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Honda planning NSX-inspired SUV, entry-level light SUV - report

Honda's SUV range, especially in Australia, is missing a couple of models. To fix that, the company is planning on introducing a couple of bookends including a flagship sports SUV.

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Honda is in the early stages of developing an NSX-inspired flagship sports SUV, according to new reports from Japan.

It’ll cap Honda’s SUV range, while a new, sub-HR-V model will serve as the entry point.

BestCarWeb reports the flagship SUV will be larger than the CR-V and will debut in 2025 at the earliest, given it’s only in the conceptual stages at the moment.

While it won’t necessarily resemble the NSX much in terms of its underpinnings, it will reportedly feature interior and exterior styling inspired by Honda’s sports car.

A likely higher-volume offering will come in the shape of a light SUV to slot under the HR-V (above).

Like the Nissan Juke and Volkswagen T-Cross, this model – which may debut next May – is expected to be powered by a newly-developed turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine.

It may also use Honda’s new e:HEV hybrid system, which mates a 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine with an electric motor for propulsion and another for energy recovery. Excess power from the petrol engine is sent through the generator to recharge the car’s lithium-ion battery.

Honda’s small HR-V SUV is also due for a redesign, which may debut next March.

The current model was first introduced here in 2015 and was facelifted in 2018. That same year, autonomous emergency braking was rolled out across the range and a sport-styled RS model was introduced.

It’s been a steady seller for Honda Australia. In the HR-V’s first full year on sale, Honda sold 12,403 examples while last year it sold 11,731.

That puts it narrowly ahead of the Civic in sales and narrowly behind the CR-V, the other two members of the trio of Hondas the brand will focus on here.

Year-to-date, the HR-V is outselling rivals such as the Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Nissan Qashqai, Subaru XV and Toyota C-HR, putting it at third in the small SUV segment.

The mid-sized CR-V is the only other SUV that Honda sells locally.

The company offers the large, two-row Passport and its three-row Pilot sibling in North America, where they’re made in left-hand drive only.

Additionally, Honda’s upscale Acura brand sells the RDX there, a rival for the Audi Q5, as well as the Audi Q7-rivalling MDX. The MDX was briefly offered here with Honda badges during its first generation, from 2003 until 2006.

Honda’s SUV range is larger in the Chinese market, with the HR-V-based CDX opening the Acura range and the large, two-row Avancier/UR-V topping the Honda range.

As the company is part of two local joint ventures, there are also lightly restyled versions of the HR-V and CR-V wearing the XR-V and Breeze names.

At this year’s Beijing motor show, Honda also revealed its next electric vehicle, another SUV.

The SUV e, in stark contrast to the retro-inspired e hatchback, is a large SUV concept with modern styling that “indicates the direction of a future mass-production model of the Honda brand’s first EV to be introduced in China”.

Honda is also developing with General Motors two electric vehicles for the North American market. Odds are at least one of those will be an SUV.

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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