In what has been dubbed the complete opposite of previous predictions, Honda has finally taken the covers off of the global ZR-V under the alias of the North American HR-V.
A nameplate first mentioned two years ago, the ZR-V made its debut without much fanfare in China last month, which effectively set the tone for its integration in North America as a completely different model from the HR-V sold in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Japan where it carries the Vezel moniker.
Unlike the originally envisioned ZR-V, previewed last year by the SUV RS Concept widely believed to be the replacement for the WR-V, the newcomer differs comparatively little from the Chinese model externally, bar the orange indicator lenses and single chrome tipped exhaust outlet.
Based on the same platform as the Civic rather than making use of the Fit’s underpinnings as the HR-V/Vezel does, the HR-V/ZR-V measures 4 567 mm in overall length with its wheelbase spanning 2 654 mm and its width 1 839 mm.
Standing 1 621 mm tall, the HR-V/ZR-V, while unsurprisingly smaller and narrower than the CR-V above it, is dimensionally up on the HR-V/Vezel by 232 mm in length, 44 mm in wheelbase and 49 mm in width. Also increased is the overall height at 20 mm.
Like the HR-V/Vezel, the HR-V/ZR-V provides seating for five with boot space increasing from the standard 691-litres to 1 560-litres with the 60/40 split rear seat folded down. As with the Fit and its sibling, the flip-up Magic Seats have been retained.
Being Civic-based, the HR-V/ZR-V’s interior is almost identical in look and design, with buyers being offered a choice of two infotainment systems; a seven-inch on the LX and Sport and a nine-inch on the top-spec EX-L.
Both setups do feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless in the case of the latter, as well as a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, Hill Descent Control and Honda’ Sensing system with among others, Driver Attention Alert, Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, a new, wider camera and Blind Spot Detection.
Boasting a new suspension arrangement of independent MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link at the rear, the HR-V/ZR-V, in the case of the LX and EX-L, is mounted on 17-inch alloy wheels with 18-inch five-spoke split alloys in gloss black being reserved for the Sport.
The biggest turnaround from the HR-V/Vezel is to be found underneath the bonnet where Honda has opted for a single powertrain; a normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol, whose 118kW/187Nm is routed to the front or all four wheels via a CVT.
Worth remembering is that the European-market ZR-V will more than likely receive the 1.5-litre e:HEV hybrid module from the HR-V and Fit when it eventually goes on-sale.
As for the States, sales of the HR-V will commence in earnest from 21 June with pricing from $24 895 (R382 348) for the front-wheel-drive LX to $30 195 (R463 748) for the all-wheel-drive EX-L.
For now, no plans are in place to bring the HR-V to South Africa as the ZR-V.