New 2021 Honda HR-V goes hybrid only

Published: 18 February 2021

► Wraps off new 2021 Honda HR-V
► Hybrid crossover model revealed
► First pics, specs to be confirmed

Honda has unveiled the all-new 2021 HR-V. It's our first look at the newcomer, which slots below the CR-V in the company's line-up.

The HR-V quietly slipped off UK sale late last year, as Honda prepared for its successor. It will continue in the compact SUV segment, where it will challenge the likes of the Ford Puma, VW T-Roc and Nissan Juke. 

The car you see here is the Japanese-spec HR-V; the final European specification won't be seen until summer 2021.

Different shape, but familiar details remain

Historically, we’ve seen the HR-V come in various shapes – starting with that square, boxy rear, to the rounded hatch looks of the last model. And for this third-gen? Somewhere in between, naturally.

The round profile of the last model has been replaced with something more angular, combined with a long, flat bonnet. It’s a clean design, with minimal vents and body creases, while the stealth, rear pillar-mounted door handles remain.

Honda HR-V 2021 side

As before, the interior claims to offer class-leading space for four adults, despite the on-board hybrid tech. The minimalist theme also continues in here, but with a symmetrical design that’s easier on the eye (unlike the mish-mash of shapes last time), with just a touchscreen stood above the climate control cluster and a single row of air vents positioned ahead of the front passenger.

When it comes to practicality, you can still have those rear Magic Seats that allow you to flip-up the seat base, as well as folding down the backrest to be completely flat.

New 2021 Honda HR-V goes hybrid

In line with Honda's focus on electrifying its whole range by 2022, the new HR-V will be an e-HEV model based on the same technology underpinning the Jazz Hybrid. This won't be a separate model – every HR-V will be a hybrid in Europe, the company has confirmed.

Honda HR-V 2021 cabin

Expect the group's 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine to be mated to a lithium-ion battery pack, plus the ability to switch between EV drive, hybrid and pure petrol driving modes. The Honda Jazz e-HEV has a claimed combined fuel economy figure of 63mpg on the WLTP test cycle, though we'd expect the taller, more crossover-inspired HR-V to be slightly less efficient.

We'll update this story once we know more about the new Honda HR-V hybrid. Right-hand-drive UK models will go on sale in September 2021.

Honda desperately needs new models such as the HR-V; its UK market share has slipped from 2.2% in 2016 to 1.7% in 2020. To put that in context, it has sold over 50,000 cars a year for five of the past seven years – but it registered 27,297 vehicles in the Coronavirus-afflicted market last year. That was a 38 per cent decline, worse than the overall market's 29 per cent slump.

The reintroduction of the HR-V will add significantly to the core Jazz, CR-V and Civic family models, the company believes.

Specs, and figures for performance, fuel economy and emissions are yet to be announced, so check back with CAR as we update this over the next few months.

Browse our Honda reviews

By CAR's road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds