The Possibility of a Hotter Honda HR-V Emerges

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Suffice it to say no one was talking about Honda’s HR-V subcompact crossover until this news broke. It sells well, quite well, but the little ute — like most subcompact crossovers — may as well be invisible.

What are people suddenly talking about? The emergence of an HR-V Sport on the other side of the Atlantic, boasting a turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder that’s good for 180 horsepower — just like the one found in the Civic Sport.

That mill generates 177 lb-ft of torque, which, while not as potent as the version found in the Si, is a considerable step up from the UK-market HR-V’s naturally aspirated 1.5-liter base engine, which generates 126 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. North American HR-Vs benefit from a 1.8 base mill capable of getting the little ute out of its own way. Still, the 1.8L remains the only engine available, providing owners with just 127 lb-ft to go with its 141 ponies, even in the U.S.-market Sport trim.

Besides the new engine, the Brits gain a black mesh grille to replace the horrible, Acura-esque chrome blade that took over the HR-V’s face following a recent refresh, 18-inch wheels, and a tuned suspension to cut down on body roll in corners. The HR-V rolls a lot, if I recall correctly. It’s worth noting that the UK model, due out early next year, comes only in front-wheel drive guise and carries either a six-speed manual or a CVT.

So, that’s great for the long-suffering motorists of the UK, but what about us? We have the car and the engine; what about a pair-up? Thus far, Honda’s staying tight-lipped on the availability of the engine coming to the North American HR-V, though there’s no reason for it not to. “Sport” should mean something.

The HR-V’s competition is heating up considerably. Just this year, we’ve seen the introduction of the Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Kona, and Nissan Kicks in the smallest CUV space. U.S. volume is lower in 2018, too, with sales down by 6.7 percent through the end of October.

It might not be a vehicle you care about, but others might — and light trucks are where Honda’s growth lies. Giving the consumer reason not to choose the Kona turbo (175 hp, 195 lb-ft) would surely work to Honda’s advantage.

[Image: Honda]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Carrera Carrera on Nov 30, 2018

    The HRV isn't a bad mini SUV. I test drove a manual LX. It was very slow though and very loud at highway speeds. The 1,5T engine would do wonders, at least to the acceleration.

  • Eliyahu Eliyahu on Dec 01, 2018

    While we're at it, how about the 2.0 turbo in the CR-V?

  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I'm at that the inflection point of do I continue to putting money in a 12 yr old SUV entering a heavy maintenance cycle or start shopping.I have noticed comparable new SUVs with $2.5k knocked off the sticker price, but still with the shenanigans of $300 for nitrogen in the tires. However, I have noticed the same 2 yr old SUV which are only $4.5K less than the original sticker price. Usually the used cars price should be 35% to 40% less. This tells me there's a stronger market for used as opposed to new. Part of this is to handle the monthly note. Considering installments of 72 months, you'll never pay the beast off. Just wait till the end of the model year which is just two months away, and I think the comparable new SUV will come with larger markdowns. May not be the color you want, but there are deals to be made. 🚗🚗🚗