Monday, June 13, 2011

2012 Honda CRV and Volvo XC60 Similarities

Nice read, and shocking how similar the CRV and the Volvo XC60 really are....
This, we are told, is the new 2012 model year Honda CR-V, known internally at Honda as the 2WS. Yes, that wedge shaped rear does remind us of a Volvo XC60. According to the folks at Autoblog, the elongated D-pillar suggests a third row seat. We think that's quite a possibility given that the CR-V's main rival, the Toyota RAV4, comes with a third row seat option in the US. Although it needs to be noted that US market RAV4 is slightly longer than their Japanese / European market equivalents.

On critics saying that the CR-V apes too much of a Volvo XC60 - give the same brief to two different designers working separately, to design a mid size urban soft-roader SUV that appeals to the masses, I reckon that both will still come to a similar solution. Being a mass volume product, cost is imperitive, so tail lamps stretching horizontally across the tailgate will be ruled out due to assembly and wiring harness cost. The only way left to go is for the tail lamps to be stacked vertically. Fuel economy concerns will dictate that a gradually slopping rear is favoured to reduce aero-drag. Plus the side windows profile and overall silhoutte needs has to project a youthful-sporty appeal. Hence that pronounced shoulder line that rises upwards to the rear to give the illusion of motion. Thus explains similarity. Sure there are other ways to achieve the same, but one needs to consider the complexity of the design which will then affect the steel stamping, logistics (flat body panels are favoured as they take up less space) and assembly take time.

On this side of the world, punitive taxes on imported vehicles coupled by the fact that the aside from China, Japan is the only source for right hand drive Toyota RAV 4 meant that Honda's hold on the passenger car based / unibody SUVs is uncontested. Nissan X-Trail is a bit more utilitarian, and the local distributors of Nissan Edaran Tan Chong Motor have sort of dropped the ball with the second generation X-Trail. In its heydays, Nissan used to shift almost 300 units of the first generation X-Trail a month. Now it registers just barely above 100 units a month. So by default, it is going to be another winner. Those in the know however, who are brave enough to break away from the herd mentality will opt for the Hyundai Tucson / ix35. Brilliant car in our opinion. It's cheaper and backed by a 5-years warranty.

Powertrain for the 2012 CR-V will be carried over from the current generation model, meaning a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and in some markets, a 2.4-liter as well. European markets will receive a diesel option. Expected public launch will be in the coming 2011 Tokyo Motor Show this December. Local market launch should start sometime around Q2 2012. That is of course, assuming that the Mayans were wrong about the world collapsing by 2012.


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