Honda recently previewed a Concept RS SUV that will receive a production-spec model later this year
Honda is one manufacturer that has lost major ground in the Indian passenger vehicle market in the last few years. This is primarily due to the lack of a proper SUV in its lineup for India. The Japanese brand discontinued CR-V from its portfolio in 2020 since it failed to bring volumes to the company thanks to its overpriced offering.
The carmaker continues to offer WR-V in the subcompact UV space but can be best described as a crossover. Hence, its sales figures aren’t remotely as close to its rivals in the sub-4 metre space which have more SUV credentials. Honda has finally decided to rectify its strategy by developing not one but two SUVs for the Indian market.
Upcoming Honda SUV
Honda has begun work on two all-new SUVs- one catering to the sub-4 metre segment and the other will be a compact C-segment offering. Both of them will be underpinned by the Amaze platform and are internally referred to as PF2 and PF2S respectively.
As per reports from Indonesia, Honda will unveil the production version of their Concept RS SUV at the 2022 GIIAS. Leaked documents reveal that it will be powered by the same 1.5 liter petrol I-VTEC engine, which powers other Honda cars like City and new BRV. Rumours are that this new SUV will be christened as WRV.
It was earlier perceived that the Honda mid-size SUV could be based on the City platform but that is not the case. Both SUVs will be underpinned by an updated version of Amaze architecture. In fact, this platform will have a lot in common with the fifth-gen Honda City (fourth generation in India) that uses a centrally located fuel tank.
Design and engineering responsibilities for both upcoming SUVs are being shared partly between Honda Cars India and its parent company in Japan. This arrangement should allow Honda to achieve a major part of re-engineering without investing too heavily. The subcompact SUV, which has been codenamed 3US, is expected to see daylight first with its speculated debut around mid-2023.
Honda Subcompact SUV (codename: 3US)
The design of the upcoming subcompact SUV has been locked in and engineering work is now progressing well. It will be designed to take on the likes of Tata Nexon, Kia Sonet, Maruti Brezza and Mahindra XUV300 which have more SUV-like proportions with a high stance. Its design is of utmost importance since design of the low-slung WR-V wasn’t taken too well among Indian consumers.
Honda is expected to borrow powertrains for the subcompact SUV from Amaze that would include a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated i-Vtec petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. In Amaze, the former puts out 89 bhp and 110 Nm of peak torque while the latter kicks out 99 bhp and 200 Nm of peak torque. Honda is also likely to include some form of hybrid tech in order to provide a boost and better fuel economy to the SUV. The Japanese auto giant could also choose to forsake the sub-4m excise sop and offer a more powerful 1.5 petrol unit. The company intends to sell around 6,200 units of this SUV per month.
Honda Mid-Size SUV (Codename: 3RA)
Next in line is the bigger compact C-segment SUV that will lock horns with Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and others. Internally codenamed 3RA, this SUV is expected to measure around 4.3 metre in overall length and is likely to launch in India sometime in early 2024. This SUV is expected to borrow powertrains from the fifth-gen City including its cleaner and more fuel-efficient Hybrid avatar.
Internal estimates show that Honda will be able to sell around 4,100 units of this SUV when launched in the country. Reports also claim that Honda is contemplating on developing a three-row version of this SUV with six- or seven-seat configurations. Honda also recently teased its upcoming fully electric SUV named Prologue.