Honda ZR-V: new hybrid-only SUV revealed ahead of 2023 launch

Honda's new compact SUV will use the same platform and hybrid powertrain as the latest Civic hatchback

The first official images of the Honda ZR-V compact SUV have appeared on the brand's Japanese-market website. The new hybrid-only model will arrive in 2023 as a rival for the Kia Sportage, Citroen C5 Aircross 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 is a Civic SUV, as it uses the same platform and electrified powertrain as the latest version of the popular hatchback. Under the bonnet is the 'Sports e:HEV' hybrid setup from the Civic, which consists of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine plus a pair of compact electric motors.

This produces 181bhp and 315Nm of torque, and in the ZR-V can be expected to return over 50mpg fuel economy and around 120g/km CO2 emissions, putting it on terms with rival hybrid SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai E-POWER and Renault Austral E-TECH.

We got our first look at the ZR-V in March 2022 when Honda released a set of concept images of the car. Along with the first official pictures, they show that the ZR-V will have a clean and simple design, much like the latest 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, there's a 10.2-inch digital driver’s display paired with a nine-inch touchscreen, and the same minimalist cabin design as the 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, pricing for the ZR-V is expected to at around £30,000, as it slots in between the existing HR-V and new CR-V that’s also debuting next year. The latter is set to grow in size over the current generation, and will be available with plug-in hybrid power in Europe.

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 primarily for the American and Chinese markets.

Finally, Honda is teaming up with consumer electronics juggernaut Sony to form a new company dedicated to developing and selling electric cars. The joint venture’s first EV is planned for 2025.

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