The next generation hybrid-only HR-V e:HEV is the culmination of an extensive reassessment of modern consumer attitudes. By evaluating how today’s active, connected population identifies and selects high value products, Honda approached its development not only as an all-new compact SUV, but as a consumer product that must appeal through desirability, functionality and usability.

Honda’s research found that modern consumers choose products not only on the basis of competent performance or appealing aesthetics but how it integrates with their lives and whether the product fulfils their exact requirements. Following this lead, the team adopted the mantra “Amp up your life”, focusing on enabling active lifestyles throughout every stage of the new HR-V’s development. The objective was to widen the possibilities of what customers can do with the car to support and ‘amplify’ their everyday lives.

The result is a contemporary coupe-SUV body that appeals through the simplicity of its design, while its exceptionally spacious and versatile interior is more user-oriented and comfortable to sit in than ever. The all-new HR-V also achieves a desirable yet rare combination of premium SUV styling and exceptional space efficiency. It successfully extends the Honda brand’s reputation for quality, functionality and practicality, and presents it with an individual and fun style, all within a compact package.

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Honda began by focusing on its ‘Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum’ (M/M) development principle, which is based on the belief that the purpose of technology and design is to serve the needs of the driver and passengers.

The efficient packaging of powertrain components in an updated version of Honda’s global small platform and the brand’s clever centre tank layout play key roles in enhancing cabin space and enabling four adults to be accommodated in maximum comfort. As well as interior space, advanced design and technology optimises airiness, comfort, ergonomics and versatility.

Honda Large Project Leader, Kojiro Okabe said: “When developing the HR-V we carried out group discussions with people of varying backgrounds, from many fields of expertise, and across all ages and genders. Building the car from scratch, the HR-V adds elements which bring fun and joy to all passengers. We aimed to augment, not repress people’s opinions or individuality and create a car that enabled all people to enjoy their lifestyles.”

Exterior design focus

The coupe-SUV aesthetic of the new HR-V creates a sense of energetic spirit and dynamism. Its horizontal and forward-orientated character lines and smooth surfaces reflect the clean simplicity of other recent new Honda models, with exterior design features incorporated into the body shape. For example, the headlights and front grille blend into the front quarter panels and seamlessly integrate with the unique body-coloured upper grille.

To create a contemporary, noiseless aesthetic, the designers incorporated a crisp horizontal shoulder line that runs from the headlights to the rear light cluster. At the rear, the desire to achieve a combination of utility and aesthetics is evident in the simple, elegant tailgate design, which neatly integrates the tailgate door handle within the three-dimensional rear panel. The tailgate aperture, lower tailgate edge and low, flat cargo floor all work in unison to provide easy loading access, despite the coupe-inspired roofline.

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In pursuit of a more elegant appearance and to ensure that the exterior looks beautiful, even up close, the designers paid great attention to the finest details. For example, the cut lines are aligned and minimised as much as possible to avoid shadows, and have been removed entirely on the door handles. This attention to detail is also apparent where the two licence plate lights, tailgate handle and rear camera are all simply integrated into one unit. This contributes to the clean overall styling and is reflective of other recent Honda models, where the desire for simplicity in detail is resulting in more elegant design.

Creating a sense of space

Inside the new HR-V, every design element is dedicated to achieving a sense of generous spaciousness and airiness that connects occupants to the outside world. This begins with windows that are designed to admit as much light as possible, with the excellent outward visibility further aided by the horizontally oriented instrumental panel and flat line of the bonnet for noiseless visibility leading to additional comfort while driving.

The sense of airiness is amplified by unique L-shaped vents positioned in the top corners of the dashboard. These are designed to deliver the restorative effects of a breeze while addressing shortcomings of traditional vent configurations, where passengers often feel uncomfortable with air flowing directly onto them. The system subtly directs a stream of air along the side windows and the front windshield to the roof, creating a vortex beside and above occupants. The effect of these new vents creates a comfortable internal environment for all.

A fundamental consideration for interior comfort was the optimal positioning of interior controls. The uncluttered, simple-to-use layout adds to the sense of calm, with the audio and ventilation controls and instrument panel positioned as close as possible to the driver’s field of vision, with instantly recognisable controls allowing for safe and intuitive operation.

The rear seats have been given an additional recline compared to the previous generation HR-Vincreasing passenger comfort and space. Crucially, although overall vehicle dimensions are similar to the previous model, the new HR-V offers greater leg room and shoulder space, for an enhanced feeling of spaciousness and comfort. To maintain clever packaging and a low boot floor height, Honda engineers carefully configured the versatility of the fully flat cargo space and seat arrangement to enable the easy loading of a wide variety of luggage, bicycles and other sports and lifestyle-related equipment.

Honda Large Project Leader, Kojiro Okabe, added: “We designed the all-new hybrid HR-V to reflect the exacting values and needs of modern consumers and appeal to a new generation of car owners. They demand purpose and innovation from the products they interact with. By cleverly applying Honda’s latest technologies and design ethos, we have created a car that will provide the spaciousness, connectivity, reliability and versatility required to fully support and enhance their everyday lives.”

The all-new HR-V e:HEV will be available in Europe in late 2021. Customers can register their interest now on the Honda website.

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