Later this year, Honda will join a growing number of automakers jumping into the fastest growing segment of the U.S. auto market.
Compact crossovers are blowing up like Rob Ford’s cell phone and most manufacturers are clamoring for a piece of the action. Jeep is launching the Renegade, Chevrolet has the Trax and Nissan has been Juking the market for years just to name a few. Small utiltiy vehicles like those are aimed directly at urban buyers who want an SUV but understand that parking a Suburban in the city is just plain silly. So it comes as no surprise that Honda chose the New York Auto Show to share the first pictures and details of its Fit-based HR-V.
Slated to arrive this winter around the same time as the Chevrolet Trax, the HR-V could shape up to be one of the most practical options in the segment. The Fit on which this vehicle is based boasts up to 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s not so much bigger than its Chevrolet contender, but the HR-V will have a least one key advantage: the same “magic seats” as the Fit. That means they will be able to flip forward or fold totally flat.
The HR-V will join the Fit at Honda’s Celaya, Mexico assembly plant and the company says basing its production there will guarantee the flexibility to meet demand for both vehicles.
Honda didn’t specify what the HR-V powertrain will consist of, but the 2015 Fit uses a direct-injected 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to either a six-speed manual or a continuously-variable transmission. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if the HR-V arrives with a mirror image of that equipment.