Honda has a new C-segment contender to add into their mix of SUVs, and this one has been given the name ZR-V. Will it also come to Malaysia?
For some context, the ZR-V isn’t exactly a car we have not heard about before. Though it was previously speculated to be the name of a more compact B-segment crossover for the ASEAN market to rival the Daihatsu Rocky (and Perodua Ativa, by extension).
Instead of lobbing this nameplate as a ruggedised, higher-riding reinterpretation of the Jazz, the Japanese automaker has decided to go the upsized route.
This incoming ZR-V is also a car that we have also seen before in completed production form as a US-specific model. Back in early April, in a confusing move, Honda USA previewed a larger C-segment SUV but named it the HR-V as it would be known regionally.
This is akin to BMW renaming the 5 Series to 3 Series or Mercedes-Benz calling the S-Class the E-Class, all of a sudden and only for a certain country or region, such as ASEAN. Makes no sense, right?
It shares underpinnings with the 11th-generation Civic, inheriting its longer wheelbase and some of its suspension components. It’s got some design cues and body lines that echo the sedan as well.
However, from what we understand, the ZR-V that will be known as a 2023 model year vehicle in Europe and China is the same car US customers will know as their HR-V.
Slotting in below the CR-V in terms of sheer bulk, it’s clearly going after the Corolla Cross, a big seller for Toyota in North America. If and when it does arrive in other regions such as Southeast Asia (as the ZR-V), you can bet that this rivalry will only continue.
For its European introduction, the new Honda SUV will be powered exclusively by Honda’s hybrid e:HEV powertrain similar to that found in the City RS. However, it will likely use a larger 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder engine to juice up its electric traction motor.
We’re expecting output to stand around 180PS and 315Nm of torque for some pretty brisk performance for a powertrain that’s lauded for its fuel economy. Buyers in China, meanwhile, will get the option of a 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo petrol four-pot.
Inside, like the Civic FE it’s based on, the ZR-V should also sport very similar cabin dimensions with matching dashboard and trim, albeit with added headroom owing to the SUV shape.
Of course, we have no clue about its potential Malaysian introduction but speculate at it happening only well after the new model’s European debut in latter 2022 or early 2023.
Local buyers are still patiently anticipating the launch of the 3rd-generation HR-V which has been all but confirmed to be scheduled to hit showrooms in the second half of 2022. Ahead of this, we’ve been seeing plenty of the all-new HR-V on Malaysian roads as it undergoes pre-launch testing.