With only 5% of the 2022 Honda HR-Vs booked being the NA variant, does it serve as a clear indication that when presented a choice, Malaysians would opt for a turbo, and should Honda Malaysia have brought in the naturally-aspirated HR-V variant at all?
Honda Malaysia has a knack for surprise in Malaysia. When information started trickling in about which variants of the all-new 2022 HR-V would be available in Malaysia a couple of months ago, many, including us were surprised that for the first time, the Honda HR-V lineup would comprise all powertrains – naturally aspirated (NA), turbocharged and hybrid.
It was a surprise because our neighbours, such as Thailand (hybrid only) and Indonesia (NA and Turbo), only carried two powertrain variations of the third-generation 2022 HR-V.
At the launch of the all-new HR-V which took place yesterday, Honda Malaysia said that the introduction of all powertrains for the Malaysian market was their way of repaying the faith of Malaysians for the support of the HR-V over the years. They wanted to present Malaysians with all possible options available. It is a strategy that is specific to the Malaysian market as no other ASEAN country would be doing the same.
Only 5% bookings for Honda HR-V NA variant
While this strategy presents a delightful array of options for HR-V buyers in Malaysia, we really wanted to know how the introduction of all powertrains would be received in the bookings department.
During the launch, Honda Malaysia said that there had already been 20,000 bookings of the new HR-V. Out of the 20,000 bookings, 75% were for Turbo HR-Vs, 20% for the Hybrid variant, and ONLY 5% for the NA variant.
According to Honda Malaysia, they actually expected a lower number of interests for the NA HR-V, so it seems they themselves are quite surprised by the reception of the 2022 Honda HR-V 1.5S variant.
When a member of the media asked Honda Malaysia why the NA HR-V was even introduced at all as on paper, it seemed underpowered (121PS/145Nm), Honda Malaysia answered that thanks to its new port injection engine and CVT transmission, the performance of the NA HR-V is actually quite comparable to the outgoing 1.8 engine (142PS/172Nm) from the second-gen HR-V.
We would have to try it out before making any conclusions about Honda’s claims. If we follow what is written on Honda Malaysia’s presentation slides, the NA HR-V is also the second most fuel-efficient HR-V after the hybrid, gaining it some brownie points.
So maybe there is a case to be made for the NA HR-V’s existence in Malaysia, but with only 1000 bookings out of 20,000, it’s pretty hard to see for now at least, what that is?
Would you wait, however up to 12 months for the all-new 2022 Honda HR-V?