It's all new! Yes, the latest Honda CR-V 4x4 has been redesigned from the ground up. It's bigger, more spacious, more capable off-road, and much more stylish.
Designed to look tougher and more macho, the new CR-V, unveiled the day before the start of the Auto Africa Expo in Johannesburg, has a sleeker and more streamlined look, with big wheels in large wheelarches, a steeply sloping windscreen, and a rear look designed to appear coupe-like.
The interior is more sedan-like, with luxury in terms of fixtures and design the main aim, and the whole car is lighter and handles much better than before.
A big plus point is that the accent has been placed on achieving a low centre of gravity, and the engine sits very low in the engine bay.
At the same time a great deal of attention has been placed on lowering noise, vibration and harshness without sacrificing safety and durability.
In addition to ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, passive safety measures includes dual stage SRS front airbags on all models, with the RVSi model benefiting from side airbags for front seat passengers, full length curtain airbags and active front headrests.
Honda has also provided five ISOFIX fittings on the rear seats.
Watching the kids
In another neat touch Honda has provided a "conversation" mirror on the RVSi model which allows easy communication with rear seat passengers without the driver having to turn around, or enables a parent to keep a watchful eye on an infant in the back.
RVSi models are fitted with High Intensity Discharge (HID) xenon headlamps.
As far as styling goes the front end is much bolder with a prominent bonnet and a distinctive double grille flanked by projector-style headlamps.
There are muscular lower proportions, a wide track and standard 17 inch wheels.
At the rear there's now a vertically opening tailgate, while the spare wheel is located beneath the load compartment floor.
The relocated spare wheel means that the new CR-V is around 105 mm shorter (4 530 mm) than the previous model.
At 1 820 mm it is also 35 mm wider, while height is down by 30 mm (1 810 mm including roof antenna). The wheelbase is reduced from 2 630 to 2 620 mm, and front and rear tracks at 1 565 mm are 25 and 5 mm wider respectively.
The load space is effectively extended rearwards to take up the space vacated by the former tailgate-mounted spare wheel and luggage space is now larger at 556 litres with the rear seats in place, rising to 955 litres with the seats folded (up to the window line).
The interior features metallic trim elements applied to fascia and doors, contrasting with textured black trim.
Front seats are larger and more comfortable and the steering column is adjustable for reach as well as rake.
Relocation of both manual and automatic gear levers to the base of the centre stack brings them closer to the steering wheel and creates more floor space.
They are complemented by a unique, stubby handbrake located on the leading edge of the centre console.
The instrument cluster comprises a rev counter on the left and a speedometer on the right with white LED illumination and blue backlighting for added stylishness.
The computer shows instantaneous fuel consumption, average consumption, vehicle range, average speed, elapsed time, odometer, or trip A/B. The automatic transmission display (where fitted) is contained within the rev counter.
Convenient storage areas include an illuminated 6.9 litre glove box and above it a useful lidded passenger tray with a capacity of 3.1 litres. The driver?s seat has a seatback pocket. Big door bins front and rear are able to hold a 500 ml bottle.
The 6.5 litre storage box at the rear of the centre console has sufficient capacity to hold up to 24 CD cases, and features a sliding cover for quick and easy access.
The top-level RVSi has a driver?s 8-way adjustable power seat, leather upholstery and glass sunroof.
The rear seats have their base split 60:40 but the seat back 40:20:40, and are able to slide through 150 mm to maximise leg room or luggage space, and can also be reclined for added comfort.
The centre section folds flat to enable longer items to be carried while still accommodating two rear seat passengers.
Tumbling the seats forward and then storing them upright creates a huge load area, sufficient to accommodate two mountain bikes with their front wheels still in place.
Power comes from a new SOHC i-VTEC 2-litre petrol engine.
Power and torque figures are broadly similar to the previous petrol engine - 110 kW at a slightly lower 6 200 r/min, and 192 Nm at 4 200 r/min
Together with new gearboxes and improved vehicle aerodynamics these improve fuel economy to boosted to 8.1litres/100 km and 8.2 litres/100 km for manual and automatic models and performance is also improved with 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 10.2 seconds for the manual model and 12.1 seconds for the automatic.
The petrol engine models are equipped with brand new transmissions: either a 6-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic
The latest Real Time 4WD system automatically engages only when required but has been modified to operate much more quickly. It also helps reduce engine and road noise for an extremely quiet cabin.
The new CR-V?s handling characteristics are now more car-like in their character, and there are bigger brake discs all round, 293 mm ventilated at the front and 302 mm solid at the rear.
The CR-V is also are equipped with electric power steering (EPS).
Honda anticipates top ratings in Euro NCAP testing.
Both RVi and RVSi models are now equipped with alloy wheels, now 17 inch, shod with
225/65 R17 tyres. Low rolling resistance tyres contribute to the overall excellent fuel economy.
CR-V 2.0 RVi manual R268 900,2.0 RVi auto R278 900, 2.0 RVSi manual R299 500, 2.0 RVSi auto R309 500. Prices include a 5 year/100 000 km service plan.
At the moment only petrol versions are available, although Honda is looking into the possibility of diesels later.