What is it? Honda has introduced the next-generation CR-V, making an evolutionary advance over the current, laudable small SUV. Detail changes throughout promise improvements, but the vehicle still faces tough competition from the high-scoring Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4.
The carryover four-cylinder engine sees output nudge up, with 185 horsepower and 163 lb.-ft. of torque. It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, and both front- and all-wheel drive will be available.
EPA-estimated fuel economy sees a notable increase, with the AWD model now rated at 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway. Thrifty driving is encouraged by Eco Assist, a new feature that indicates efficient driving.
The model range includes the familiar LX, EX, and EX-L trim levels, though the base equipment has been stepped up. The LX now includes a new “easy fold” split rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity with the ability to read aloud incoming text messages, color dash display, multi-angle rearview camera, and a Pandora radio interface compatible with the Apple iPhone.
Cargo space has been improved, with a lower load floor and a storage bin between the front seats.
What’s new or notable? Incremental improvements promise to make a good SUV even better.
CR’s take: Overall, the new CR-V presents an evolutionary change, and there’s nothing wrong with that when you have a competitive and successful product. It may not be the most exciting vehicle, but in terms of pure functionality, it is hard to fault. Based on our experience behind the wheel, if you liked the old CR-V you’ll like this one. We’ll see exactly how it stacks up against the competition when we buy one and test it thoroughly on our track and on the road.
When will it be available? December 15, 2012.