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Honda confirms HR-V diesel for Oz

Good oil: Honda's Jazz-based HR-V range will expand this year with the addition of a diesel-powered variant.

Petrol-powered Honda HR-V soon to be joined by diesel with manual and auto

Honda logo13 Feb 2015

HONDA Australia has confirmed it will offer a diesel engine option for its just-launched HR-V crossover, but is passing on the hybrid powertrain available in Japan.

Set to join the HR-V line-up later this year or in early 2016, the four-cylinder turbo-diesel in question will be a variation of the 88kW/300Nm 1.6-litre Earth Dreams unit first seen here two years ago in the European-sourced Civic hatchback.

Few rivals in the light SUV class offer diesel engines, but Peugeot's 2008 is available with a 115kW/240Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel while Mazda's forthcoming CX-3’s will feature a new-to-Australia 77kW/270Nm 1.5-litre unit.

Along with the six-speed manual gearbox currently serving the latter, the HR-V will also gain an as yet undisclosed automatic option.

Whether that is a variation of the petrol version’s continuously variable transmission (CVT), the company’s recently announced nine-speed torque converter auto, or even the seven-speed dual-clutch unit found in the HR-V hybrid is not yet known.

Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said the diesel would add a new element to the range, but added that it would not be a volume seller.

“Particularly with SUVs, our strategy is that diesels are important engines for us to have,” he said. “But I don’t think it will be the lion’s share of HR-V volume. Petrol two-wheel drive is still very much going to take the bigger share.

“Our engine strategy is having competitive petrol models while offering diesel options where appropriate in certain segments, and then offering hybrid offerings as well as part of our global hybrid position.

However, the latter precludes the hybrid version of the HR-V for now due to very limited take-up potential.

“In Australia, hybrid is still generally in its infancy, so I think the opportunities in this segment (compact SUVs) with hybrid is very small,” Mr Collins said.

“It may grow in the long term, but we want to stick with the core product in this market, which is primarily petrol.” In Honda's Japanese home market, hybrid versions of the HR-V – or Vezel as it is known there – account for up to 80 per cent of total volume.

The hybrid is offered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive layouts, and combines a 97kW/156Nm 1.5-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol engine with a 22kW electric motor and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to deliver a total of 112kW/190Nm for a 0-100km/h time of just eight seconds, while averaging as little as 3.7L/100km on the Japanese official consumption cycle.

Australia has also rejected the 1.5-litre four-cylinder direct-injection variant available elsewhere.

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