Honda’s next-generation Toyota RAV4 rival makes its debut with a Civic-style interior, rugged new exterior, and mechanical overhaul.
The next-generation Honda CR-V has been revealed in the US, sporting a rugged new look and touting improved performance courtesy of an upgraded hybrid drivetrain.
The redesigned and re-engineered Toyota RAV4 rival will go on sale around the world next year and should reach Australia by 2024. It is making its debut Stateside on the same day Honda HQ confirms it will unwrap the new Civic Type R on 21 July.
It is coming up to six years since the current, fifth-generation CR-V was revealed, and the sixth-generation CR-V will offer both hybrid and pure combustion engine options.
The hybrid set-up that will be standard fitment here is familiar from the new Honda Civic hatchback, which is on its way to dealerships, but similar in its conception to that of the outgoing CR-V. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol system is mated with a pair of electric motors for a combined 152kW and 335Nm – both slight increases – and a top speed of 185km/h.
Honda claims it is “more refined at highway speeds” and “more fun to drive”, adding that a new ‘linear shift control’ function will abate the oft-derided soundtrack of the CVT transmission by altering engine revs to more closely mimic a conventional automatic.
Like the Civic, the new CR-V sits atop Honda’s latest global architecture, with an increase in wheelbase boosting ride quality and – together with a slightly widened track – stablility. The body is said to be 15 per cent stiffer and the suspension and steering both tuned for a boost in handling and responsiveness.
As previewed in earlier images of prototypes testing on European roads, the CR-V has been extensively redesigned for what Honda calls a “stronger, more aggressive presence”.
It cites inspiration from the US-market Ridgeline pick-up truck and Passport SUV, highlighting a beltline that emphasises a 69mm increase in length, as well as a 41mm extension to the wheelbase and a subtle 10mm increase to its width.
Trim designations will vary, but the entry-level EX and EX-L cars in the US get a black grille with chrome surround, colour-coded wing mirrors, a small roof spoiler and standard 18-inch wheels. Range-topping Sport and Sporting Touring cars get bespoke grille mesh patterns, rectangular exhaust exits and extra black details, as well as the option of 19-inch wheels.
Inside, meanwhile, the relationship with the new Civic is clear. A 7.0-inch digital dial display is standard, there’s a wide centre console with USB-A and USB-C chargers and a 7.0-inch or 9.0-inch free-standing infotainment touchscreen (with smartphone mirroring functionality optional) sits atop a minimalist dashboard decorated by a honeycomb-effect wraparound air vent.
Honda also points out an increase in rear leg room and a boost in boot capacity to just over 1000 litres.