As before, the new CR-V offers a choice between petrol and diesel four-cylinder power, but the engines are more efficient.
As before, the new CR-V offers a choice between petrol and diesel four-cylinder power, but the engines are more efficient.

As the first units start streaming off the UK production line in Swindon, Honda has released more information about the Euro-spec, fourth-generation CR-V SUV.

This is the one South Africa will be getting and while Honda SA can't give any exact launch dates for now, they are expecting the first units to arrive in the last quarter of this year, or early next year at the latest.

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The exact local specifications will be announced nearer to then, but our line-up shouldn't differ too dramatically from the European range.

BOLDER, BUT STILL SOFT

True to its heritage, the new CR-V's styling is still more soft and car-like than SUV-butch. Perhaps a tad bolder than before, its biggest distinguishing feature is that large three-bar grille. The side and rear are, for the most part, an evolution of previous shapes.

Despite being slightly shorter and lower than its predecessor, the new SUV has the same interior space - which, we can attest to, is very generous. In fact the boot volume has grown by 148 litres - it now offers a total volume of 589 litres, which can be expanded to 1648 if you fold the one-motion, 'easy-fold-down' rear seats. Also aiming to make your life a little easier, Honda is offering a power tailgate.

As before, the CR-V offers seating for just five occupants.

In its quest to provide a more refined experience, Honda's engineers strove to reduce engine and road noise and used interior materials that were carefully selected for the European market.

LESS THIRST

The initial range gives a choice between a 2-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines and manual transmission models get idle-stop as standard. Both engines have been upgraded with a focus on reducing CO2 emissions - which fall by 10 percent compared with the previous CR-V.

On the i-DTEC diesel engine, for instance, power and torque remain at 110kW and 350Nm, but CO2 emissions for the manual model fall from 171g/km to 153g/km.

There are small output increases on the 2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine however, from 110kW to 115kW and from 190Nm to 192Nm, while the CO2 number tumbles from 192g/km to 174g/km. The 2.0 is also available in front-wheel drive guise, in which case the CO2 figure drops to 170g/km.

The rest of the models boast permanent all-wheel drive with Intelligent Control System, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control, although like its predecessors the CR-V still plays in the softroader mud pit.

ADVANCED GADGETS

The CR-V is also available with some advanced driver assistance systems like radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistant and Collision Mitigation Braking System.

As for the suspension, Honda says it undertook an extensive test procedure on European roads to improve the vehicle's ride quality without compromising road holding. To that end the McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension system has been upgraded with a 10 percent increase in damper rates at all angles.

The CR-V has evolved in pretty much every respect then and should continue offering a solid, spacious and refined softroader package - but it's not going to turn many heads.