Newcomer gets 1.5-litre petrol engine, but Honda hasn't said how fast it goes.
Honda has added a new Sport model to its HR-V small SUV line-up, as part of the 2019 range upgrades.
Powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine lifted from the Civic range, the newcomer is designed to offer sportier styling and more dynamic driving experience.
Externally, the Sport model is set apart by its black grille, which differs from the chrome fitted to the standard car. It’s an aesthetic that continues at the back of the vehicle, with a glossy black trim piece stretching across the tailgate and a ‘smoked’ look to the tail lights.
There are wheel arch mouldings, too, along with a more aggressive rear bumper, dual exhaust pipes and black door mirror caps. The look is finished off with model-specific 18-inch black alloy wheels.
Inside, meanwhile, the car gets the standard 2019 HR-V’s new seats, which are designed to be more supportive, but garnishes them with black and dark red upholstery, while the usual pale roof lining is replaced with sportier black trim.
Full specifications are yet to be announced, but Honda’s publicity images appear to betray the fitment of satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control, as well as two-zone climate control and heated seats.
Under the skin, there are equally sizeable changes. Not only is the new 180 bhp engine shoehorned under the bonnet, but the suspension and chassis have been tweaked to improve the car’s ride and handling.
Honda has applied what it calls “Performance Damper” technology to the HR-V Sport. Fitted to both the front and rear suspension, the system counteracts the car’s movement through corners and over lumps and bumps, keeping the car flatter and improving both handling and ride comfort.
The Sport also has a model-specific steering set-up with Honda’s Agile Handling Assist system. By using a variable electric power steering system to change the amount of feel through the wheel depending on parameters such as speed and steering angle, Honda says the car delivers “a steady response at on-centre and near-centre steering angles, and a smoother response at off-centre steering angles.”
As standard, the car will come with a six-speed manual transmission, but customers who prefer automatics will be able to specify a CVT auto version.
Honda is yet to announce a starting price for the new HR-V Sport, and the car won’t even arrive in the UK until the spring, but Motor1.com expects the car to be more expensive than the currently range-topping EX model, which comes in at £25,595.