Honda's all-new CR-V

Honda is promising saloon car-like driving standards with this, the latest incarnation of its CR-V.The Japanese firm's SUV has been widened by 30mm and its centre of gravity has been lowered by 30mm. Honda says that these changes, coupled with revised steering and suspension geometry, give improved steering response, agility and stability.

Under the bonnet, the CR-V gets a new 2.0-litre petrol engine and retains its current 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel unit. The petrol motor is based on the 1.8-litre VTEC engine from the Civic - it produces 148bhp at 6200rpm, and 140lb ft of torque at 4200 rpm. The petrol models get a new six-speed manual, but a five-speed automatic is also available. The new drivetrain helps economy and performance - the 2007 CR-V is over half a second quicker to 62mph (10.2sec with the manual, 12.2sec with the automatic).

Honda says the CR-V has a 'coupe-like' side window profile (we're not sure) but the rear end is certainly tidier - the vertically-opening tailgate is no longer dominated by the spare wheel, which is now under the boot floor.

Practicality is high on the SUV buyer's list of priorities, and Honda believes the new CR-V will steal a march on its rivals in that area. It features a rear seat that splits at both its base and its back, and a luggage storage system called 'Double Deck' - basically a hinged shelf that subdivides the bootspace. The important towing market hasn't been forgotten, either - the diesel CR-V's capacity goes up from 1500kg to 2000kg.

Honda is also claiming two firsts in the CR-V's options list - Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). ACC maintains a set distance to the vehicle in front, while CMBS predicts collisions and warns the driver before applying heavy braking.

Other boxes for potential buyers to tick include a driver's eight-way adjustable power seat, leather upholstery, 19in alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, and a rear view camera. The range-topping models get a panoramic glass roof with roof lining-coloured electric blinds.

The CR-V will make its public debut at Paris motor show in September, with UK sales starting in January next year.


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