Honda is in the middle of making its lineup one of the freshest in the industry and this latest reveal brings the automaker to just about the halfway point in the process. Say hello to the 2023 Honda HR-V. The subcompact crossover grows up, not just in shape but in size. Honda also says it's worked on making this model more fun to drive with "substantially improved dynamics.
The 2023 HR-V will be built on the same architecture as the all-new 11th-generation Honda Civic
sedan and hatchback. That's a big step forward for the crossover, which was based on the now discontinued Honda Fit hatch previously.
Honda didn't give dimensions for the new vehicle but did say that it will be larger than before with a longer wheelbase and a wider stance. For reference, the 2022 Honda HR-V has a wheelbase of 2,610 mm and a width of 1,770, while the new Civic has a wheelbase 2,736 mm long and is 1,801 mm wide.
Honda's all-new shape for the 2023 HR-V starts with a new grille. Tall, wide, and upright, fixed to a very blunt nose, it's a marked departure from the previous generation where a large trim strip and front license plate positioning made the HR-V look like it had no grille at all. The new nose sits at the beginning of a very long hood, suggesting that if Honda wants to increase interior size, this HR-V is going to have to be much longer than the current generation.
A low cowl height for that long hood means that Honda has also been able to keep the beltline low. With a tall roof, this gives the HR-V what appears to be a massive greenhouse. The extra glass should give the model great visibility for the driver, a big perk for a subcompact crossover.
LED head and taillights give the 2023 HR-V a much more premium look than the model has had before, though it's also somewhat more dull. Laser brazing techniques that eliminate the traditional roofline mouldings also help to make the HR-V feel more upscale, likewise with the windshield wipers that hide below the hood line when they're not in use.
The styling is close to the Honda Vezel, but the roofline, nose and tail differ from that version of the HR-V sold in Japan and much of the rest of Asia as well as in Europe. Honda had previously said the North American HR-V would be different this time, to "meet the distinct needs" of customers in our market. The Vezel has nearly identical dimensions to the new Civic, so we'd guess it's not all that far off.
While this reveal focused on the outside, Honda did hint at some of the changes to the vehicle's dynamics.
A new "more responsive" engine will go under the hood of the new HR-V. It will also add a new independent rear suspension, an upgrade that comes with the Civic platform, that Honda says will give it "a more confident, refined and fun-to-drive personality." It may also help to increase rear cargo space, though the previous HR-V (and the Fit on which it was based) were magic when it came to packing in maximum cargo.
The new engine could be the 2.0L four-cylinder from the Honda Civic. It makes 158 hp in that car, up from 139 hp from the current 1.8L four. We would also welcome Honda's 176hp 1.5L turbo-four to create a hot-crossover version of the HR-V, though that doesn't seem all that likely of a choice.
We'll get more about the 2023 HR-V, including powertrain details and a look at the interior, over the next few months. Expect it to come soon, though, as the 2023 HR-V launches in full this summer, with an all-new CR-V and Honda Pilot coming not long after.