Honda tips crossover balance in its favour with zestier HR-V Sport

Effecting a turnaround in its range structure, highlights Iain Robertson, there is a strong suggestion that Honda’s ‘mojo’ may be returning, with the introduction of a new crossover and the reintroduction of VTEC, which made its name in the 1980s.

Honda has revealed details of the new HR-V Sport, a specific grade for the revised 2019 version of the car equipped with the 1.5-litre VTEC turbo-petrol engine, as well as upgrades to both chassis and suspension. The HR-V Sport benefits from the refreshed exterior styling and interior upgrades being introduced on the standard 2019 HR-V, with additional bespoke design features. 



The new VTEC engine in the HR-V Sport was first seen in the current Honda Civic, where it delivers a stirring performance envelope. The muscular four-cylinder unit gives the HR-V a much-needed performance boost, with a peak power of 179bhp at 5,500rpm, when mated to the 6-speed manual gearbox, and 6,000 rpm for the optional CVT (constantly-variable transmission). A maximum torque of 177lbs ft is delivered across a wide rev-range, from 1,900 to 5,000rpm. With the optional CVT, 162lbs ft is produced between 1,700 and 5,500rpm, to suit the different characteristics of the automated transmission. 



Honda developed the HR-V Sport to cater to buyers desiring a sportier driving experience from a subcompact SUV. As part of a package that aims to deliver an optimised balance of body rigidity, suspension control and steering feel, the HR-V Sport is equipped with bespoke 'Performance Damper' technology. The damper system is integrated on both front and rear axles of the car and works by counteracting the relative lateral and torsional movement through the chassis. It keeps the car flatter through corners, enhances stability during sudden lane changes and reduces vibration over uneven roads. 



The steering set-up is also unique to the Sport model, employing a variable ratio, electric power-assisted, rack-and-pinion system, which is complemented by Honda's Agile Handling Assist technology. It delivers steady responses at on-centre and near-centre steering angles, allied to smoother driver feedback at off-centre steering angles. 



Upgrades to the exterior design include a new interpretation of Honda’s 'Solid Wing Face’ styling graphic, with a high-gloss black chrome panel that replaces the darkened chrome of the standard HR-V model. An exclusive black honeycomb finish is applied to the front grille, which also carries over into the fog light surrounds. A number of dynamic styling elements, including a slim front splitter, side skirts, plus wheel-arch mouldings and a more aggressive rear bumper, all finished in black, are fitted. Sport trim also includes black door mirror caps, dual exhaust pipes and 18-inch alloy wheels in a model-unique style. 



LED headlights are standard for both high and low beams, while indicators and daytime running lights provide the illumination signature. At the rear, a black chrome strip across the tailgate mirrors the trim at the front, while the tail lights are enhanced with a ‘smoked’ effect and black inner bars like the regular HR-V. Inside, new seats for the driver and front passenger provide enhanced support in the seat cushion and backrest. The dynamic styling elements include exclusive combi-seats in black and dark red, combined with black headlining to enhance the sporty appeal.

FCD Summary

Production of the 2019 model year Honda HR-V Sport is set to start this month, with the first customer deliveries anticipated in Spring 2019. Prices will be announced nearer to the launch date.

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