2016 Honda HR-V: Small Only in Size
“We think this segment is going to explode.”
That’s James Jenkins, manager, Product Planning, Honda Trucks.
He’s talking about the subcompact crossover segment.
Although people generally, no doubt, think about “Honda” in the context of either the Accord or Civic, the company’s light truck offerings are non-trivial in the company’s overall portfolio, with the CR-V, Pilot, Odyssey, and Ridgeline accounting for 591,805 units of sales last year, or 42% of Honda’s total U.S. sales. According to Jeff Conrad, Honda Div. senior vice president and general manager, the CR-V has been the number-one selling SUV.
So they know a little more about this segment than they are probably given credit for.
The segment that Jenkins is talking about includes vehicles like the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and Mazda CX-3 as primary competitors and the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade, as secondary.
And the product that Honda is bringing to the market is the 2016 HR-V. Conrad says they anticipate sales of the vehicle to be 70,000 units per year with half of the customers coming to Honda for the first time.
Naohisa Morishita, chief engineer and development leader for the vehicle, who is based at the Honda R&D Center in Tochigi, Japan, calls the HR-V a “new generation crossover.” And it is for a generation of people—Gen Y—who are a bit more strapped for cash than, say, Gen X, to say nothing of the Boomers. (Turns out that Honda does exceptionally well with the under 35-year-old demographic, where the HR-V is targeted: according to Honda analysis of data from IHS Automotive, either the Civic or Accord was the #1 vehicle in retail sales since 2004. Accord was #1 from 2004 to 2006 and in 2014. Civic ruled from 2007 to 2013. And now this younger cohort has something more focused on them.)
This generation is evidently one that is interested in something smaller. The HR-V is based on Honda’s Global Compact Series platform.
Like the Honda Fit, it has a center-mounted fuel tank. Like the Fit, it has the “Magic Seat” in the second row, which allows splitting and folding for cargo accommodating. And like the Fit, it is manufactured at the Honda plant in Celaya, Mexico.
While there are some elements shared vis-à-vis the platform, the HR-V is not a Fit with a different top hat.
Consider the differences in dimensions: