Honda ZR-V: new hybrid-only SUV launching in 2023

The new compact SUV is expected to use the same platform and hybrid powertrain as the latest 11th-generation Civic hatchback

New Honda hybrid SUV

ZR-V – that’s the name Honda has revealed for its all-new compact hybrid SUV arriving in 2023 to take on the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Qashqai. It’s one of three new electrified models the Japanese carmaker is launching next year, alongside the next-generation CR-V and its first fully electric SUV.

To all intents and purposes, the ZR-V will be a Civic SUV, as we expect the new hybrid Honda to use the same platform and electrified powertrain as the latest version of the popular hatchback. We know it’ll use the brand’s e:HEV hybrid technology, most likely the Civic’s newly developed 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, tied to a pair of compact electric motors.

In the hybrid-only hatchback, this setup produces 181bhp and 315Nm of torque, and we expect power output for the new compact SUV to be the same. In terms of efficiency, we expect the ZR-V to return in excess of 50mpg fuel economy and around 120g/km CO2 emissions if it’s to be competitive with existing full-hybrid SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai E-POWER and Renault Austral E-TECH. For reference, Honda claims the latest Civic can return up to 60mpg and emits 108g/km of CO2.

The all-new CR-V, also arriving in 2023, will be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain as well as full-hybrid, although it has yet to be confirmed whether this same e:PHEV setup will make an appearance in the more compact ZR-V.

New Honda hybrid SUV

We got our first look at the ZR-V in March 2022 in the form of some concept images. They show that Honda is continuing to do away with the fussier elements of its older models, focusing on creating sleek, modern-looking cars. The art indicates the ZR-V will have a clean and simple design, much like the HR-V, but with some sportier cues like large side vents and a sharp nose. At the rear, it’ll get a small spoiler and similar tail-lights to the Civic.

Inside, we’re likely to see a 10.2-inch digital driver’s display paired with a nine-inch touchscreen, and the same minimalist cabin design as the latest HR-V. The ZR-V will also get the latest iteration of Honda’s SENSING safety technology suite, which in the Civic includes lane-keeping assistance, intelligent adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information and traffic-jam assistance, among other systems.

When it arrives in 2023, we believe the ZR-V will start at around £30,000 as it's slotting in between the existing HR-V and all-new CR-V that’s also debuting next year. The latter is set to grow in size over the current generation, to face off against larger models like the Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Sorento.

Honda ZR-V

Next year will also see Honda launch its first-ever electric SUV in Europe, previewed by the e:Ny1 Prototype. The rest of the brand’s now completely electrified line-up includes the latest Civic hatchback and the Honda e electric city car

Honda has also revealed plans for 30 new electric models to go on sale globally by 2030, including electric successors to the Honda NSX and Honda S2000 sports cars. The Japanese brand is also working with General Motors (which owns Chevrolet among other brands) to develop a series of affordable electric cars, including compact crossover SUVs, primarily for the American and Chinese markets.

Finally, Honda is looking to team up with consumer electronics juggernaut Sony to form a new company dedicated to developing and selling electric cars. Although the partnership hasn’t been finalised just yet, it’s expected the joint venture’s first EV will arrive in 2025.

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