Honda HR-V Sport finally adopts the 1.5-liter engine... in Europe

It's a step in the right direction, even if it's forbidden fruit for now.

Please, Honda, think about the US.

When I reviewed the new 2019 Honda HR-V Sport in the US, I lamented its reliance on the old (albeit tried and true) 1.8-liter I4 gas engine. It appears Honda is slowly figuring this out, too, and it's given the car a new dash of intrigue -- in Europe.

The Honda HR-V Sport launches in Europe with the same 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 that's also found in the new Civic lineup. In the HR-V, it makes a solid 180 horsepower, with torque ranging from 162 to 177 pound-feet of torque, depending on the transmission. A six-speed manual is standard, but a continuously variable transmission is also on offer.

In addition to the new engine, the HR-V Sport also packs a sportier set of dampers that Honda says will keep the car flatter in turns. It also has a variable ratio electric power steering system. Otherwise, it's mechanically similar to the standard HR-V.

Like the US-spec HR-V Sport, the European model is kitted out with dark accents all over the dang place. The front end has high-gloss black trim in place of chrome, the grille is unique to the Sport trim, and there are sporty flourishes around the side skirts, fenders and rear bumper. The interior gets special front seats and, like the US model, a black headliner.

Europeans can get their first taste of this properly sporty HR-V early in 2019. Hopefully Honda sees fit to bring something similar to the US -- competitors like the Hyundai Kona have more powerful engine options that make the daily commute a bit more fun, and Honda would be silly to not keep up with those Joneses.