Honda Cars India has shown its dealers the HR-V compact SUV recently. The compact SUV is likely to be launched in India by the end of 2019 as the Japanese automaker’s challenger to the likes of the Hyundai Creta and the Tata Harrier. The Vezel will sit in the space between the Honda BR-V and CR-V SUVs, as a small but premium vehicle that will seat five passengers.
The Honda HR-V was first introduced internationally in 2014, which means that the SUV that will be launched in India is already a generation old. However, Honda is likely to bring in the facelifted version of the HR-V to the Indian market. Also known as the Vezel, the Honda HR-V is a popular compact SUV in many South East Asian markets. It’s sold with two petrol engine options internationally.
Both petrol engines that power the HR-V are naturally aspirated, 4 cylinder units. The 1.5 liter motor makes 129 Bhp of peak power while the 1.8 liter petrol, borrowed from the Civic, makes 138 Bhp. Both engines get manual and CVT automatic gearbox options. The Vezel is front wheel driven, and has a monocoque body. There’s an all wheel drive option on offer in specific variants.
The Honda HR-V/Vezel that will be sold in India is expected to take the completely knocked down (CKD) kit route. This is similar to the approach that Honda has taken with the Civic sedan, which was recently relaunched in the Indian market. The CKD assembled Vezel/HR-V won’t be cheap. Expect it to be priced in the Rs. 15-20 lakh bracket, capitalizing on the premium-ness of the Honda badge.
A diesel engine is unlikely to be offered on the Honda HR-V sold in India as this SUV does not get a diesel engine anywhere else in the world. Deploying a diesel engine specifically for the Indian market would entail big research and development costs, and that’s something Honda may not be willing to do given the limited numbers that the HR-V is expected to clock.
Honda is not likely to target big volumes with the CKD assembled HR-V. At best, such an SUV is likely to bring in about 1,500-2,000 units as monthly sales. At these numbers, the Honda HR-V will rub shoulders with the likes of the Tata Harrier and the Jeep Compass – both of which offer diesel engines. The Hyundai Creta, which sells about 8,000- 10,000 units each month is unlikely to be affected much by thge HR-V, which will take a more premium approach in terms of price and positioning.