axis are some of the design characteristics common to the aforementioned models that lend them a strong and planted look. The next-gen Honda HR-V will also have these traits, as portrayed in our rendering.
Spy shots have shown the next-gen Honda HR-V (next-gen Honda Vezel) featuring traditional proportions that give it more of a boxy silhouette. The design of lights, the stance and the silhouette are reminiscent of the Honda concept:E electric SUV from the 2020 Beijing Auto Show.
The 2021 Honda HRV will have a large hexagonal grille, sleek three-element LED headlamps featuring a dash of LED DRL on the top and a new intake. On the sides, a sleek new greenhouse and hidden door handle will give it a sharp and sporty styling. The roofline won’t fall steeply like in the outgoing model, which could mean more headroom for the rear-seat passengers. A rakish back glass and slimmer, LED tail lamps would add to the sportiness and sophistication of the crossover’s design. Changes at the rear will include a new roof spoiler, a repositioned license plate indentation and a flatter bumper.
There’s no word on the specifications of the 2021 Honda HRV, but Japanese reports suggest a 120 mm longer, 10 mm wider and 5 mm lower body compared to the old model, which is 4.3 m long, 1.8 m wide and 1.6 m tall. These dimension changes could mean Honda is positioning the HR-V higher to take on even the Jeep Compass. The new design could find more favour among Indian customers who are fussy about rear-seat comfort. It is also said that the all-new model will have the luxuries of a Toyota Harrier that was launched in Japan last year.
The Honda HR-V is a repeatedly on-and-off model for India. After a series of changes in the decision regarding its launch for 7 years, it’s back in consideration, and could be introduced as a hybrid-electric SUV.
In an interview with financialexpress.com in July 2020, Gaku Nakanishi, President & CEO, Honda (India), acknowledged the crossover whitespace between the Honda WR-V and Honda CR-V and the massive INR 20 lakh price gap to fill. Nakanishi said that the Honda HRV from the global portfolio seems to be the ideal model to be launched as a premium B-SUV. Further, he revealed that the company is evaluating the launch and will decide how and when to enter that segment.
For its design, specifications and features, India has yearned for the Mk2 Honda HRV, which was originally introduced as the Honda Vezel in December 2013. However, being too costly to manufacture in India, the global premium B-SUV was rejected, and BR-V, based on the cheaper Honda Amaze platform, was introduced.
Reports have explained that the nature of the Honda HRV’s design made localisation complex. The standard electronic parking brake, for instance, meant having to import the whole centre console. Redesigning sections the car just for India was out of the question because of the low projected demand. So, the retail price would have come close to INR 20 lakh (ex-showroom), which was expensive even for a niche model until a few years ago.
A few years later, the relaxed import norms with respect to homologation and the market maturing to accept pricier compact SUVs like the Creta, say costing over INR 15 lakh (ex-showroom) on a growing level urged Honda to take another shot at the Mk2 HRV for our market.
In early 2019, a year after the mid-cycle refresh came out internationally, a dealer preview of the HRV was conducted in India. Road testing began shortly after, and the launch was scheduled, reportedly, during the festive season the same year. Much to the disappointment of Honda fans, very close to the introduction, the project was called off as the slowdown in the auto industry led to a revised demand forecast that made the production of its components at original cost levels for local suppliers unfeasible, as reported by the trade media.
Expected Launch Plan
Honda should launch the next-gen HRV in India sometime in 2022, a year after its global launch and a hybrid powertrain option is a given. In related news, Nakanishi has confirmed that the first Honda hybrid electric car manufactured in India is on track for launch this year, and that model will be the Honda City Hybrid. Honda will likely tap the same hybrid powertrain for the HR-V.
Be sure to return to ElectricVehicleWeb as we update this page with fresh information and teasers.
Featured Image Source: youtube.com/本田技研工業株式会社 (Honda)