This is the new Honda CR-V, the fourth-generation version of the mid-sized off-roader that will go on sale in the UK this October after making its debut at the Paris motor show. The company is expected to make significant inroads into Europe’s growing SUV market when it launches a front-wheel-drive version powered by a 1.6-litre diesel with an official CO2 rating of just 99g/km.
The new British-built CR-V, which Honda describes as a “perfectly centred balance between a car and an SUV”, is virtually the same length as the outgoing model and has the same wheelbase, but the styling is crisper and better defined.
It features a new grille that wraps over the headlights and a revised mock skid plate. The side panels are more sharply pressed and the rear features Volvo-like tail-lights wrapped around the hatchback opening.
The new interior — which has much-improved materials — is designed to make it feel wider and more airy.
Engine options are the familiar 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel, which produces 148bhp and 258lb ft, and emits 149g/km of CO2 when fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox and stop-start, and the 2.0-litre i-VTEC with 148bhp, 142lb ft and CO2 emissions as low as 168g/km in front-drive form. A new super-frugal 1.6 diesel arrives next year.
The four-wheel drive system is an all-new design. It defaults to 4x4 mode when the car is stationary and only switches to front drive when wheel slip is not detected.
The CR-V’s roofline has dropped by 30mm and the rear seat base has been lowered by 38mm, creating a little more rear headroom. The lowest setting for the driving position drops by 10mm, allowing claims that it is more “car-like”.
Even though the car is available with all-wheel drive, there is no centre tunnel in the rear, further enhancing the excellent rear cabin space.
The boot capacity is 569 litres or 1669 litres with the electrically operated rear seats folded. The load bay is now 1570mm long, 140mm more than before. The boot floor and loading lip are also 30mm closer to the ground.
The body shell is marginally stiffer and the drag figure has been lowered by just over six per cent, partly thanks to the flat underfloor. Extensive use of sound-deadening will make the interior twice as quiet as the outgoing model’s.