The car depicted here wears plates and badges that read Vezel, which is what Honda calls the HR-V in its home market. This means you're essentially laying eyes on the future iteration of one of the most popular compact crossovers in Malaysia; one that has successfully converted the staunchest sedan purists to life behind the wheel of a jacked-up hatchback.
While the overall look is sleek and clean, it's quite a radical departure from the HR-V we've gotten used to, with the standout design elements being the body-coloured grille a la Ferrari Roma and the visual bridges between the light clusters on both ends of the vehicle. As far as successors go, this one certainly looks more promising than the comparatively conventional design of the 2022 Civic Prototype.
As the bluish tint around the Honda badge and the e:HEV lettering suggest, a hybrid variant is the highlight of the range, while a 1.5-litre petrol mill and the option for AWD continue to be offered in Japan. The electrified powertrain is likely the same 109PS/253Nm system with a 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle mill powering the recently launched Honda City RS.
Things look fresh and minimalistic inside, though you don't get as much screen acreage as you would in a Honda e. That said, the new Vezel/HR-V is equipped with the Honda Connect infotainment system and an updated Honda Sensing suite of semi-autonomous driver aids.
With the Malaysian market looking like an increasingly unlikely destination for the fourth-generation Honda Jazz given the invention of the Honda City Hatchback for this corner of the globe, among other markets, the next-gen HR-V looks like to be quite an appealing proposition for brand loyalists who have no interest in sedans or hatchbacks derived from one. Will this be the car to finally quell the hype surrounding the Proton X50? You'll have a long wait on your hands either way.