Time sure does fly if you're not paying close attention. Honda's subcompact HR-V crossover doesn't feel seven years old, but it entered the market in Japan back in late 2013. It didn't reach UK shores until the 2015 model year, and it received a minor facelift for 2019. That's why it doesn't feel that old, but in the extremely competitive small SUV segment, seven-year-old bones are positively ancient.
That won't be the case for the small runabout much longer. Our spy sources caught a next-generation HR-V prototype testing on public roads in Europe, and though this is only our first sighting, we believe the new model is just about ready for production.
A full-body camouflage wrap with hard panels around the grille obscure details, but we're able to see fundamental design changes on the crossover's shape. The rear pillars are much larger and have a steeper rake, as does the rear glass. It's a sleek design cue more associated with coupe-themed crossovers, and the HR-V appears headed in that direction.
Gallery: New Honda HR-V Spy Photos
Moving to the front, we expect to see a larger grille behind the coverings, flanked by thinner, sleeker headlights. The face blends with an inverted-V bonnet that's flat and wide, and further back, the windscreen sits upright ahead of a broader greenhouse for improved visibility. Speaking of the interior, we've yet to uncover any details but rumours point to a similarly sleek makeover with a large touchscreen display and plenty of tech. Powertrain details are unknown, though it could get the e:HEV hybrid powertrain seen on the Honda Jazz/Fit in some markets.
The current HR-V arrived first in Japan and later in the US. It's likely that process will continue for the next-generation, which could break cover for Japan and/or Europe as early as March. Other rumours say May is a better timeframe.