Honda HR-V India Launch: Over the last few days, the internet has been rife with talk of the new Honda HR-V’s launch in India. While we are all eager to see Honda’s answer to the Hyundai Creta take to the streets in India, we called Honda to find out the truth and here’s what we found out. A Honda spokesperson confirmed to Express Drives that no business decisions have been taken on the HR-V in India, indicating that the timeline might not be as claimed in some reports. It is very likely that the new Honda HR-V will be launched in India, in line with Honda’s plans to launch five new cars in India. However, the launch might not happen next year as claimed in some media reports and could take longer. Honda's plan outlines that out of the five vehicles launched two of them could be SUVs, one of them being based on the new GSP platform, that underpins 2018 Amaze compact sedan. Of these SUVs, the CR-V launch is confirmed for next month, while the HR-V compact SUV is likely to be the second but most probably by 2020. As we understand it, the feasibility of the SUV for the Indian market is currently being studied. One of the biggest questions points to the nomenclature of the SUV, which could conform to the R-V naming system used by most of Honda’s utility vehicles on sale in India or use the Vezel name under which the HR-V is sold in some markets.
As of now, the compact SUV segment is dominated by the Hyundai Creta that goes up against an ageing Renault Duster and a new but unsuccessful Renault Captur. Honda has been riding a strong resurgence in recent times and is keen on expanding the reach of their portfolio. Hence, the growing compact SUV segment does make a strong case considering that Hyundai has no real competition in the segment right now.
As a product, the Honda HR-V does present a lot to look forward to, starting with the design. The HR-V incorporates a strong Honda family design paired with the character of a modern city-focused SUV. The sleek upward curving LED headlamps, are matched with similar upward curving sinews on the body, making it look muscular yet unimposing. The Honda signature thick chrome grille still holds its place on the front, stealing most of the attention. We suspect that the India spec Honda HR-V/ Vezel will use the same engine as the Honda City, a 1.5-litre petrol unit tuned to produce 116bhp. In India, the HR-V might also be made available with the tried and tested 1.5-litre diesel engine producing 98bhp and 200 Nm of torque. As was the case with the Amaze it can be expected that both petrol and diesel engines will be accompanied by an automatic gearbox.
Now the internet will have you believe that the HR-V will make it to Indian markets as soon as 2019. In reality, this might be a long shot and here's why we think so. Honda has already launched the new Amaze this year, with the CR-V following shortly and is expected to launch the new Honda Civic early next year. Also, the HR-V will have to be locally manufactured and not just assembled for competitive pricing so it makes sense for the company to wait launch the vehicle in 2020 after the BS6 emission norms kick in. If at all, we expect a launch early in mid-2020 but not before that. That said, whenever the launch happens, it will add some excitement… erm… variety, to an otherwise bland Compact SUV segment in India.