When Honda launched the first-gen Comfortable Runabout Vehicle (and its novel picnic table) in the Philippines back in 1996, we all went crazy for it. If the Civic had emphatically announced the Japanese carmaker’s arrival in the early ’90s, the CR-V served proof that the brand was here to stay.
Back then, you will recall that the compact SUV sported a squarish body—a no-frills utilitarian design that promised unparalleled versatility. Fast-forward to the fifth-generation 2017 model and you have a crossover that doesn’t own a single 90-degree angle in its exterior sheet metal. More important, it is now equipped with the very first turbocharged engine to ever reside under the CR-V’s hood.
In a press statement, senior vice president Jeff Conrad from the Honda Division in the US said: “The new CR-V raises the bar in every imaginable way, delivering more performance, space and premium content together with higher fuel-economy ratings and value than ever before. Customers are going to love what they see and what they experience behind the wheel of this new CR-V.”
Getting behind the wheel of this new car will have to wait for now, as it has only been revealed in America as you read this. But the stated specifications and features should give us a pretty good idea about what to expect.
First, there’s the Honda-first Active Shutter Grille, which the carmaker claims to lower aerodynamic drag. Then there’s the Hands-Free Access Power Tailgate (another Honda-first), which allows you to open the hatch just by positioning your foot under the rear of the vehicle. Not exactly a new feature, but it’s nice that the CR-V finally has it. Inside, the cabin is said to be more spacious, particularly when it comes to the rear legroom. The driver also gets a handsome color TFT information interface center, and he will now be able to sync his mobile phone to the multimedia system via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
A significant piece of news here is the presence of the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assist technologies, including collision mitigation braking with forward collision warning and pedestrian sensing capability; road departure mitigation with lane departure warning; adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and lane-keeping assist; blind spot information; rear cross traffic monitor; and auto high beam headlights. How many of these features will make it to our market will depend on Honda’s positioning of its beloved SUV.
But the real story here is the 1.5-liter DOHC turbocharged straight-four gasoline powerplant rated at 190hp. This is the first CR-V engine to feature forced induction. A naturally aspirated 2.4-liter DOHC petrol motor is also available. Both engines will be mated to a CVT.
Expect this CR-V to reach our shores next year. It will be made available in North America in the winter; hopefully, we’ll get it in the first half of 2017. If you’re a fan, better hold off on your next SUV purchase. This one would look good beside your Civic.