Back in July, we received insider information on the next generation Honda CR-V that was undergoing testing in the US. Now the company has pulled the wraps off the fifth generation of its popular model. The completely redesigned and re-engineered 2017 CR-V boasts new styling, a more premium interior, the model’s first-ever turbocharged engine and a host of new features and technologies.
It will go on sale in the US before the end of this year, but despite a number of requests for confirmation, Honda SA says it is unable to confirm exactly when it will reach our shores, although you can probably expect it in the first half of 2017.
New model raises the bar:
“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,” says Jeff Conrad, senior vice-president and GM of the Honda Division. “Customers are going to love what they see and what they experience behind the wheel of this new CR-V.”
In terms of styling, there is a completely new look with the company claiming to have given the CR-V a more aggressive attitude, particularly at the front, while the rear gets a much-needed redesign, too. Up from there are wing-shaped LED daytime running lights as well as LED headlights on certain models. For the first time on a Honda there is also an Automatic Shutter Grille System that lowers aerodynamic drag. Narrower A-pillars improve visibility.
Adding convenience is a hands-free access power tailgate, which allows opening and closing the boot with a foot activated sensor under the rear of the vehicle.
While South African specifications have not yet been confirmed, the new CR-V should get the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine that debuted in the new Civic, offering 142kW. Higher specification models are likely to use a 2.4-litre i-Vtec engine. Both engines will be mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Honda G-Shift control logic.
The CR-V not only gets a new body but a new chassis design, which Honda says will translate into more agile and confident handling, greater refinement, additional ground clearance and superior overall versatility. It will have front MacPherson strut and rear multilink suspension that utilise specially tuned low-friction dampers, with both front and all-wheel drive models including tubular front and solid rear stabiliser bars.
Upgraded materials for a more premium feel:
Inside there are upgraded materials throughout, including a new soft-touch instrument panel and more intricately stitched seats. A colour digital driver information interface centre meter display is also included.
There will also be upgrades to connectivity and infotainment including a seven-inch touchscreen Display Audio interface with Android operating system. Interestingly, Honda says in its press blurb that the new system features a physical volume knob, which could be seen as a backwards step, but which can only mean that the old touchscreen volume control that is also used in other models was not well received by Honda owners.
There will also be a new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System which has been developed in cooperation with Garmin, although SA could well get a different package to that of the US. The CR-V’s Display Audio system will also be compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms.
New comfort and convenience features include remote engine start, dual-zone climate controls, heated side mirrors, an electronic parking brake, rear USB charging ports, front passenger seat with four-way power adjustment and driver’s seat with eight-way power adjustment and four-way power lumbar support and heated front and rear seats.
A safer drive:
The new model also further expands the application of Honda Sensing. While it remains to be seen which elements of this safety package will be available in SA, in the US it includes Collision Mitigation Braking with Forward Collision Warning and pedestrian sensing capability, Road Departure Mitigation with lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and lane keeping assist. Additional driver-assistive technologies include Blind Spot Information, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and auto high beam headlights.
While we have not yet seen the new CR-V in the metal, the pictures show a big improvement in styling as the company works to increase its already strong global market share. The interior also looks to be more premium, and given the long list of gadgets and gizmos that the 2017 model has, it could give some of its more upmarket rivals a bit of a scare. – Mark Smyth