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First look: Honda uncovers next CR-V

Upcoming: The ‘CR-V Concept’ will make its public debut at the Orange County International Auto Show in Anaheim, California, in September.

Fourth-gen Honda CR-V emerges in concept form ahead of its 2012 Australian launch

Honda logo26 Jul 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

HONDA has released an image of its first all-new CR-V since 2006, confirming the fourth-generation compact SUV will go on sale in North America by the end of this year ahead of its Australian launch next year.

The ‘CR-V Concept’ will make its public debut at the Orange County International Auto Show in Anaheim, California, in September, so it is likely the production version will bow at the Los Angeles show in November.

Dressed in a chunkier new interpretation of the current model’s distinctive exterior design, the CR-V concept appears to be production-ready except, perhaps, for its oversized alloy wheels, gloss black underbody cladding and dark-tinted headlights.

Although the next CR-V’s rear end cannot be seen, it is clear it will continue to feature the current model’s trademark vertical tail-light concept, which like the vehicle’s bolder front end should also take on a more aggressive demeanour.

Likewise, the 2012 CR-V’s interior remains concealed behind blacked-out glass, but Honda says it will offer more space than before, along with a lower floor in the rear storage area.

No mechanical details have been announced, but Honda says the new CR-V will be powered by “more efficient engines compared to the current model”, possibly aided by a reduction in kerb weight.

Significantly, the Mk4 generation will be the first CR-V to comprise a front-wheel-drive derivative, potentially matching the price and efficiency of the host of Japanese and Korean compact SUVs that now populate the volume-selling end of Australia’s compact SUV segment.

Sales of Honda’s one-time compact SUV leader remain down 19.5 per cent in a segment that is up 1.5 per cent in the first half of this year.

This is despite a midlife facelift and price reduction for the CR-V in February 2010, a substantial $2300 price cut on the mid-range CR-V Sport late last year, the release of a value-added ‘Extra Pack’ for Sport and Luxury variants in January and more price cuts of between $2900 and $3400 across the range from June 1.

Launched in Australia in February 2007, so far this year the MkIII CR-V holds a 5.4 per cent share of a compact SUV segment now led by Subaru’s Forester (11.2 per cent), followed by Hyundai’s ix35 (9.9 per cent), Nissan’s X-Trail (9.4 per cent), Toyota’s RAV4 (9.6 per cent), Nissan’s Dualis (7.8 per cent), Mazda’s CX-7 (7.3 per cent) and Mitsubishi’s Outlander (6.4 per cent).

CR-V sales remain strong in the US and Europe, where the new model goes on sale in early 2012. The new model will again be sold in more than 160 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

“Long considered the benchmark for packaging and user-friendly design in the small SUV segment, the all-new CR-V will offer an added dimension of style, amazing interior versatility and Honda's latest technologies for convenience and refinement,” said American Honda’s John Mendel.

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