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Honda’s new CR-V uncovered

See me rollin: From the outside, Honda’s new-generation CR-V hasn’t received a substantial makeover, but a new turbocharged engine, upgraded technologies and more refinement should improve sales.

All-important next-gen CR-V revealed ahead of Australian debut in 2017

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Honda logo14 Oct 2016

By TUNG NGUYEN

HONDA has revealed its fifth-generation CR-V that ushers in improved refinement, new powertrains, revised styling and updated technologies in a bid to be more competitive in the booming medium-sized SUV segment.

Revealed in the United States – where the CR-V holds the title of best-selling SUV – Honda’s new crossover will go on sale there before the year’s end and is expected to land Down Under in the second half of 2017.

Featuring an evolutionary design rather than the radical makeover the 10th-generation Civic received earlier this year, the CR-V incorporates a sharper front end which includes new LED headlights surrounded by daytime running lights, a sculpted front bumper, more prominent lower air intake and the familiar Honda family front grille.

An Active Shutter Grille – a first for Honda – allows the front intake to open and close to either suck more cold air in or to increase aerodynamics depending on the driving situation.

Automatic high beam headlights, chrome accents, automatic windscreen wipers and roof rails are all available as either options on low-tier variants or standard equipment on higher-end versions.

Changes to the rear are more obvious, with new wrap around tail-lights in a similar, chunky style to the new Civic, dual exhaust outlets and a redesigned power tailgate which can be opened and closed via a foot activated sensor.

The new CRV will roll on new-look 17-inch wheels for base variants and 18-inch alloy wheels for the higher-spec versions.

Available with either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration, the entry-level US-spec CR-V will be powered by a 2.4-litre atmo four-cylinder petrol unit, while other variants will receive a 142kW 1.5-litre direct-injection turbocharged inline four – likely derived from the 10th-generation Civic’s powerplant.

Both engines will be mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but no fuel economy or performance figures were revealed.

Underpinning the new CR-V is front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension with bespoke low-friction dampers to increase ride comfort. A variable ratio electric power steering unit is also employed by Honda to “contribute to the CR-V’s direct and satisfying steering feel”.

Inside the CR-V, a familiar 7.0-inch colour touchscreen adorns the centre console and is used to control infotainment systems which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, voice-controlled operations, Bluetooth connectivity, optional satellite navigation and, according to Honda, “now features a physical volume knob”.

Other standard features include remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, heated side mirrors, an electronic park brake and power adjustable front passenger and driver’s seats.

It is unclear at this stage if the new CR-V will be offered in seven-seat guise or if it will feature Honda’s versatile Magic Seats.

Safety-wise, the next-gen CR-V adds blind sport monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to the existing suite of driver aids including forward collision warning with pedestrian sensing capabilities, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

While US-spec CR-Vs will be sourced from production lines in North America, Australian CR-Vs are likely to be built in Thailand, where the fourth-generation models are put together.

American Honda Motor Company Division senior vice president and general manager Jeff Conrad said the next-gen CR-V is a huge forward step for the medium SUV and will bring more buyers to the Honda fold.

“The new Honda CR-V raises the bar in every imaginable way, delivering more performance, space and premium content together with higher fuel economy ratings and value than ever before,” he said.

“Customers are going to love what they see and what they experience behind the wheel of this new CR-V.”

Australian sales of the CR-V have slowed this year, with 6133 new registrations to the end of September, well off the pace of market leaders including the Mazda CX-5 (19,090), Hyundai Tucson (14,969), Toyota RAV4 (14,936), Nissan X-Trail (13,453), Subaru Forester (10,069), Mitsubishi Outlander (8854) and Kia Sportage (8181).

Last year, Honda’s CR-V finished with 8608 sales, placing sixth in the medium-SUV segment, but the new CR-V is expected to ignite sales and its arrival forms a crucial part in Honda’s plan to reach 50,000 sales in 2017.

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