2023 Honda ZR-V hybrid debuts in Japan

A crossover like the new Honda ZR-V unveiled overnight in Japan will some day slot into the Australian range between the HR-V and CR-V.

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The Honda ZR-V e:HEV has been unveiled overnight in Japan. While it’s essentially a rebadged American HR-V there are a host of small changes, and few big ones under the bonnet.

The Japanese domestic market version of the ZR-V provides further clues about the new, name-to-be-confirmed crossover Honda Australia is planning to slot between the HR-V and next-generation CR-V.

Compared to the American HR-V that debuted in full at the beginning of June, the Japanese ZR-V has a different front bumper that’s smoother and doesn’t feature the large gloss black faux air intakes of its American sibling.

The grille shape is largely same, but is filled with a series of vertical black slats instead of a honeycomb mesh.

Along the sides the ZR-V has body-coloured wheel arch protectors and side skirts rather than the HR-V’s gloss black treatment.

At the back body colour has again replaced gloss black for the bumper. Unlike the US HR-V, which has hidden exhaust tips, the ZR-V features chrome-tipped finishers surrounded by a silver faux bash-plate element.

Similar differences appear inside the cabin too. The ZR-V’s dashboard can be had with a top section that’s colour-coded to the seat, centre console, door and arm rest trims.

Ahead of the driver there’s a completely digital instrumentation display, whereas the American HR-V pairs a 7.0-inch info screen with a physical speedometer.

Compared to the all-black interior of the North American HR-V, the ZR-V looks like a classier and more upscale proposition.

The hybrid ZR-V pictured here also junks the petrol-only US HR-V’s traditional gear shifter for a line of buttons and switches.

Under the bonnet the ZR-V e:HEV comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder hybrid system that’s borrowed from the Civic. The automaker hasn’t published the ZR-V’s outputs, but we know the Civic e:HEV makes a total of 135kW.

While the Civic hybrid is a purely front-wheel drive proposition, the ZR-V e:HEV will be available with both front- and all-wheel drive.

In Japan the ZR-V will also be sold with a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine driving the front or all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Again Honda has yet to publicly reveal how many ponies the ZR-V turbo will have to its name. Depending on model and market, the 1.5-litre turbo is available in 95kW/180Nm, 131kW/240Nm, and 149kW/260Nm guises.

American HR-V buyers, for now, only have engine to choose from, a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine making 118kW at 6500rpm, and 187Nm at 4200rpm.

Honda Japan will begin showing the ZR-V to the public from August, with sales and deliveries likely to start later in the year.

Like the American HR-V, the ZR-V should be around 4567mm long1839mm widebetween 1610mm and 1621mm tall, and ride on a 2654mm wheelbase.

This places the new crossover squarely between the 4.35m HR-V available in local showrooms, and the upcoming sixth-generation CR-V that’s nearly 4.7m long.

Honda Australia has confirmed it will launch a crossover to sit between the HR-V and CR-V. Although it has yet to officially announce its name or any other details, it would be surprising if it’s not the ZR-V or something very, very similar.

The company has also indicated both the upcoming CR-V and ZR-V will be available locally with a hybrid drivetrain option.

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Derek Fung

Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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