Published on August 28th, 2019 | by Hammer


Honda HR-V 1999 Retro Looking Crossover

Looking for a retro Japanese car to own that will stand out in the crowd and still be very easy to keep running as a daily driver? Well, we might have the answer right here. Meet the original HR-V from Honda.

Was this the world’s first actual crossover? Was Honda ahead of the rest when it released this crossover in 1999? Did Honda designers see the media reaction to the Isuzu VehiCross in 1997 (see image below) and thought they could produce something along the same funky lines but get it more mainstream looking in terms of market acceptance?

Well the 1st generation Honda HR-V was a true crossover and it was not like its bigger sibling the highly successful CR-V which was the SUV most Malaysians wanted. It was offered in two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions and initially only a 2-door model was made available.

Only one engine option was made available, a 1.6 VTEC borrowed from the Civic range which was good for 105bhp.  A 4-door version was launched in 2000 with a newer 123bhp VTEC engine and this was quite popular in North America and some ASEAN nations. However, in Malaysia it was never officially sold by Kah Motors (the brand guardian before Honda Malaysia was set up).

At the time Kah Motors preferred sedans as this was the market request. The HR-V was imported in by private importers and as a reconditioned car it was not popular due to little interest by Malaysians for crossovers at the time. Today, Malaysians love crossovers and it is gaining popularity over sedans.

Not may units were sold in Malaysia and they were mostly 2-door versions like the unit pictured below here. There are a handful of 4-door 123bhp units in the country and finding one in the used car market is like finding a classic Volkswagen Karman Ghia. Yes, it is that rare and we believe owners will hold on to their 1999-2004 HR-V’s as it is unique, parts no issue and it runs well.

If you find a 4-door 2004 model on sale with all its trim intact and running well, it might be worth buying. What should be the selling price? Well, with a car this rare this will be a ‘willing buyer willing seller’ price which could be anywhere between RM15,000 to a high RM30,000. If you know of anyone selling, please contact us as we have friends looking to own this retro crossover at the right price.

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