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Cut-price Honda CR-V seven-seater turbo in the wings

Coming soon: As GoAuto has reported, a lower-spec version of the seven-seat CR-V will hit showrooms next year (VTi-L pictured).

Sub-$35K Honda CR-V seven seater coming next year with turbo-petrol power

30 Aug 2018

HONDA Australia will launch a cheaper version of its CR-V seven-seat SUV next year and it will be powered by the company’s 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
As GoAuto reported back in May, Honda is planning to offer a sub-$35,000 three-row version of the hot selling SUV. Currently the seven seater is only available in mid-range VTi-L specification from $38,990 plus on-road costs.
According to Honda Australia director Stephen Collins, the success of the CR-V range – which has helped drive sales up by 28.4 per cent so far this year – has prompted the company to explore further niches within the booming SUV segment. 
“We think that maybe there are more opportunities with CR-V in a lower grade in a seven-seater version,” he revealed to journalists at the launch of the HR-V facelift in Melbourne this week. “And we are working on that, so that might be something that we can deliver to market in the not-too-distant future.”
Mr Collins confirmed that the cheaper seven seater will continue with the 140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine as per all existing CR-Vs from the $30,690 VTi upwards, sidestepping the new base Vi’s 113kW/189Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit.
“I think it would be the turbocharged engine,” he said. “The new Vi (five seater) will be the only model without the turbo engine in the CR-V line-up.”
The new variant could be based on the VTi-S grade that is sits under the VTi-L, meaning that it could lose the existing variant’s leather-faced seats (heated up front and eight-way electronically adjustable for the driver’s) and panoramic sunroof.
Alternatively, Honda could give the likes of the Mitsubishi Outlander ES seven seater (from $30,990) and Nissan X-Trail ST seven seater (from $32,490) a run for their money by stepping down two levels to VTi grade.
This would mean ditching goodies such as an electric tailgate, satellite navigation, parking sensors all round, auto on/off headlights and wipers, a leather-sheathed steering wheel, folding mirrors, 18-inch alloys, and Honda’s unique Lane Watch system which displays the video feed of a left-hand mirror-mounted camera when the left indicator is in use to check for objects in the driver’s blind spot.
However, unlike up-spec versions of the Outlander as well as the newly released Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, no all-wheel-drive CR-V seven seater is planned, since the Thai plant that produces the entire range for Australia currently does not offer it.
Launched last year as a new addition to the 20-year-old nameplate in Australia, the RW-series CR-V seven seater was developed as a result of consumer demand from Asian markets such as Thailand and Indonesia, as well as requests from Honda Australia. 
Honda had resisted engineering a seven seater in earlier generations back in 2006 (RE series) and 2012 (RW series) namely because the key North American market that drove previous CR-V development deemed a seven seater unnecessary due to the larger Honda Pilot full-sized SUV that sold alongside the mid-sizer. 

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