Cohort Sighting: 1999-2006 Honda HRV – The 2015 HR-V’s Uncommon Predecessor

Honda HRV side(images posted at the Cohort by Don Andreina)

I was scrolling back a few pages at the Cohort, which is really overwhelming. So many incredible finds; I hope you all visit there from time to time. Now this one may seem an odd one to take and post here, given the many exotics there, but there’s two reasons: I’ve never seen one in the wild, and now that Honda has a new HRV, and for the US too, I thought it might be appropriate to take a quickie look at Honda’s first shot at a really compact CUV.

Honda HRV fr don andreina

I remember reading about the HRV back in the day, although it wasn’t exactly all that well covered even in the European press. It was originally a concept shown at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show, called “Wild and Joyful” or something like that. Due to an enthusiastic response, the HRV was put into production in 1999, and sent to Europe as well. It’s based on a platform that is essentially unknown to me, the Honda Logo, which in turn was the predecessor to the Fit. So just like the new HR-V is based on the Fit, so the original HR-V was based on Honda’s smallest non-kei platform.

The HR-V was powered by Honda’s 1590cc D16W family of engines, a 105 PS base and 125 PS VTEC version. The Real Time AWD system was borrowed from the larger CR-V.

Honda HR-V_01image: Wikipedia

Although this was a quite compact car, with only 92.5″/2350mm wheelbase, the HR-V also came in a four door version. There was a mild face lift in 2002.

Honda HRV r

I don’t have detailed sales info available, but I do know it wasn’t exactly a big hit in Europe, despite being a quite competent little CUV, and rather a pioneering one, back in 1999. The lack of a diesel engine undoubtedly held back its appeal. I could see this as being quite popular in places like Italy, if it had a diesel on tap.

Honda 2015 hr-v

Since we’re on the subject, any thoughts on the new 2015 HR-V, called the Vezel in Japan? This time, there is a diesel for Europe, along with a six speed stick. US-bound HR-Vs apparently will only come with the Fit’s 1.5 L four teamed to a CVT.