One of the first compact soft-roaders, one Australians still identify with this exploding market segment, is back with a vengeance. Honda will have its new compact SUV contender, the CR-V take pride of place at the AIMS as it prepares to put the new SUV on sale next month.
One of the brand’s most popular models – it’s sold more than 5.5 million globally since it was launched in 1995 – the new CR-V will be offered in front and all-wheel-drive for the first time. The two-wheel-drive model will be offered in two model variants and be powered by a 2-litre engine producing 114kW and 190Nm of torque.
That’s all channelled to the front wheels via six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission and claiming 7.8L/100km for fuel use for the manual and 7.7 for the auto. Buyers looking at an all-wheel- drive model will still have a choice of three specification levels but they all get the 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine offering 140kW and 222Nm, teamed only to a five-speed automatic.
Fuel use is a claimed 8.7. The CR-V model will use the latest generation of Honda’s Real Time AWD system which has had its hydraulic system replaced by an electronic system that Honda says responds more quickly to changing conditions, as well as reducing weight and fuel consumption.
The brand is also expecting to have a 110kW/350Nm turbo-diesel model to join the line-up from the middle of 2013. The new Honda SUV has been given a sharper, more aggressive look, including a 30mm reduction in overall height; the engineers have also increased the amount of sound insulation in key areas and put double seals on the doors, all of which has reduced cabin noise.
Boot capacity is now 589 litres (up from 556 litres) and when the rear seats are folded flat there is 1648 litres of space – a 148-litre increase, says Honda – and the load lip has been reduced by 25mm for easier loading. Also on the Honda stand will be the CR-Z, examples of the Civic range, the Odyssey people mover, Accord and Accord Euro sedans and the Jazz hatchback.