Visual highlights on the new car include LED lights front and rear, a longer bonnet and narrowed A-pillars for improved visibility. The car rides on 18 or 19in alloy wheels and sits higher than the current model.
The fifth-generation mid-sized SUV has an all-new platform and features turbocharged powertrain options for the first time. Wider, and with a longer wheelbase, it has more sculpted styling than the current CR-V, and reflects Honda’s desire to make the car a more premium product than its predecessor.
“The CR-V is a massive pillar for us,” he said. “I’m not sure that HR-V in the UK will ever become a four-wheel-drive car; most people in this segment will vote with their feet and buy two-wheel drive. So if we can assume that HR-V will only ever be two-wheel drive, then you’ve got to come up with a different proposition [with the CR-V].
“Can we compete with Land Rover as a brand? That’s less about CR-V and more about Honda as a brand."
Inside the new CR-V, Honda promises class-leading space and rear leg room, with better-quality materials and “more intricately stitched seats”. Rear passengers get a volume control for the sound system, while up front there’s the option of a 7.0in screen running an Android operating system with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features include a hands-free tailgate, operated by a wave of a foot under the rear bumper, while a myriad of safety features have helped the car towards achieving a five-star rating in US crash tests.
Only the CR-V’s petrol engine options have so far been announced, which in the US will include a 190bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit and a 2.4-litre direct-injection iVTEC with 184bhp. Both will be mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 1.5-litre turbo engine is expected to make its way to the UK and is likely to be joined by the 1.6-litre iDTEC diesel unit used in the Civic, with a manual gearbox option being added to the line-up too.
Both front and four-wheel-drive versions will be available, with revised suspension for improved handling. The CR-V's suspension features MacPherson front struts and a multi-link rear, with tubular anti-roll bars at the front and solid ones at the back.
The 2017 CR-V will be built at three plants in North America: East Liberty, Ohio, and Greensburg, Indiana, in the US and Alliston, Ontario, in Canada.