No Hybrid option available in the 2023 Honda HR-V [Update]

Update: ‘Honda electrification strategy (North America)’ section updated.

Honda has revealed the second generation HR-V for the North American market. While the global model comes fitted with an e:HEV hybrid system, which went on sale in April 2021, the version that’s set to arrive in the U.S. and Canada in summer 2022 is quite different and does not get the hybrid powertrain option, not at least at the launch.

2022 Honda HR-V specifications

Honda says the new HR-V shares its platform with the 11th generation Civic. While powertrain details have not been specified yet, the brand has confirmed that there will be a more responsive powertrain, and the SUV will feature an independent rear suspension to improve ride quality.

The U.S.-spec 2023 HR-V will come with a 2.0-liter engine and a CVT in FWD and AWD drivetrain layouts, new information from the California Air Resources Board (via autoevolution) has revealed. The engine in question could be the K20C2 naturally aspirated unit that produces 158 hp and 138 lb.-ft. of torque in the Civic.

In Europe, Honda sells the 2022 HR-V exclusively with an e:HEV hybrid system that combines a 1.5-liter i-VTEC gasoline engine with two electric motors – a traction motor and a generator. The engine produces 79 kW (106 hp) of power and 131 Nm (97 lb.-ft.) of torque, and the traction motor generates 96 kW (129 hp) of power and 253 Nm (187 lb.-ft.) of torque.

USA & Canada get a different version of the new Honda HR-V

2023 Honda HR-V rear three quarter
The North American-spec 2023 Honda HR-V looks to be a more practical design, promising improved space for passengers and cargo. Image Source: Honda

Aggressive front-end

The 2023 Honda HR-V features prominent LED headlamps with an L-shaped DRL, a longer hood with two sharp lines, a shark-inspired radiator grille, and a lower grille with a diamond pattern. Compared to the global model, the North American HR-V’s headlamps are more prominent yet less ‘meaner,’ but the upright radiator grille, the straighter hood, and the bumper’s powerful outer ends give it a more dominating character.

The front windshield wipers remain hidden under the hood when not in use. Honda has also used ‘laser brazing technology’ for the precise casting of the roof to eliminate uneven roof moldings.

Bigger windows

The North American HR-V looks noticeably different on the sides. It seems more practical than its predecessor and European cousin, with larger rear windows that let in ample natural light and give an expanded field of view of the surroundings, making the journey comfortable for the passengers. Another significant change is the traditional rear door handles instead of concealed units of the global spec, which may result from cost-saving measures.

Rear elements that emphasize the width

The new HR-V for the U.S. and Canada has a familiar hunched rear-end for a sporty stance. Newly designed beak-shaped LED taillamps look contemporary, while the sharper edges on the tailgate, and an inverted license plate section, make it immediately recognizable. It also gets a subtle roof-mounted spoiler, a shark fin antenna, and a black rear bumper.

Interior

The U.S.-spec 2023 Honda HR-V interior will likely draw cues from the all-new Civic. A spy shot on BurlappCar.com reveals a freestanding touchscreen infotainment system like the latest Civic and the global HR-V. Honda has not officially released images of the American-spec HR-V as of April 6, 2022.

Citing Honda Large Project Leader Kojiro Okabe, a report from autonews.com filed in April 2021 said that the next-gen HR-V for the U.S. will be based on a slightly bigger platform with more rugged styling. Instead of the global model’s coupe-like rear, it would offer better cargo volume to make it a practical vehicle for recreational activities and inter-city trips.

Instrument cluster

Honda may win North Americans over if it throws in the Civic’s 10.2-inch HD fully digital instrument cluster. Volkswagen’s Taos, the HR-V’s new rival stateside, is available with a 10.25-inch virtual instrument cluster (Digital Cockpit Pro). Small SUV customers in the U.S. and Canada prioritize practicality over style. With the Fit discontinued in these main North American markets, there is pressure on Honda to renew the surviving subcompact model flawlessly.

Google-powered infotainment

The revised HR-V for the U.S. will likely feature a newly developed infotainment system with Google built-in. Honda has confirmed that it plans to launch future models in North America with an infotainment system that allows using Google services directly from apps installed. Customers would be able to access Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play with native apps on the go.

Google Assistant allows sending text messages, receiving directions, controlling vehicle functions, media, and compatible smartphone devices through voice commands. Using Google Maps through Apple CarPlay/Android Auto offers convenience, but it can drain the smartphone’s battery. That won’t be the case anymore, thanks to the built-in app. Google Play will allow downloading apps, music, podcasts, and audiobooks to the vehicle.

Overall we look forward to a cleaner and more modern interior design in the 2023 Honda HR-V.

On why a hybrid is relevant for the HR-V in the United States

Honda has not offered the HR-V with a hybrid system in the USA and Canada. Perhaps, that could change in the new generation, albeit later, as the company strives to increase the share of electrified models in its portfolio. “Our strategy is focused on introducing a higher percentage of hybrids in core models in the near term,” said Dave Gardner, Executive Vice President, American Honda, on June 28, 2021. Moreover, Toyota plans to launch a hybrid variant of the Toyota Corolla Cross, a new competitor of the HR-V, in the U.S. by 2023. Honda can lure potential Corolla Cross Hybrid customers towards its showrooms with an HR-V Hybrid.

HR-V, a model of significance for Honda in North America

The HR-V is one of Honda’s main models in the U.S. and Canada. In the United States., it was the fifth highest-selling Honda car in 2021, where the brand sold 137,090 HR-Vs, recording an impressive 63.1% year-over-year growth (2020: 84,027 units). May 2021 was the SUV’s best month in history, with 15,242 sales.

In the first quarter of 2022 (January-March 2022), Honda recorded a solid 61.1% year-over-growth in HR-V sales in the U.S. As opposed to 26,175 units sold in Q1 2021, the company delivered 42,168 units in the same period this year. Monthly sales of the HR-V in the U.S. in Q1 2022 were 13,487 units in January, 13,340 units in February, and 15,341 units in March.

Honda electrification strategy (North America)

Honda has announced that by 2040, it plans to convert 100% of its North American sales to electric and fuel cell vehicles. In the meantime, it will work to convert 40% of sales to these types of cars by 2030 and increase that count to 80% by 2035. Initially, the company will borrow GM’s third-gen global EV architecture and Ultium batteries to realize an electric car. Leveraging its partnership with General Motors, it has confirmed the Honda Prologue electric SUV launch in early 2024, and the first Acura electric SUV launch a few months later.

Honda’s long-term plan is to develop a new ‘e:Architecture’ specially for EVs. The company has confirmed that it will introduce e:Architecture models first in North America, beginning in the decade’s second half. Pure electric versions of SUVs like HR-V, CR-V, and the Pilot could be realized using this EV platform.

Before introducing EVs, Honda will improve its hybrid portfolio in the U.S market. The company has confirmed the launch of the next-gen CR-V Hybrid in the U.S. this year, followed by the next-gen Accord Hybrid. It expects the Hybrid variants to account for 50% of their sales. The company has also confirmed a Civic Hybrid as a replacement for the Insight, which goes out of production in June 2022. There’s no plan to launch an HR-V Hybrid in the U.S. yet.

2021 was Honda’s best year for sales of electrified vehicles in the United States, topping 100,000 cars for the first time. Globally, Honda aims for electrified vehicles to form two-thirds of its auto sales by 2030.

Next-gen 2023 Honda HR-V FAQs

What is the next-gen Honda HR-V release date?

The 2023 Honda HR-V debuted on April 4, 2022. Its U.S. market launch will take place in the summer of 2022.

What is the expected 2023 Honda HR-V price?

The next-gen Honda HR-V’s prices may start at around $23,000.

Which SUVs will the next-gen Honda HR-V rival?

The 2023 Honda HR-V will compete with the Toyota Corolla Cross and the VW Taos.

Featured Image Source: Honda