Honda on Monday teased the next-generation HR-V subcompact crossover for the European market, but questions remain about what the next United States-market version will be like.
The automaker confirmed that the European version, which will be unveiled February 18, will be hybrid only, using a version of the same two-motor hybrid system as other current Honda models.
Meanwhile, American Honda Motor confirmed to Green Car Reports that the version the U.S. market gets will be entirely different than the one arriving in Europe and Japan. The company replied: "The development of a successor to the Honda HR-V for the U.S. market is underway. This new HR-V will be designed to meet the distinct needs of U.S. customers, and will differ from the Honda Vezel/HR-V that will be introduced in other regions. Honda will have more information to share regarding the next-generation Honda HR-V designed for the U.S. market closer to launch."
The U.S. version could still be all-hybrid, though, as that fits with Honda's overall strategy to emphasize hybrid powertrains. American Honda wouldn't confirm that at this time, though.
Honda HR-V Hybrid teaser
Honda has decided to drop the Fit in the U.S., but the hatchback is going all-hybrid in other markets. The outgoing generations of Fit and HR-V shared a basic platform, and it's possible that will remain the case with the new versions. If so, the hybrid powertrain for the European-market HR-V could be the same one used in the Fit.
Honda has said that hybrids will be 50% of its sales by the end of the decade, with a higher proportion of those perhaps for the U.S. market. If that's the case, it would make sense to include an HR-V hybrid, as the crossover sits in what is currently a growing market segment with no other hybrid options.
2021 Honda HR-V
That would give Honda a head start, unlike in the compact-crossover segment, where the CR-V Hybrid was fairly late to the party.
If the HR-V goes hybrid-only in the U.S., though, there remains a question of branding. Honda's only dedicated hybrid for the U.S. is the Insight sedan, which is effectively a Civic hybrid with a different name and styling to further differentiate it from gasoline models. Might Honda undertake a similar strategy, with the HR-V hybrid?