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Future models - Honda - CR-V

Honda Australia rules out diesel CR-V

New chapter: Honda has big hopes for the fifth-generation CR-V SUV which will lob in showrooms in the second half of 2017.

No diesel but big growth planned for new CR-V, according to Honda

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Honda logo8 Dec 2016

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

HONDA Australia has ruled out offering a diesel-engined CR-V when the new model arrives in the third quarter of next year, despite wanting to almost double the monthly sales rate for the mid-size SUV that is now all-but-confirmed to launch locally in five- and seven-seat guise.

The four-year-old fourth-generation CR-V has been offered with both 1.6- and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel power during its lifecycle – the diesel was discontinued late last year – however Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said that demand for diesel was in decline and he confirmed such an engine would not be offered with the fifth-gen model.

“We won’t have a diesel, I think it’s a pretty resolute ‘no’,” he said at a media event in Melbourne this week.

“We know the diesel segment is not increasing, in fact it’s decreasing, and we think that with the engine line-up we will have with the petrol will be very competitive.

“Five-seat petrol is the sweet spot in the medium SUV segment, you can play on the fringes but at the end of the day that’s the sweet spot.”

Mazda Australia has, however, claimed that 20 per cent of volume for its top-selling CX-5 is made up of diesel power, despite a starting price of $38,790 plus on-road costs – more than $10K beyond where petrol model grades kick off.

According to November VFACTS figures, Mazda has shifted 22,658 CX-5s this year at an average of 2060 per month, claiming a leading 17.3 per cent share of the medium SUV segment. Honda has moved 7308 CR-Vs over the same period for a 664 monthly average and 5.6 per cent share of the class.

Year-to-date it has placed the CR-V eighth in the segment, also behind the Hyundai Tucson (18,748), Toyota RAV4 (18,031) Nissan X-Trail (17,046), Subaru Forester (12,484), Mitsubishi Outlander (11,271) and Kia Sportage (10,063).

With the new new CR-V, however, Mr Collins wants the model to leap to within the top three of the class and “will need to do around 1000 per month”, as part of Honda Australia’s target to lift annual sales from 40,000 units this year, to 48,000 units next year (see separate story).

“Our goal really is to get CR-V back in amongst the top players in the mid-SUV segment,” he said.

“We’ll have a very competitive offering with CR-V. I think in terms of how competitive the car will be, if you look at Civic previous generation versus the current generation, we’re looking to replicate that sort of success with CR-V.”

Sales of the Civic have soared 45.6 per cent in the small car segment that is down 5.0 per cent year-to-date, thanks to the new model and despite a hatchback variant still set to join the sedan early next year. By contrast the CR-V is down 5.5 per cent in a medium SUV segment that is up 12.9 per cent year-to-date.

“Clearly we need competitive engines, we need to broaden the appeal of the car,” he added.

The new CR-V has been revealed with a carry-over 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol and a version of the new Civic’s 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, however Mr Collins only confirmed the latter engine for our market – there was no mention of the former.

The turbo produces 142kW at 5600rpm and 243Nm between 2000rpm and 5000rpm, up on the Civic’s 127kW/220Nm and an improvement on the current 2.4-litre CR-V’s 140kW/222Nm, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) has replaced the five-speed automatic.

“(It) means delivering a car that has really good engine technology, has a lot of flexibility in terms of what our customers want and we’re confident we can deliver that when we launch the car,” Mr Collins said.

“We’ll launch all variants at the same time, unlike Civic where we’ve had a staggered launch between sedan, hatch and Type-R (so) with CR-V we’ll have one big bang.”

Asked whether the full line-up of the new CR-V included the all-but-confirmed seven-seat version of the currently five-seat-only CR-V, Mr Collins declined to confirm its existence except to say: “We’ll have all the CR-V variants available from the third quarter (2017).”“We plan to have both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive,” he added.

“The numbers clearly show that two-wheel drive is where the segment growth is by a long, long way. But there’s a good chunk of all-wheel-drive market there so covering a lot of bases is very important to us.”

It is expected the seven-seat version of the sixth-generation Honda CR-V will be shown early next year. Currently the only medium SUV offerings available with third-row seating are the X-Trail and Outlander. The new CR-V will continue to be made in Thailand and pricing is expected to remain in the $30-50K bracket.

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