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CR-V facelift delayed by Honda

Waiting: The Honda CR-V will not get its scheduled makeover until next year.

Honda pushes back a midlife facelift for its struggling compact SUV

Honda logo23 Jul 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

HONDA has delayed the vital midlife facelift for its CR-V, which was once Australia’s top-selling compact SUV but now trails Subaru’s all-conquering Forester, Toyota’s once-dominant RAV4, Hyundai’s Tucson, the Nissan X-Trail and even Mitsubishi’s Outlander.

Launched here in February 2007, the third-generation CR-V – sales of which are more than 50 per cent down so far this year – was due to have been upgraded this year, as revealed to GoAuto by Honda Australia managing director and CEO Yasuhide Mizuno at this year’s Melbourne show.

The release of the yet-to-appear CR-V facelift, which is believed to comprise cosmetic updates and extra safety features at base level but no mechanical changes, has now been pushed back to 2010 because of the worldwide automotive market downturn.

Honda Australia national public relations manager Mark Higgins said this week the refreshed CR-V will go on sale here later than expected in the first quarter of 2010.

“It has been pushed back one quarter or two, but that’s about all,” confirmed Mr Higgins. “I think it’s probably a lot to do with the global financial crisis. All the factories have moved down in the number of shifts they are doing. It is a global decision – not ours.”

GoAuto understands the revised CR-V will bring side curtain airbags at no extra cost on the entry-level variant, which currently only features twin front and front-side airbags as standard, bringing Honda’s small SUV entrant into line with its leading competitors.

Honda has confirmed it will also bring a smoother front-end look than the current model’s, via revised headlights, a less complex grille and new front bumper.

“It’s a minor model change, not a full model change, so my understanding is there will be mainly cosmetic changes – just some visual changes. There will be no mechanical changes at this stage,” said Mr Higgins.

The CR-V’s share of Australia’s compact SUV segment has shrunk by almost half since mid-2008, from more than 13 per cent to 7.4 per cent.

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