In the market for a subcompact crossover? The Honda HR-V could be a good choice, though the 1.8-liter atmospheric inline-four with its 141 horsepower (105 kW) means it may not appeal to performance enthusiasts. But the new HR-V Sport stands to fix that.
Announced today for the European market, the HR-V Sport gets the 1.5-liter turbocharged VTEC four from the Civic, kicking out a far more impressive 179 horsepower (134 kW) and as much as 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) of torque. (That’s with the six-speed manual; the CVT gets the same amount of power but less torque at 162 lb-ft/220 nM.)
The more potent engine isn’t the only element that sets the Sport model apart from “lesser” HR-Vs, though. It also gets a Performance Damper – sort of an adaptive roll bar – that keeps the vehicle level through the corners and softens up on bumpier roads. The variable-ratio electric steering is also unique to the HR-V Sport. And there are some visual changes inside and out as well.
There’s a new body kit with front splitter, side skirts, wheel-arch moldings, and more aggressively styled rear bumper, all finished in black to match the mirror caps. The Sport model also rides on its own set of 18-inch alloys (bigger than the 17s offered on the North American version), and features dual exhaust pipes, LED lighting, darkened exterior trim, and an interior upgraded with more generously bolstered front seats, black and red upholstery, and a black headliner.
It all adds up to a decidedly sportier take on the HR-V (also known as the Vezel in some markets), and makes us wish we could get one in America.