Honda revives the HR-V to attract younger buyers

Honda revives the HR-V to attract younger buyers

Honda will revive the HR-V name for its new subcompact SUV when it goes on sale in Europe in the middle of next year.

Like the original HR-V SUV sold in the region until 2006, the new car will target a younger audience than those buying the brand’s CR-V compact SUV. “It is an opportunity for Honda to seek out new conquest customers across Europe,” a Honda spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.

Honda is calling the SUV the Vezel in the U.S. and Japan and the XR-V in China. It is based on the Jazz/FIt subcompact hatchback.

In Japan, the Vezel will available as a hybrid with 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a dual-clutch gearbox.

Honda is expected to disclose engines for Europe when the HR-V is revealed at the Paris auto show on Oct. 2. Honda is calling the show car a prototype, but it’s expected to change little in production form.

The more youthful look to the car is helped by a falling roofline that Honda describes as resembling a coupe. That’s partly achieved by hiding the rear door handles in the C-pillar in the style of the European segment sales leader, the Renault Captur.

Honda’s use of a central fuel tank location has created “one of the most spacious and adaptable small SUV cabins” the carmaker said in a statement. The second row of seats can be folded to create a flat expanded trunk area, Honda said.

The new model will give Honda a foothold in a rapidly expanding segment that analysts IHS Automotive predict will hit 1 million sales in Europe by 2020, up from around 500,000 this year. IHS expects Honda to sell a maximum of 30,000 HR-Vs a year in Europe.

The HR-V will be built for the region in Honda’s new plant in Celaya, Mexico.