NEW customers are in the firing line for Honda as it launches its all-new HR-V.
The compact SUV, which starts from $24,990, carries a sales burden for the Japanese marque as it attempts to claw back sales volume.
With sales predictions of 800 HR-Vs a month, about 60% of buyers are expected to be new Honda customers.
Honda Australia director Stephen Collins has predicted the brand will return to sales figures in the realm of 60,000 within the next three years - 20,000 units above what is forecast in 2015.
Much of that sales pressure falls on the HR-V. Compact SUVs were among the few segments which grew in popularity last year in a market which flattened.
Mr Collins said the HR-V adopts the "Jazz formula", with a strong specification list, along with sexy and sleek looks.
It will be available in three grades, VTi, VTi-S and VTi-L, with seven exterior colour choices.
It is currently available with only a four-cylinder petrol engine, partnered to an automatic CVT. A diesel derivative is in the works, but Honda has not revealed timing.
Basic equipment includes cruise control, CD stereo with 17.7cm colour touch-screen and HDMI/USB/auxiliary jacks, full Bluetooth connectivity, reversing camera, 16-inch alloys, climate controlled air con, six airbags (including full length curtain) and a full safety suite which helps achieve what Honda calls an "equivalent ANCAP" five-star safety rating. It is yet to be tested in Australia.
Spend the extra coin for the VTi-S and it adds automatic wipers/lights, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, 17-inch alloys, LED headlights and daytime running lights, blind spot monitoring system and an active braking function which can automatically help avoid or lessen collisions at low speed.
Opt for the VTi-L and you get all the fruit, like front and rear parking sensors, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, panoramic sunroof, dual cone air con, black leather trim with the front seats gaining a heating function, rear arm rest and auto up-down windows on all doors.
There is also the Advanced Driver Assist option, which throws in key safety features forward collision warning which alerts the driver to an impending obstacle with an instrument light and audio alert, lane departure warning which highlights if the vehicle is straying outside the lines, along an automatic high-beam function.
Model: Honda HR-V.
Details: Five-door front-wheel drive compact sports utility vehicle.
Engine: 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol generating maximum power of 105kW @ 6500rpm and peak torque of 172Nm @ 4300rpm.
Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.
Consumption: 6.6 litres/100km (combined average); 6.9L/100km (VTi-S and L).
CO2: 155g/km; 160g/km (VTi-S and L).
Bottom line: VTi $24,990, VTi-S $27,990, VTi-L will be $32,990, VTI-L with ADAS $33,990.
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