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by David Zalstein

The upcoming fourth-generation Honda CR-V has been revealed in its British-built European specification, giving Australians a glimpse at what our Thailand-built version should look like when it arrives here in November.

For the first time in Australia, the all-new Honda CR-V will be available in two-wheel drive as well as four-wheel drive, with the entry-level models to feature an entry-level 2.0 i-VTEC petrol engine. The engine is already available in European versions of the outgoing CR-V, but has been comprehensively revised for enhanced fuel efficiency and lower emissions for the new model.

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Power from the 2.0-litre petrol has risen from 110kW to 114kW while torque is been up 2Nm to 192Nm. CO2 emissions have fallen from 192 grams per kilometre to 174g/km for the six-speed manual transmission variant, and from 195g/km to 176g/km for those equipped with Honda’s five-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel drive variants will see even greater improvements with emissions dipping to 170g/km.

The larger 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine will continue to be offered in the local line-up, potentially upgraded to match the output of the US-spec CR-V’s powerplant, which produces 138kW and 221Nm.

Honda Australia will also add a diesel engine to the new CR-V line-up for the first time, with the third engine option expected to join the range in 2013.

Along with the first-time addition of 2WD, upgrades to the CR-V’s suspension, steering and four-wheel drive system have all been undertaken to improve ride quality without compromising handling or high-speed stability.

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Compared with the current model, the new CR-V is 5mm shorter and 30mm lower in height, but Honda says this has been achieved without compromising interior space. The hip point of the rear passenger seats has been lowered by 38mm, providing a more comfortable seating position and increasing headroom.

‘Easy-Fold Down’ 60/40 split-fold rear seats have also been introduced, allowing the back seats to be folded completely flat in one movement to provide 1648 litres of space. Honda says the CR-V can now accommodate two mountain bikes, or four sets of golf clubs.

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A sound reduction and sound insulation program has also been undertaken netting a 3dB reduction in cabin noise.

Featuring in the cabin is a five-inch ‘intelligent’ Multi-Information Display (i-MID) that controls audio, telephone and navigation systems, and a centre console located between the front seats that houses two cup holders, a storage compartment, an armrest and air vents for rear occupants.

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Helping to reduce the CR-V’s wind resistance and benefit performance and efficiency, the adoption of a flat underfloor, sculptured wheel-arches, longer roof, and aerodynamically optimised front bumper and rear spoiler has seen a drag coefficient improvement of 6.5 per cent.

Standard fare will be Honda’s ECON mode and Eco Assist systems, seen before on other models, which work to improve fuel consumption.

The car’s motion-adaptive electric power steering system (MA-EPS) has been refined to enhance manoeuvrability, feedback and response. The system also works with the car’s stability control system to detect instability in slippery road conditions and automatically initiates steering inputs to prompt the driver into steering correctly.

Honda’s ‘Real Times’ all-wheel drive system has been swapped from the previous hydraulic system to an electronically activated system that provides a faster response when a loss of traction is detected. It also sees a weight reduction of 17 per cent.

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The new CR-V will employ Honda’s advanced driver assist system incorporating a string of safety systems including lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation braking. The latter warns drivers of an impending collision and applies the brakes to reduce the severity of an impact.

Full specifications and pricing information will be released closer to the CR-V’s Australian launch in November, but Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told CarAdvice last month, “you don’t need to be Einstein to work out two-wheel-drive has got to be cheaper than a four-wheel-drive”. The outgoing, and four-wheel-drive-only, third-generation CR-V currently starts at $28,090 for the base model manual but Honda is currently offering the Honda CR-V with 17-inch alloy wheels and rear park assist for $29,990 drive away.




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