Overview: Honda CR-V

Honda has revealed further information about the forthcoming new generation of its Swindon-built CR-V crossover model, due to be launched in the U.K. this October. Since the original model was introduced in 1995, over five million CR-Vs have been sold across the world. The new, fourth generation represents a comprehensive redesign for the European market, with European tastes accounted for and European roads used for final development. Although the CR-V has been designed as a global car, the European model features a number of features developed specifically for this market.

For the first time, the CR-V will be offered with a choice of either two- and four-wheel drive on the 2.0 i-VTEC petrol model. Improvements to both the two-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines have achieved a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The power and torque outputs of the i-DTEC engine remain at 150PS and 350Nm, but the CO2 emissions fall from 171g/km to 153g/km for the manual version, and from 195g/km to 175g/km for models equipped with the (dated) five-speed automatic transmission. The power output of the 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine has risen from 150PS to 155PS, while the torque has increased by 2Nm to 192Nm. Despite this increase in performance, CO2 emissions have fallen from 192g/km to 174g/km for the manual version, and from 195g/km to 176g/km for the automatic.

Honda CR-V, 2013 (top) with outgoing model (above).

The length and height of the car have been reduced by 5mm and 30mm respectively compared with the current model, without reducing the interior space.

With the rear seats folded flat, the carrying capacity of the CR-V has grown by a substantial 148l to 1648l; with the seats in position, the boot capacity is 589l. The load length has been increased by 140mm to 1570mm, while the height of the load lip has been reduced by 25mm. The boot of the CR-V (we are informed) can now accommodate two mountain bikes or four sets of golf clubs.

A keyless entry system and power tailgate are practical additions to the equipment tally on the new model. Curiously, the power tailgate is unique to the European market. Honda is also keen to stress that the materials used inside the car have been chosen with European tastes in mind.

In the cabin, a 13cm ‘intelligent’ Multi-Information Display can control whatever audio, telephone and navigation systems are fitted. In order to emphasise the feeling of space inside, the door casings have been sculptured to create a concave shape. This has allowed the front seats to be moved closer to the sides of the car. As a consequence, more space has been created between the seats for the centre console, which houses two cup holders, storage compartment, an armrest and air vents for the rear seats.

The front seats incorporate a whiplash mitigation system. Slits in the material of the seat back, folds in the cushion spring and a rotating mechanism on the spring combine to absorb the occupant’s energy in the event of an accident, alleviating the risk of whiplash injuries.

The hip point of the rear passenger seats has been lowered by 38mm compared to the outgoing model to liberate some extra headroom. Also, a change in the design of the rear seats has allowed Honda to introduce an easy-folding mechanism for the 60/40 split rear seats: they can be folded flat in one movement.

The adoption of a flat under-floor and sculptured wheel-arches has smoothed the air flow under the car. The result of this, a longer roof panel and detail changes is a reduction in the drag coefficient by 6.5 per cent. compared with the current CR-V — though oddly no figure is quoted.

Both the 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and the 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine are developments of the engines found in the third generation CR-V. Both have been redesigned with a focus on reducing CO2 emissions. Honda was particularly concerned to reduce the internal friction of its power-units. A stop-start system has also been introduced on all models fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The introduction of a front-wheel drive CR-V responds to changing market conditions. Across Europe, two-wheel drive models now account for 51 per cent. of the petrol-engined compact-SUV market according to a survey conducted in 2011.

Honda’s Econ mode and Eco Assist systems are standard. When the Econ button is pressed, the throttle response and air-conditioning are adjusted to improve economy. The Eco Assist system uses the car’s dashboard display to advise drivers on how their driving style is impacting fuel economy, by changing the colour of the dial edges from white to green when driving more efficiently.

The McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension has been upgraded with a 10 per cent. increase in damper rates all-round. An increase in the body’s rigidity — bending rigidity is up seven per cent. and torsional rigidity up nine per cent. — will improve handling, all other things being equal.

Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering system (MA-EPS) has been refined to combine easy manoeuvrability with increased feedback and response at higher speeds. The new system also works with the standard Advanced Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system to detect instability in slippery conditions; it automatically directs torque to the steering column, prompting the driver to steer in the appropriate direction.

Honda CR-V, 2013.

The majority of CR-Vs sold will continue to be all-wheel drive models, using the latest iteration of Honda’s Real Time AWD system. The hydraulically activated ‘dual-pump’ system of the third generation CR-V has been replaced by an electronically activated system that provides a faster response when a loss of traction is detected. It also reduces weight by 17 per cent. and minimises internal friction by 59 per cent.

There’s also a range of electronic systems designed to make driving both easier and safer, including Hill Start Assist (HSA), which is standard across the range. Hill Descent Control (HDC) makes its debut on the CR-V and is available on automatic variants; it operates at up to 5mph and helps the CR-V descend difficult terrain safely and consistently. These systems work in conjunction with the VSA and the MA-EPS systems.

The new CR-V is also the latest vehicle to employ Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System, or ADAS. This incorporates Honda’s Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which warns of an impending collision and, if the driver does not respond, applies the brakes to minimise the impact. In an emergency stop, the Emergency Stop System (ESS) will automatically activate maximum braking and the hazard warning lights. The lights will blink rapidly to warn following vehicles that the CR-V is stopping abruptly.

We will publish detailed technical information when it becomes available.

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