The Honda HR-V quickly became a crowd favourite here in Malaysia, ever since its local introduction back in 2015. Among the many reasons for its success, one thing that’s clear is that the HR-V lacked serious competition in the segment at the time.
Of course, after other carmakers started realising how lucrative the segment is, rivalling models started filling in the space – but at that point, it’s pretty much already too late as the HR-V already pulled off a massive lead.
The situation is going to be a little different when the upcoming all-new Honda HR-V launches here in Malaysia, as there’s now a myriad of competent options available in the B-segment SUV space, such as the Proton X50 and Toyota Corolla Cross. Despite that, we still think the all-new Honda HR-V will take over the sales baton from its predecessor – and here’s why.
1. ALL-NEW DESIGN
The Honda HR-V took the market by storm due to its unique and fashionable design at that time. Designed to cater to the mid-20’s to 30s crowd, the Honda HR-V came with unique features such as the coupe-like roofline and hidden rear door handles that appeals to those who are looking to stand out from the sea of three-box sedans. It’s in its name, really, as ‘HR-V’ supposedly means Hip & Smart Runabout Vehicle.
For the all-new model, Honda managed to keep the “hip” in its design, all while adding in an air of class for an even more upmarket feel, appealing to a larger demographic than before. And that’s not just limited to its exterior styling, too.
While we can’t tell you how the materials feel without examining the car in person, the dashboard design (based on official photos) does give you the sense that you’re sitting in a properly premium. We can’t say the same for most of its competitors out there right now, perhaps aside from the Proton X50, though the latter is let down by its infotainment system software.
We concede that design is mostly a subjective thing, but a personal friend of mine has already held off her booking for the Proton X50 after seeing photos of the all-new Honda HR-V, so take that as you will.
2. EVEN MORE SPACE
The current Honda HR-V is often lauded for its interior space, with a smart packaging (those ULTRA seats!) and a massive 437 litres cargo space at the back, the latter second only to the Toyota Corolla Cross (440 L).
While the dimensions of the all-new model are nearly identical to the outgoing model, Honda says that it has completely overhauled the proportions of the compact SUV with an emphasis on space efficiency. As a result, the all-new model boasts an increase of 35 mm in the rear legroom department, and a more versatile boot space for “a wide variety of luggage, bicycles, and other sports and lifestyle-related equipment”.
With so much space offered on a compact-class vehicle, it’s not unseemly to expect C-segment shoppers opting to downsize to the Honda HR-V when it comes to buying a new family vehicle. Plus, with SUVs getting better to drive day by day, some sedan and hatchback buyers might even spring for an SUV just for that extra versatility, without sacrificing on driving fun!
3. ECONOMICAL DAILY COMMUTE
With the country’s economy in its current state, we won’t blame you for penny-pinching. If you’re looking for a new family car that will give you the most kilometres from every drop of petrol, then the upcoming all-new Honda HR-V might be your best bet.
The reason, is none other than the e:HEV powertrain underneath the bonnet. Similar to the Honda City RS, the 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine functions mainly as a generator for the electric motors, only driving the wheels directly during higher speed for increased efficiency.
As a result of the fancy powertrain set-up, the all-new hybrid Honda HR-V e:HEV is rated for a combined fuel consumption figure of just 4 litres/100km based on the WLTC test cycle, compared to 5.9 l/100km on the petrol-only variant. For context, the outgoing model is rated at 6.6 L/100km, and is based on the more lenient NEDC test cycle.
Of course, this is all based on a hunch that the Malaysian-specification model will also feature with the e:HEV powertrain. But seeing that we were the first country in the world to launch the City RS, we’d say that the chances are pretty high.
4. THE HONDA BADGE
This one really just explains itself, doesn’t it. Over the last few years, Honda has carved itself out to be the brand of choice in the non-national segment, especially within the younger crowd. Any fresh-graduate with a Honda City is automatically seen as being “more successful”, and who doesn’t want to feel superior?
The Honda badge carries a certain prestige with it these days; even though the notion of the “lambang H” has somewhat become a joke on the internet, its effects – be it psychological or actual sales numbers – can’t be ignored. And don’t get us started on resale value.
With the Honda HR-V set to become the marque’s latest all-new model to be introduced here in Malaysia, don’t be surprised to see it flying off the shelves (figuratively, obviously) shortly after its launch – just take a look at how the all-new City performed, and you’d agree too.
Everything we’ve mentioned above will probably be bettered by its rivals in the years to come, as carmakers release newer versions or even new models to compete against the Honda HR-V. But until then, we’re convinced that the Honda HR-V will retain its crown as the best-selling non-national compact SUV.
The phenomenon has already begun in Japan, where Honda received over 32,000 orders for the all-new HR-V within the first month of the model’s debut – six times more than its projected monthly sales figure. Only time will tell if we’ll see the same enthusiasm for the model here in Malaysia, but all signs are pointing towards yes.
Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments section below!