Like the Nissan Qashqai, the CR-V is a British-built SUV. The latest European version is a product of Honda’s continuing investment at its site in Swindon. But while the CR-V’s critical market is the US, Honda stresses that this car has also been specifically tuned to succeed here.
Many of the broad-brush changes to the fourth-generation of CR-V will appeal to UK customers. Bowing sensibly to market conditions, the new range will include the option of front-wheel drive (only with the petrol motor to begin with) alongside the established four-wheel drive.
In a bid to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions, the CR-V’s two engines – both carried over from the current car – have been overhauled. Reductions in internal friction mean that the 153bhp 2.0-litre i-VTEC unit’s emissions have fallen from 192g/km to 174g/km (170g/km with 2WD), and the 148bhp 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel drops from 171g/km to 153g/km. A 1.6-litre diesel is set to join the CR-V range in 2013.
The diesel retains its 4WD drivetrain but this, too, has been overhauled, with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch replacing the hydraulically operated ‘dual pump’ system.
The adoption of a flat underfloor and a longer roof contributes to a claimed 6.5 per cent reduction in drag coefficient and, thanks to an increase in body rigidity, Honda’s engineers have increased damper volumes by 10 per cent all round on its MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension.
Structurally, there isn’t much variation, although some clever repackaging and a styling polish have left the CR-V 5mm shorter and 30mm lower than before, with more luggage space to fill. Fold the rear seats flat and there’s an extra 148 litres, made more accessible by a 25mm-lower load lip.