Honda has announced that the all-new ZR-V will go on sale in Japan from April 21, 2023, with both hybrid and turbocharged powertrains set to be made available.

For a brief recap, the ZR-V is the global name for the US-market HR-V that made its debut in April this year, which is different from the one we have in Malaysia to meet the unique requirements of customers in said market. According to Honda, ZR-V stands for ‘Z Runabout Vehicle’, which is a reference to Generation Z.

The ZR-V is categorised as a C-segment crossover and shares its underpinnings with the 11th-generation Civic. Within the Honda line-up, it sits between the global market HR-V and CR-V, measuring 4,567 mm long, 1,839 mm wide, 1,621 mm tall and with a wheelbase of 2,654 mm.

By comparison, the local HR-V we have here is 4,385 mm long, 1,790 mm wide, 1,590 mm tall and its wheelbase spans 2,610 mm. As for the CR-V, it’s fairer to reference the newer sixth-generation model that measures 4,694 mm long, 1,864 mm wide 1,681 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,700 mm.

The outgoing fifth-generation CR-V is 4,623 mm long, 1,855 mm wide, 1,679 mm tall and has a wheelbase that isn’t too far off the ZR-V at 2,660 mm. It’s widely reported that the ZR-V will effectively replace the CR-V in Japan as well as Europe.

The most obvious competitor for the ZR-V is the Toyota Corolla Cross, which has the following dimensions: 4,460 mm length, 1,825 mm width, 1,620 mm height and 2,640 mm wheelbase. The Toyota crossover is currently sold in several markets that the ZR-V/US-market HR-V will enter, including Japan, Europe and North America.

It’s not certain if ASEAN markets will get Honda’s new crossover, but given the Corolla Cross has a presence in our region, it would make sense for the ZR-V to come over and put up a fight – we’ll have to wait and see.

For Japan, the ZR-V will be available with a 1.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine providing 178 PS (176 hp or 131 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm of torque from 1,700 to 4,500 rpm. The VTEC Turbo mill is paired with a CVT and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive.

The other option is the Honda’s e:HEV hybrid powertrain that features a 2.0 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with 141 PS (139 hp or 104 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 182 Nm at 4,500 rpm. The combustion engine is mated to an electric motor and acts primarily as a generator to power a separate traction motor rated at 184 PS (181 hp or 135 kW) and 315 Nm.

However, the hybrid’s e-CVT can clutch the engine onto the wheels at higher speeds when it is more efficient to do so. Like the non-hybrid, the e:HEV powertrain comes in front- and all-wheel drive flavours. Two grade levels (X and Z) are available for each powertrain, and the ZR-V will be priced between 3,298,900 and 3,768,600 yen (RM106,431 and RM121,584), inclusive of the country’s 10% consumption tax.

In terms of equipment, the Japan-spec ZR-V is available with full LED headlamps, a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, 18-inch wheels, ambient lighting, leather upholstery, a Honda Connect touch-based infotainment system, powered front seats and standard Honda Sensing (autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, auto high beam, adaptive driving beam, traffic jam assist, false start suppression).