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New CR-V spearheads Honda model roll-out

The new Honda CR-V is due here shortly.

This mid-sized SUV has been one of the mainstays of the Honda range ever since its release here in 1997. Along with the Toyota RAV4, CR-V was one of the trailblazers in what was then a new class of vehicles – one that has since grown dramatically as more and more buyers appreciate their practical benefits.

Where CR-V has lagged behind many of its competitors is in offering the option of a two-wheel drive variant. Ever since the tariff anomaly which, illogically, favoured the importation of 4WD vehicles over 2WDs was dropped in January 2010 Honda’s rivals have progressively added 2WDs to their SUV range. A very sensible move given that most buyers in this segment are urban-based and appreciate the lower price and running costs by deleting a feature that most didn’t need or want in the first place.

The lack of a 2WD variant, together with an ageing model and, more recently, production delays because of the Thailand floods, have seen CR-V’s sales numbers drop significantly in the past couple of years from its heyday when it was consistently among the top three or four sellers in the market segment. The upcoming fourth-generation CR-V will help correct this situation and will become the first to be offered with the choice of two or four-wheel drive. We’ll be attending the CR-V launch in mid-November and will give full details, including our drive impressions, of the new model then.

Next cab off the Honda rank, in the first quarter of 2013, will be a hybrid version of the company’s popular Jazz hatch. Honda was the first company to bring a mass-produced petrol/electric hybrid car on to the Australian market in March 2001, about six months ahead of the Toyota Prius. The Jazz Hybrid will be Honda’s fourth hybrid vehicle, joining the Insight, Civic Hybrid and CR-Z.

The first half of 2013 will also see the upgrade of another Honda staple, with the arrival of the ninth-generation Accord. The new model went on sale recently in the United States in both sedan and coupe form with a number of powertrains including a conventional hybrid. A plug-in hybrid version will be released in the US in early 2013.

Both the Accord Hybrid and Accord Plug-In Hybrid are under consideration for Australia however Mr Satoshi Matsuzawa advised there is currently no time frame.