New Honda HR-V Debuts In Japan With New Name And Hybrid Power

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The number of unique HR-V variations across the globe is mind-boggling.

Honda wasn't messing around when it dubbed 2022 as "the year of the SUV". Already, the Japanese company has launched America's HR-V and the larger CR-V within weeks of each other. The latter is one of the best-selling vehicles in America, but the new HR-V may just threaten it over the months ahead. Depending on where one lives, the new HR-V either has a unique design, is a hybrid, or is badged under a different name. Those last two points are true of the new ZR-V which has been revealed in Japan. This is essentially America's HR-V but with a hybrid powertrain and some unique design touches.


Whereas American buyers prefer their crossovers and SUVs with rugged design touches, customers in the East - especially China - place a greater focus on luxury. These two distinct philosophies have been applied to the HR-V and ZR-V. The HR-V here has a sporty mesh grille and lots of blacked-out detailing on the lower body and around the wheel arches, but the ZR-V has a body-color finish, uniquely styled wheels, a different grille with vertical slats, and larger tailpipes on either end of the body. Even the photography is different, with local HR-Vs pictured playing in the dirt, whereas the ZR-V looks like it simply wants to go to the mall.

Under the hood, the ZR-V is also different. The US-spec Honda HR-V uses a non-hybrid 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but the ZR-V combines a 2.0-liter with a two-motor hybrid system and e-CVT transmission. A 1.5-liter turbo gas model will follow for the ZR-V, and real-time all-wheel drive will be available.


Both vehicles are similar inside, but the JDM model pictured here has a burgundy finish for the interior, and the traditional shift lever has been replaced with buttons. Local HR-Vs stick with a more conservative black or gray interior.

The ZR-V is also bound for Europe. In that region, Honda sells an HR-V that looks entirely different from the one sold stateside. If that's all not confusing enough already, a battery-electric version of the HR-V known as the e:NS1 and e:NP1 was revealed last year in China.

Honda has smartly managed to produce a bewildering number of variations of the HR-V to cater to different markets and the different rates of hybrid/EV adoption across the globe. As the ZR-V is essentially the same vehicle as the HR-V sold here, it won't be coming to the USA.

2023 Honda HR-V Side Angle Driving Honda
2023 Honda HR-V Side Perspective Driving Honda
2023 Honda HR-V Central Panel Honda

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