LOS ANGELES - Honda used the Los Angeles Auto Show last week for the debut of the all-new HR-V in its U.S. specifications.
The most notable feature of the new SUV is its diminutive size. The HR-V is based on the subcompact Honda Fit and it measures nine inches shorter than the CR-V.
Still, Honda says, it has packed a lot of features in the small car. For example, the SUV comes with configurable rear seats that can either fold flat for a big cargo area, or they can fold up for about four feet of vertical space. The seats are similar to those in the smaller Fit hatchback -- Honda calls them "Magic Seats."
Standard equipment on all HR-V models will include power locks, windows and mirrors, cruise control, a back-up camera and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgraded models come with other creature comforts like heated leather seats, a sunroof, all-wheel-drive and a camera that displays the right-hand lane when the driver tries to shift lanes.
For safety, the HR-V will come with standard conventional safety features like anti-lock brakes, lots of airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. All models will also come with stability control and traction control as well as a driver-side mirror that has a built-in wide view.
Honda executives say that, despite the small size, the car is remarkably roomy on the inside. They say the company also placed soft-touch materials throughout the cabin to give it a higher quality feel. They also used a lot of sound-deadening materials to keep the ride quiet.
Powering the little SUV is a version of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine from the Honda Civic. With 138 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque, the engine is more powerful than the 1.5-liter mill found in the Fit.
An automatic continuously-variable transmission will be standard, but a six-speed manual transmission will be available on two-wheel drive models.
Honda has been slowly revealing details about the new SUV. It was first hinted in January 2013 when Honda showed off the Urban SUV concept. Since then, Honda has produced a version of the little SUV in Japan called the Vezel. The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show marks the first time the public can see the car in its North American trim.
The HR-V is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms in the spring of 2015. When it arrives, it will be a contender in a growing segment of subcompact SUVs. The Nissan Juke and Buick Encore are two of the current subcompact SUVs. However, the field will be more crowded as Chevrolet plans to sell the Trax, Mazda is preparing the CX-3 and Jeep will soon be selling the Renegade.
Prices and exact specifications of the HR-V are expected to be revealed in a few months, but you can expect it to fall right below the CR-V in most dimensions.