Honda z-rv

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HONDA is set to expand its SUV range next year with the introduction of the new ZR-V.

The global model will slot between the HR-V and CR-V in Honda’s line-up and will likely feature powertrains familiar to the recently launched third-generation HR-V small SUV.

Reportedly based on the same underpinnings as the eleventh-generation Civic, the ZR-V will rival models such as the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-3 and Skoda Karoq. What’s more, Honda says its new model was designed to meet “the mobility needs of Generation-Z buyers”, hence the letter “Z” in the model’s nameplate.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the HR-V earlier this month, Honda Australia executives confirmed that the ZR-V was destined for Australia. The model line-up is likely to include a 1.5-litre petrol motor (89kW/145Nm) and e:HEV petrol-electric drivetrain (96kW/253Nm), but local pricing and specifications have yet to be finalised.

“The next 12 to 18 months is really about regenerating our product line-up,” Honda Australia managing director Stephen Collins told GoAuto.

“We’re launching new products into growing segments, and we’ll fully reveal that model mid this year. This new SUV will sit between the HR-V and the CR-V, and it will give us a stable of really competitive SUVs that will form a big part of our strategy going forward.

“We are confident that we will have three SUVs that will suit different customer needs. The HR-V is more suited to younger and female buyers, and we think the new model (ZR-V) will be more of a family type SUV. The CR-V will continue to attract those family buyers who are looking for something a bit larger.

“So, we’re really confident that each of the SUVs will be positioned very nicely in terms of size and specification.”

GoAuto understands the five-seat model will follow the Civic and HR-V in offering drive-away pricing and relatively high trim grades, although how the ZR-V will be positioned against segment stalwarts remains to be seen.

Following in the HR-V’s wheel tracks, the ZR-V is tipped to offer the full suite of Honda Sensing safety technologies, 10.2-inch digital instrument panel and 9.0-inch infotainment array when it lands in Australia. Adaptive cruise control, AEB, blind-spot monitoring, lane- keeping assistance and traffic-jam assistance are also likely inclusions.

Honda Europe recently released a brief media statement in which it confirmed the model’s nomenclature while hinting that the model would offer an e:HEV petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain (as part of the Japanese brand’s European electrification strategy).

“Honda has confirmed that its recently announced new C-segment SUV is to be named ‘ZR-V’. Set to go on sale across European markets in 2023, the all-new model will slot between the HR-V and CR-V in the Honda line-up,” the statement read.

“The ZR-V will be powered by the outstanding e:HEV full hybrid powertrain, further expanding Honda’s range of electrified options to customers.

“The announcement begins the next stage of Honda’s European electrification strategy. With further electrified SUV models set to follow, the ZR-V marks an important evolution in the Honda line up, with the brand concentrating even further on this rapidly growing segment.”

Honda had previously said that it planned to launch 30 new electric vehicles by the end of the decade, investing ¥5 trillion ($A55.6b) in development of electric models, including the next-generation NSX supercar. The Tokyo-based firm also announced that it would spend around ¥8 trillion ($A89.1) in total research and development by 2030.

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