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After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid?

Sanjay ยท May 16, 2024 05:11 PM

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 01

Earlier today, the 2024 Honda City Hatchback was launched in Malaysia (full report here). It is one of two models the company will introduce to our shores this year, though the other one is still an open-ended question.

Honda Malaysia's locally-assembled (CKD) line-up is pretty complete, with all major new models available in the region already on sale here, leaving the hypotheses to rest on two main theories: what's been out in Japan, and Honda's electrification goal as a whole.

Honda HR-V facelift: Already out in Japan

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 02

Accessorised version of the HR-V facelift in Japan

Perhaps the most obvious choice would be the Honda HR-V facelift. The current-gen compact SUV has been on sale in Malaysia since 2022, a year after it made its global debut as the Vezel in Japan. It's just turned three; ripe for a mid-life refresh that it received in Japan a couple of months ago.

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The facelift exercise granted the popular SUV an exterior and interior nip-and-tuck, as well updates to the dual-motor e:HEV hybrid system that expands its EV-only driving range. It's Honda Sensing ADAS suite also sees a meaningful refresh to include three new features.

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 01

The changes are subtle

It's a pretty holistic update, and given that the rest of Honda Malaysia's line-up is as fresh as it gets (either regionally or worldwide), the HR-V sticks out as the sole model that needs updating.

If our hunch is right, a launch this year is possible โ€“ lead times to CKD facelifted models aren't typically as long as introducing an all-new car.

Honda WR-V RS e:HEV: Only model without hybrid in Malaysia

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 02

Honda WR-V in Malaysia

On the other hand, the other plausible answer could be in the form of the Honda WR-V RS e:HEV hybrid. Yes, it doesn't exist just yet, and that's why it's possible.

Observe Honda's regional offerings and you'll note their range of e:HEV hybrid vehicles are prominent; in Malaysia, every model's (barring the Civic Type R...for now) top-spec variant is electrified. The City, City Hatchback, HR-V, CR-V, Civic, all have an RS e:HEV variant at the top of the totem pole.

Things are different with the WR-V, as its highest RS variant also shares the same 1.5-litre petrol engine with the rest of the range. However, the door is not closed just yet โ€“ last year, Honda Malaysia explicitly mentioned that a hybrid powertrain for the model is "being considered for the future."

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 03

The company's polite response is understandable, given that no other country has launched a WR-V hybrid yet, at the same time subtly suggesting that the possibility of a WR-V hybrid is still open.

Remember, during the launch of the FE generation 2022 Honda Civic in January 2022, Honda Malaysia initially offered only the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine. Later, in December 2022, a 2.0-litre hybrid variant was introduced.

Why can't it be the Honda BR-V or Accord?

After City Hatchback facelift, Honda Malaysia to launch 1 more car in 2024 - HR-V facelift or WR-V e:HEV hybrid? 04

Sayonara: the 11th-gen Accord won't be here

Chances of it being the Honda BR-V is slim to none, seeing that the company has replaced the 7-seater with the WR-V. This boils down to mainly two reasons: inflationary pressures would've made the BR-V see prices surpass the RM 100k mark, and two, newer, cheaper rivals like the Perodua Alza and Mitsubishi Xpander dominate the segment.

As for the 11th-gen Accord? It was announced earlier that it won't be making it here, owing to Malaysia's competitive landscape for new cars as well as heightened preference among customers for SUVs like the Honda CR-V.

Sanjay

Senior Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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