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Future models - Honda - CR-V - 4WD wagon

Added bulk, grunt for the Honda CR-V

Similar, yet different: The next generation CR-V is not dramatically different in the looks department, but it promises livelier performance and more interior space.

Honda has adopted a cautious approach in styling its new CR-V

14 Aug 2001

HONDA has obviously embraced the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" in designing its all-new CR-V.

This spy pic shows the next generation soft-roader carries over the proportions and most of the styling cues of the existing, hot-selling model.

The new four-wheel drive is likely to make its Australian debut at October's Sydney motor show and is tipped to go on sale soon after - although Honda Australia refuses to confirm this.

Sources suggest Honda's hot-selling off-roader will grow in size to meet the challenge posed by the Mazda Tribute/Ford Escape - launched earlier this year - and Nissan's imminent X-Trail.

The vehicle's extra bulk will be offset by added grunt from a new 2.4-litre iVTEC low-emission engine in place of the 2.0-litre unit that motivates the existing model.

Expect an increase in power from 108kW to in excess of 120kW, along with a corresponding hike in torque.

The newcomer shares its underpinnings with the seventh generation Civic, which means the current CR-V's sophisticated double A-arm wishbone front suspension is ditched in favour of a more conventional coil springs/strut set-up.

A compact new double wishbone set-up at the rear may help increase luggage space.

The CR-V is believed to embrace the same cab-forward, high-roofed layout as the Civic and it is also likely to feature a walk-thru front-seat arrangement.

Externally, the CR-V is expected to carry over the basic theme of the current model but incorporate several styling cues pioneered by the Civic hatchback - such as its large angular headlights.

The newcomer should gain a more rakish profile as a result of its steeply angled windscreen and rear window, as well as better integrated bumpers, mirrors, door handles and grille.

It also gains more pronounced bonnet creases and a separate D-pillar instead of the blacked-out wrap-around window treatment used currently.

The CR-V was a huge success for Honda last year, notching up 12,866 sales to topple the Toyota LandCruiser as the biggest selling off-roader in Australia.

But its charge has wilted this year thanks to a significant price increase and fresher, newer opposition.

It earned just 558 sales last month, placing it fourth in the compact off-roader segment behind the Toyota RAV4, Mazda Tribute and Subaru Forester.

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