Honda is about to become the newest entrant into the rapidly growing compact crossover segment.
The maker confirmed the new model will be called the Honda HR-V during a news conference at the 2014 NY Auto Show. The crossover will share the same platform as the all-new 2015 Honda Fit and will be assembled at the company’s new assembly plant in Celaya, Mexico, alongside the small car.
“Both Fit and HR-V demonstrate how great things can come in small packages, and no one does this better than Honda,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda automobile division for American Honda. “Together these models also represent Honda’s step-by-step expansion of our production in the region, which has been key to our success in America for more than 30 years.”
The compact crossover market is expected to become one of the market’s fastest-growing segments in the coming years, and it is seeing a flood of new entries, both mainstream and luxury. Chevrolet, for example, used the NY show to unveil its new Captiva crossover – a vehicle it didn’t plan to bring to the U.S. market until recently.
Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, had several versions of its high-line GLA compact crossover on display at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, one of an assortment of small CUVs targeting luxury buyers.
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Honda recently redesigned the Fit and hopes to firm up its dominance of the more traditional subcompact market – though it also faces plenty of competition there. Among other things, the new small car platform developed for Fit and the HR-V was meant to package more interior space into a smaller footprint. Honda also claims the new “architecture” results in improved ride and handling, and fuel economy.
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The maker isn’t saying much about the HR-V beyond an official statement suggesting that, “With sleek styling and expressive character lines, the HR-V is anticipated to launch this winter. Built on the same global compact platform that underpins the Fit, the HR-V will feature a versatile and spacious interior thanks to a unique center tank layout. The HR-V will be equipped with the Honda-exclusive Magic Seat, which allows for multiple seating configurations and the ability to fold the second row seat completely flat for added cargo space.”
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For the moment, Honda is showing off only a handful of authorized pictures of the new HR-V compact crossover. It says more details “will be announced later this year.” That would suggest that a sheet metal version, whether concept or near-production, might make its official debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show scheduled for this autumn.