Honda calls it a concept, but this is the next CR-V.
BY JUSTIN BERKOWITZ, PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBERT WHITLEY, KGP PHOTOGRAPHY, AND THE MANUFACTURER July 2011
Honda has released a picture of the concept version of its next-generation CR-V, and it looks, well, pretty much like we expected based on recent spy photos. The vehicle seen here is, as is typical with Honda’s concepts, a loosely disguised version of the production car.
That’s not to say that when the fourth-generation CR-V arrives at dealerships some time in late 2011, it will be festooned with some of the concept’s more colorful design elements. Items like the smoked-out headlights, prominent front skid plate, gargantuan wheels, and polished black lower trim likely will remain the domain of the show car. Otherwise, though, what you see here is what we’ll get.
Despite a relatively significant change in the CR-V’s design—it’s major by Honda’s conservative standards, at least—the new car will be mechanically similar to the one it replaces. Front-wheel drive definitely will again be standard, with optional all-wheel drive returning to the menu, too. It’s doubtful that Honda will make any major changes in the engine department from last year’s car, meaning that buyers will probably get a 2.4-liter inline four good for about 180 hp. Unlike the 2011 CR-V, which had a five-speed automatic transmission, the new model is likely to receive a six-speed unit. If Honda does go this route, you can expect a modest boost in fuel economy over the current CR-V’s 21 mpg city/28 highway for front-drive models and 21/27 for those with AWD.
While the CR-V has never fully roused the enthusiast’s soul, it has always been one of the more involving small crossovers to pilot. (Pun intended as an excuse to post a link to the face-lifted 2012 Pilot, which Honda also announced.) At the same time, the CR-V has been one of the more practical and easy-to-use small utes, too, a factor we’re sure is of higher importance to most of the people with one in their driveway. (There are a lot of those people: 227,760 CR-Vs were sold in the past 12 months alone.) We don’t expect those traits to change with this next-gen model, although we’ll have to wait until Honda decides to show us the production model to find out for sure.