HR-Verve: Honda’s Four Tuned HR-Vs Cross Over—to the Interesting Side

Not only did Honda make a strong showing at the 2015 SEMA show, with tuned versions of everything from the new Pilot crossover to the Acura ILX, a refreshed CR-Z, and a peek at the next Ridgeline pickup, but it did seemingly the impossible. That is, it made the decidedly conservatively styled but ultra competent HR-V appear cool. How did it do that? By handing out examples of its new tiny crossover to four tuners and telling them to show up with something neat.

Honda HR-V Bisimoto Engineering concept

Bisimoto Engineering HR-V

While not nearly as disturbed as the 1029-hp Odyssey minivan Bisimoto displayed in Honda’s SEMA stand a few years ago, the tuner’s HR-V nonetheless receives a big horsepower bump. Bisimoto’s preferred power-enhancement method—a turbocharger—is employed as well as an ECU tune, a cat-back exhaust, and a Turbonetics blowoff valve, netting the normally 141-hp HR-V 230 ponies. Buddy Club supplies the wheels, coil-over suspension, front seats, and a brake kit. Our favorite part of Bisimoto’s HR-V build? It’s based on the more-fun-to-drive, stick-shift, front-drive HR-V. Save the Manuals!

Honda HR-V MAD Industries concept and Honda Grom MAD Industries concept

MAD Industries HR-V and “Street Fighter” Grom Motorcycle

No offense to MAD Industries and its successful manipulation of the HR-V’s somewhat homely appearance into a neat hot hatch, but the Grom motorcycle on the trailer behind the crossover just stole its thunder. We like the tiny Grom—and even put one in our office for some riding—so naturally we’re crazy about MAD’s custom race-ready version. Its frame has been stretched, the suspension lowered, the shocks swapped for Ohlins pieces, and the 125-cc engine modded to displace 204 cc. Most of the trim pieces are now carbon fiber, and the wheels are custom, too. It even rides on a neat little trailer with wheels that match the HR-V tow vehicle’s. As we said before, the HR-V is quite cool with its matte-white body wrap, forged 20-inch rims, lowered suspension, and custom leather interior, and Rockford Fosgate sound system. But just look at that Grom!

Honda HR-V Fox Marketing concept

Fox Marketing HR-V

In terms of downright meanness, the Fox Marketing–modified HR-V sits right up there with the Bisimoto job. Squatting on coilovers, with those dark-finished Konig wheels over colossal brakes, the Fox HR-V is more hot hatch than suburban cruiser. The look is cool, even though powertrain modifications are limited to a cold-air intake and a Magnaflow exhaust setup. In fact, as it sits, Fox Marketing’s creation gives the Fit a run for its money (visually, at least).