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Honda’s next-generation CR-V will need a significant upgrade to go up against the likes of the best-selling Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai Tucson, and based on a new render, it might just get what it needs.
Wearing the brand’s new front fascia design, as seen on the incoming HR-V, the new CR-V is more confident in its styling, eschewing the busy front-end of the current car for a flatter and smoother aesthetic.
Little is actually known about the 2023 CR-V, but Honda Australia has committed to bringing an electrified version of all new-generation models coming in the future, starting with the HR-V and Civic next year.
While a hybrid CR-V would be new territory for Honda Australia, it would give the brand ammunition to take on the hot-selling RAV4 Hybrid as it navigates its transition to an agency sales model that will see its local volume halve from 2019 levels.
An electrified CR-V isn’t new ground for Honda though, with two versions available overseas – a Chinese-market exclusive plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and a ‘self-charging’ hybrid offered in Europe and the US.
Both versions make use of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor combination, with a total system output of 158kW/315Nm, but details on electric-only driving range for the PHEV are unclear.
An evolution of these powertrains could be offered in the new-gen CR-V, but Honda could also make use of its new e:HEV hybrid technology that combines two electric motors with a 1.5-litre engine.
In the HR-V small SUV, the system outputs a total of 96kW/253Nm, but Honda could up the ante for the larger CR-V mid-sizer.
Rumours also point to a full-electric version offered later in the new-gen CR-V’s lifecycle, but Honda Australia has so far remained non-committal to full battery electric vehicles.
What is likely for the new CR-V though, is a carryover of the 1.5-litre turbo-petrol petrol engine, which outputs 140kW/240Nm to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in the current car.
This engine will also be featured in the now hatch-only 2022 Civic range.
In terms of timing, Honda is expected to show off its new CR-V sometime in 2022, for a launch late next year or even early in 2023.
The CR-V, alongside the Civic, HR-V, Odyssey and Accord, are the only models Honda Australia has committed to for the foreseeable future, with the brand ditching the waning-in-popularity Jazz and City light cars.