The Honda CR-V existed long before today’s saturated SUV marketplace, starting its life in 1996, a good ten years before the Nissan Qashqai made it on to many a driveway.

But now, with many SUV options at every price point and style, it’s hard to see how the CR-V can stand out. To name a few, you have the Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Rav4 and Ford Kuga.

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UK Honda boss Dave Hodgetts admits it’s a very competitive space, and is banking on a number of factors to help with its latest CR-V model. First, its “iconic image” thanks to being more than 20 years old and the fact that it has incredibly loyal customers who buy its cars again and again. This is very much the core of CR-V buyers.

However, the new CR-V will also get hybrid and seven-seat options for the first time, which Hodgetts is hoping will entice some new customers too.

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The biggest change is not introducing a diesel in the model. It’s a bold move when you consider 60% of UK sales are currently diesel – even if we are seeing a dramatic turn against the oil-burner. Hodgetts believes plenty of those buyers will turn to its 1.5-litre petrol engine, but he’s hoping the hybrid will be popular with former diesel buyers too.

And so the CR-V is more convincing than before but, nonetheless, it’s not going to be an easy ride for the new CR-V, when you consider the extensive competition and incoming electrified technology from almost all car makers.

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Still, Honda’s volume is never going to be on the scale of the Qashqai or Tiguan. Hodgetts says a reasonable sales goal once the new model is up and running will be 15,000 units.

When you consider the Qashqai sold 64,216 units in the UK last year – making it the fourth-biggest-selling car in 2017 – the CR-V becomes irrelevant.

But given that globally it’s the biggest-selling SUV ever – largely thanks to that 10-year head start – and is Honda’s third-biggest seller in the UK, it has a place, no doubt backed by the legion of Honda loyalists out there.

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