WR-V is one of two crossovers for certain lower income countries

WR-V is one of two crossovers for certain lower income countries

In this third chapter of a series which looks at the current and future models of Honda Motor, it is the turn of crossovers and SUVs to be examined. This follows instalments on Acura and Honda cars

Crossovers and SUVs

A rival for the Subaru XV Crosstrek (the segment's number one in the US), Renault Captur, Nissan Juke, Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, Buick Encore, and Ford EcoSport was previewed by the Urban SUV Concept, which premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2013.

The vehicle The HR-V for North American markets is manufactured alongside the third generation Fit at Celaya in Mexico.

Honda stated in January 2013 that the model would be on sale in Japan from late in 2013 and in the US from 2014. The company further noted that along with the Fit/Jazz and City, the production version of the Urban SUV concept would be based on its Global Compact Series platform.

The production model, badged as the Honda Vezel, had its global debut at the Tokyo motor show in November 2013, and went on sale in Japan during the following month. The home market Vezel offers buyers the choice of a 1.5-litre petrol engine or else a 1.5-litre engine + one electric motor hybrid powertrain. The hybrid makes up the majority of Japanese market sales. Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive (i-DCD), Honda's lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system for small-sized vehicles, as fitted to the Fit Hybrid, also features in the Vezel.

The vehicle for North American markets, the HR-V, is manufactured alongside the third generation Fit at Celaya in Mexico. The local launch would be 'winter', American Honda confirmed in October 2014.

In April 2015, American Honda claimed that it expected to sell 70,000 units of the HR-V in the US during the model's first 12 months of local sale. US sales commenced in May 2015 for North America's 2016 model year. There were virtually no changes for North America's 2017 model year. Honda believes it can sell 90,000 HR-Vs in the US during CY2017.

The HR-V for Europe followed from mid-2015, with what Honda Motor Europe termed a 'prototype' having had its regional debut at October 2014's Paris motor show. This was also the debut of Honda's 1.6 i-DTEC diesel in this vehicle. Europe's HR-V is sourced from Mexico and also available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine.

There are two models for China: the Vezel, manufactured by the Guangqi Honda joint venture, was the first to appear. This was announced at April 2014's Beijing motor show. Four months later, Dongfeng Honda revealed a modified version, the Honda XR-V, at the Chengdu motor show. The Vezel went on sale in China in October 2014, with the XR-V following the next month.

Honda began building the HR-V in Argentina in April 2015. The company said it planned to produce 15,000 units annually, with some 70 per cent destined for export. Honda's plant is in Campana, a city located about 80km/50 miles north of Buenos Aires. The HR-V's initial local content was claimed to be 21 per cent.

In January 2016, HDM announced that the HR-V would be added at the second of its two plants from 2017. This means that as well as at Celaya, build also now takes place at El Salto (Guadalajara). The capacity came from shifting CR-V production out of that plant and across the border to the US (Greensburg, Indiana).

Honda is due to shift build of the HR-V for European markets out of Mexico and into Japan at the time of the model's mid-life facelift. That should be in 2018.

A new generation Vezel (HR-V) should go on sale in Japan from the final quarter of 2020.

A new generation Vezel should go on sale in Japan from the final quarter of 2020, to be followed in 2021 by production and sales in other countries.

The WR-V, which had the development code of 2FM, is a Fit/Jazz-based small SUV for certain lower income markets. Revealed at the Sao Paulo motor show in November 2016, the WR-V entered production in both Brazil and India during February 2017. India's model is offered with the choice of 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines. The next development for this model will likely be a facelift in 2020. The replacement is expected in 2024.

The second of two low-cost SUVs developed primarily for lower income markets in Asia had the project code of 2SJ. The BR-V Prototype had its world premiere at August 2015's Jakarta motor show, also known as Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) 2015. The BR-V production model is based upon the Brio and offers up to seven seats. It was developed in Thailand by Honda Asia Pacific. A 120hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is standard in the Thai and Indonesian markets. The torque output is 145Nm. The petrol engine is also available in India, along with a 1.5-litre diesel.

PT Honda Prospect Motor (HPM) commenced production of the BR-V ('Bold Runabout Vehicle') at one of its Karawang plants in January 2016. These cars offer the choice of a CVT or a six-speed manual gearbox. The production model's debut was at December 2015's Thailand International Motor Expo.

India's BR-V entered production at the Tapukara plant in April 2016. The planned annual production rate is said to be 35,000 units.

After a facelift in 2019, a new BR-V should appear in 2023.

The fifth generation CR-V, which is 4,586mm long, is based on the platform introduced by the tenth generation Civic. The styling is similar to the previous model but the stance is wider due to flared wheelarches. There are active shutters for the grille, narrower A pillars, a foot-activated electric tailgate, a longer wheelbase, the first turbocharged petrol engine in a CR-V and the option of a seven-seat format.

The 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder unit produces 190 horsepower (SAE net). The old model's 2.4-litre engine is also available with an output of 184 horsepower in the base variant (LX). These engines are for the model built and sold in North America. Both come with a standard CVT.

The CR-V is produced at 3 plants in North America: East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario, Canada; and Greensburg, Indiana.

The current model is produced at three plants in North America: East Liberty, Ohio; Alliston, Ontario, Canada; and, for the first time, Greensburg, Indiana using domestic and globally sourced parts. Engines are manufactured in Anna, Ohio and in Alliston, Ontario, with the CVT being produced in Russells Point, Ohio. 

As well as the plants in the US and Canada and with the exception of Swindon in England and El Salto (Guadalajara) in Mexico, the new model should be built or assembled in the same global plants as the fourth generation CR-V. Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) stated in March 2015 that its plant west of London would not be making the CR-V 5. The model for European markets will be imported from Japan. Initially, Honda had intended to ship the car from Canada to Europe but these plans changed in February 2016. Europe's CR-V will be built at what is officially known as 'Saitama Factory Sayama Automobile Plant'.

A Thai plant builds the CR-V for Australia, which was one of the first RHD countries for the car. The latest shape model went on sale in Australia during July. As well as the five-seat variants, there is also a seven-seat one. Its boot is small, with volume of just 150 litres with all backrests in place and up to 967 if the seat row seats are stowed.

In January 2016, American Honda announced that production of the CR-V would be added at the HMIN plant at Greensburg, Indiana. The Mexican facility which lost build of the CR-V gained the HR-V. This means that HDM's El Salto (Guadalajara) and Celaya plants are both building the HR-V.

North America's 2017 model year CR-V went on sale in December 2016. The model is on track to exceed 400,000 sales in the USA for the first time this year. The previous record for the nameplate was 357,000 CR-Vs in 2016.

China's Dongfeng Honda joint venture premiered its locally-built CR-V at April 2017's Shanghai motor show. The world premiere of the CR-V Hybrid took place at the same event. The Hybrid was then displayed at the Frankfurt IAA in September 2017. Honda Motor Europe also displayed the latest shape CR-V at that event, stating that the model would be on sale in the region from 2018. In European markets, only the 1.5-litre turbo engine will power the CR-V, i.e. the 1.6-litre diesel will not be offered.

A facelift for the 2HX series CR-V should be announced in North America during the the third quarter of 2019 for the 2020 model year. The sixth generation model will follow in 2023, based on an evolution of the current vehicle's architecture.

In the segment above the CR-V, Honda offers two SUVs solely for China: one each for Guangqui Honda and Dongfeng Honda.

In the D/E segment above the CR-V, Honda offers two SUVs especially for China: one each for Guangqui Honda and Dongfeng Honda. These were previewed by the Concept D, a design study which premiered at April 2015's Shanghai motor show. The 4.8m long Avancier (Chinese name: Guandao), built by Guangqi Honda, went on sale in November 2016. Its twin is Dongfeng Honda's UR-V. Both were originally powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine but a 1.5-litre turbo was added from March 2017, which is also when the UR-V became available. The next news should be facelifts in 2020.

UR-V and Avancier successors are due for release in 2023. The GLTP2 architecture of the current models will be replaced by an update of the platform which today's Civic and Accord are based on.

The Pilot, an eight-seat SUV, was new for North America's 2016 model year. Its global debut was at the Chicago auto show in February 2015. The current Pilot is three inches longer than the second generation model and 300lbs lighter. It uses the platform that was introduced by the third generation Acura MDX in mid-2013.

Unusually, both six- and nine-speed automatic transmissions are available. LX, EX and EX-L trim levels have the six-speeder, with the nine-speed gearbox reserved for Touring and top-of-the-line Elite trim. Front- and all-wheel drive variants are offered, with a 280hp 3.5-litre V6 engine standard for all. That's a 30hp gain over the old engine. The ZF-supplied nine-speed gearbox is manufactured at a plant in Gray Court, South Carolina.

The Pilot went on sale in North American markets in July 2015. Exports to South Korea commenced in December 2016. The next news should be a facelift in 2018 for the 2019 model year. The fourth generation Pilot is due in CY2022.

Honda may revive the Passport model name for a short wheelbase Pilot. It is due to be built from September 2018.

American Honda may well revive the Passport model name for a short wheelbase model which is due to enter production in September 2018 for the 2019 model year.


The second generation Ridgeline, Honda's only pick-up, would be launched in North America, its main sales region, "within two years", American Honda stated in December 2013. More details were announced at the Chicago auto show in February 2015: the model would enter production at American Honda's HMA (Lincoln, Alabama) plant in 2016. The division is hoping for in excess of 40,000 sales a year, which was the most that the old model managed in its best year.

The Ridgeline had its debut at the Detroit auto show in January 2016 and is new for North America's 2017 model year, from the second half of CY2016. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants are available. A six-speed automatic gearbox is standard for the 3.5-litre petrol V6 which powers all Ridgelines. All variants have four doors. Production commenced in May 2016.

A new type of in-bed audio system forgoes conventional speakers, which could be easily damaged in a cargo area. Instead six exciters -- devices that vibrate the surface they are attached to -- located inside the bed walls use the composite material itself as a speaker.

The Ridgeline's pick-up tray is five foot four inches long and five feet wide. It features an innovative built-in boot/trunk. This can also be used to chill drinks as it has a plug in its base which can used to drain liquids such as melted ice. There is also storage for a spare tyre and a 400W AC socket for recharging tools.


The Shuttle is a small wagon which is marketed as an MPV. It is more or less an estate version of the Fit (Jazz). It is sold mainly in Japan, having gone on sale there in May 2015. The current model replaced the Fit Shuttle.

The Shuttle Hybrid is powered by a 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle engine linked to a seven-speed DCT, while the Shuttle's engine is a 1.5-litre unit sending drive to either the front axle or else all four-wheels via a CVT. The Hybrid also offers the choice of FWD or AWD variants.

Both versions were facelifted in September 2017.

The next generation Freed and Freed+ are due for Japanese market release in 2023.

The latest generation of the Freed, a compact minivan, went on sale in Japan in September 2016. It has three rows of seating, whereas the Freed+, which replaced the Freed Spike, has two rows. Both variants are powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine linked to a CVT. See the next report for the Freed Hybrid & Freed+ Hybrid. Facelifts for the Freed and Freed+ should appear in late 2019. The next generation Freed and Freed+ are due for Japanese market release in 2023.

The Mobilio, another compact minivan, was the first vehicle to be built at Honda's second plant at its Karawang complex from January 2014. Its world premiere in prototype form was at the Jakarta motor show in September 2013. A 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine is standard, while the vehicle has seven seats in a three-row format. There is 185mm of ground clearance, which is similar to that of many SUVs.

Honda once sold another vehicle with the same name but that was mostly in Japan. It was discontinued in 2008.

Honda also built the latest model in India, albeit briefly. There, it was intended to be a rival for the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. India's Mobilio premiered at the Delhi motor show in February 2014. It entered production at HMIL's Greater Noida plant in June 2014, going on sale locally during the following month. Indian market sales ceased in June 2017 after the Mobilio went out of local production due to low demand.

Like the Brio and Amaze, the Mobilio uses a shorter, lower cost version of the third generation Fit/Jazz architecture.

Indonesia's Mobilio received a new interior in January 2016. Apart from some mock-chrome highlights on the bumpers and fresh alloy wheel designs, the car's exterior was unchanged. An exterior facelift followed from January this year, revealed to the media that month at an event in Jakarta. The next Mobilio is due out in early 2021.

Another MPV is the Step WGN. The current 2HS series model, which is sold mostly in Japan, is a rival for the Nissan Serena as well as the Toyota Noah and Toyota Voxy. The fifth generation went on sale in Japan in April 2015. All versions have seven seats and are powered by a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engine. The sole transmission is a CVT. The Step WGN was the first vehicle to be fitted with Honda's 1.5 VTEC turbo.

The sixth generation Step WGN should be released in 2020 or 2021.

A facelifted model was released in the Japanese market in September. The sixth generation Step WGN should be released in 2020 or 2021.

The Concept S, a design study which appeared at the Beijing motor show in April 2012, was the first preview of the Jade. Honda stated at the time that a production model would follow in 2013, to be built by the Dongfeng joint venture. The Honda Jade, an updated version of the Concept S, was exhibited at the Shanghai motor show in April 2013.

This 4,660m long MPV went into production in Japan in January 2015 which was after the manufacturing launch in China. Unlike the Chinese market car, which has a 1.8-litre engine, the first version of Japan's Jade was powered by the same 1.5-litre hybrid powertrain as features in the Vezel Hybrid. This includes a seven-speed DCT. The Jade RS was added to the Japanese market line-up in May 2015. This has a CVT and a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engine. Unusually, for a Japanese market model, there is no all-wheel drive option.

A facelifted Jade premiered at November 2016's AutoGuangzhou and went on sale in China soon after. There should be another set of styling adjustments in late 2018. The next Jade should follow in 2020 (China) and 2021 (Japan). It will use the current Civic and Accord's platform.

There are two minivans called Odyssey. One is sold mainly in Asia and the other mainly in North America. The smaller of the two, which is the fifth generation model for Japan, was announced in October 2013. It had its world premiere at the Tokyo motor show and was in Japanese dealerships during the following month. As well as the standard model, there is another slightly restyled, sporty model, the 'Odyssey Absolute Premium'. Another derivative, the Odyssey Hybrid, was revealed at October 2015's Tokyo motor show (see final Honda feature). There was a second facelift in October, timed to coincide with the recent Tokyo motor show.

Japan's Odyssey 5 brought with it a new architecture: Ultra Low Floor (ULF). The vehicle's standard engine was also new, a 2.4-litre i-VTEC direct injection four-cylinder petrol unit. Production in China was added from July 2014, with local market sales commencing one month later. The sixth generation model is due for release in Japan and China in 2019.

The model code for the new Odyssey full size minivan is 2YM.

The other Odyssey is newer, larger and manufactured by American Honda. The 2YM series model had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January. It entered series production three months later at the same Alabama plant which built the previous shape model. 

The fifth generation of this full-size minivan uses the platform that was introduced by the third generation Acura MDX in mid-2013 but unlike that SUV, there is no AWD availability. American Honda executives told reporters at this year's NAIAS that AWD was considered but rejected as it would have eaten into interior space. The Toyota Sienna therefore still has this advantage over the big Honda. But American Honda counters that by regarding the Pilot SUV as the vehicle for customers who want an eight-seat family model with AWD.

This was the world's first front-wheel drive vehicle to have a ten-speed auto transmission. The company announced the first details of the self-developed transmission in October 2015. The base version has a nine-speed automatic supplied by ZF.

The 2018 Honda Odyssey was designed and developed by Honda R&D in North America. The vehicle and its 280hp 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine are manufactured at the company's Lincoln, Alabama plant. The ten-speed gearbox is produced at the company's transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia. The 2018 Odyssey was the second generation Odyssey to be designed and developed in North America.

What Honda calls 'Magic Slide' is a second-row seat which is reconfigurable for optimal flexibility and easy access to third-row seating - even when one or two rear-facing child seats are placed in the second row. Use modes include:

  • Easy Access mode: with the centre seat removed, the outboard seats slide laterally through five selectable positions, allowing for access to the third row even with one or two rear-facing child seats installed in the second row. And with the centre-most seat slid forward, a child is put within easy reach of the front seat occupants
  • Super mode: like Easy Access mode but with the driver's side seat set to walk-in position (slid full forward with the seatback tilted) for maximum access to the third row
  • Wide mode: with the centre seat removed and two outboard seats in their outer most positions, providing a wide centre walkthrough to the third row
  • Buddy mode: with the centre seat removed and two outboard seats abutting one another in the centre of the vehicle, putting two people in close proximity and within easier reach of the front seat occupants.

American Honda is said to be looking hard at whether or not there could be a need for an Odyssey Hybrid.

American Honda is said to be looking hard at whether or not there could be a need for an Odyssey Hybrid. This would logically use the same powertrain as the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. In theory it would compete with the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, even though that similarly sized minivan is in fact a plug-in hybrid.

The Elysion, a full-sized minivan, was released in Japan in May 2004. There were originally three engines: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder, a 3.0-litre V6 and a 3.5-litre V6, the latter two with cylinder deactivation. The 3.0-litre V6 was dropped during 2010.

The Dongfeng Honda JV began building the Elysion in China in May 2012, with the vehicle on sale locally from the following month. Production in Japan ceased during 2013 but continues in China. In a class ruled by the aged Buick GL8, the Elysion being far from youthful is not too major a factor.

The replacement model is due in 2018. It is expected to use the GLTP2 platform that was introduced by the third generation Acura MDX in mid-2013.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.