Honda Motor has a tendency to do things differently and that was quite visible at the Middle East launch labelled ‘Power of 3’, that saw the brand new Honda HR-V joined by the model year updates to the Honda CR-V and Honda Pilot along with the brand new CB1000R and the new drive-by-wire Honda BF 250 marine engine.
The star of the show was the new Honda HR-V, marking the brand’s seriousness about the entry level B-SUV segment in the region. Powered by a 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine with a power output of 140hp@6500rpm and a decent level of torque at 172Nm@4300rpm. Combined with a 7-stop CVT transmission, the engine offers a claimed 16.9 km/l of fuel efficiency along with a pseudo-manual mode for the transmission with paddle-shifters (grade dependent). The model range will only offer front-wheel drive as standard.
The CVT takes on Honda’s new approach of moving from a linear power output to one that is artificially stepped, like traditional gears, by the controller. This gives the transmission a more natural feel, while giving the ‘S’ mode a feeling of sportiness.
The new crossover also brings with it lifestyle related features like panoramic sunroof, a sporty new design that includes large 16 and 17″ alloy wheels, LED lights and tucked away door handles on the rear doors.
The interior offers a roomy interpretation of the B-segment platform, with ample leg and headroom in both rows and Honda’s new twin panel centre console. Here the infotainment system is a 6.8″ touch unit with external hard keys too. Interestingly, the remote key fob system works also to automatically lock the doors when the car senses the absence of the fob.
The all new Honda HR-V is available in DX, LX and EX grades and a choice of six external colors that go with its single interior colour choice – beige with black.
Commenting on the Power of 3 launch, Anup Ravindranath, General Manager – Business Development and Marketing, Honda Motor Co. Africa and Middle East Office, said: “We’re excited to be able to introduce the HR-V to the market here in the Middle East and Africa, as this is such a key market for SUVs. One in two cars purchased in the region is an SUV, and so we’re pleased to launch the HR-V alongside the updated popular CR-V and Pilot models. This expands our range of having an SUV to suit the needs of each of our customers.”
The other two SUV models have undergone some revision for the new model year, with the larger Honda Pilot getting eight-seat layout and a new interior feature suite along with some minor styling tweaks on the outside. The Honda pilot also gets the complete Honda Sensing suite of driver aid and safety features.
The Honda Pilot also features Honda’s new AWD controller in the i-VTM4 (Intelligent Variable Torque Management), that allows the system to offer true torque vectoring on all wheels. The transmission includes an electronically-controlled, hydraulically-actuated rear differential that takes care of the torque needs of the rear axle as well as across the axle itself.
The family favourite of the region, the Honda CR-V has undergone minor upgrades with the most interesting feature being the hands-free power tailgate release, similar to that now offered by a variety of models. It allows the tailgate to be opened by a swing of the foot under the tailgate area.
Styling changes are limited to the easily pliable zones of the exterior, with new alloy wheels and LED lighting completing the suite. The CR-V is available in DX and LX grades in FWD layout and EX and Touring grades in the AWD layout.
It also offers nine exterior colors and two colour combo choices for the interiors.
Honda’s naked street fighter with a whole new styling language offers a visually stunning interpretation of the litre class, while also bringing ride-by-wire simplicity.
The minimalistic styling is inspired by the theme of ‘Neo Sports Café’, with an engine that delivers more torque in the mid-range, while the power delivery at 10,000rpm has been boosted by 16%. The bike offers throttle-by-wire, with a choice of four user selectable modes – Rain, Standard, Sport and a User mode that can be programmed to individual preferences (can be operated on the fly). These influence power, braking and torque control.
The 998cc DOHC four-cylinder engine is reworked to offer 144hp@10,500rpm and 104Nm@8,250rpm peaks. The unit is based on the 2006 Fireblade’s block, but has forged pistons. It relines at 11,500rpm and the rev-limiter cuts in at 12,000.
The new speedo console is a brilliantly done digital unit with high clarity in direct sunlight and well laid out info pods.
The model will also be joined by a CB1000R+ later in the year, with ‘factory-fit’ accessories including heated grips, aluminium front fender panels, aluminium rear hugger panels, fly screen with aluminium inserts, single seat cowl with aluminium inserts, radiator grille with CB1000R logo, and quick shifter.
Honda BF250 Marine engine
The last item of the evening was the new drive-by-wire BF250 outboard engine. Based on the same compact 3.6-litre V6 block that powers the Honda Pilot, the new motor has been completely redesigned to offer easy accessibility, maintenance and usability.
The drive-by-wire mode allows Honda to offer a choice of remote consoles including a unit that can seamlessly handle four engines together, synchronising throttle and movement.
The new engine actually covers the series from BF175, BF200, BF225 and on to 250, all values indicating the nominal power. All units use the same V6 block.
These units will be available from the second half of 2019.