Things have gone a bit stale in the case of the Honda CR-V: after a critically acclaimed third-gen and a mildly appreciated fourth-gen, sales and mass popularity have dwindled, owing largely to the absence of a diesel engine coupled with consistently high prices and increasingly tough competition. Honda, however, is not discouraged: the fifth-gen CR-V will be coming to India next year, armed with sharper looks, better driveability, a more appealing cabin and – wait for it – a diesel engine!
The CR-V always has been something of a looker – you’ll know it when you see one. The fifth-gen model, while not a radical departure from the fourth-gen in terms of styling, is sharp and smart nevertheless. Dominating the face are angular headlights much like the ones seen on the new City and India-bound Civic connected by a fat chrome strip. The car is similar to the current gen in profile, though the wheel arches are now more flared for that ‘big bad SUV’ look. Round the back is where this car looks most distinct – the L-shaped tail-lights will immediately grab eyeballs. As is with most Hondas nowadays, you can also expect smart alloy wheels. Plus, aerodynamics is also improved by way of design and features such as the automatic shutter grille tech.
The 2018 CR-V measures 4,571mm in length, 1,885mm in height and 1,667mm in width and gets a wheelbase of 2,662mm, making it longer and wider (though shorter in height) than the current car. The wheelbase is also more than the current car, which should translate to better cabin space. It weighs in at 1,613kg for the diesel auto.
The fifth-gen CR-V’s cabin gets a massive upgrade. The cabin is wider than before, and the perception of space is further aided by a dash that tapers towards the outside. Leather trim and wood and metal accents have been used generously and tastefully, complemented by well-finished, high-quality plastics and switchgear. The automatic variant gets a unique push-button selector placed in the centre console. Above it are air con controls and a floating, borderless touchscreen for the infotainment system.
The greatest change in the cabin will have to be the third row of seats. While likely to be slightly cramped, the third row does get reclining seatbacks and dedicated air con vents. The fifth-gen CR-V also comes with a powered tailgate that can be programmed to avoid collision with your garage roof. Additionally, it will get features like remote engine start, dual-zone climate control, heated wing mirrors, and an electric parking brake, along with equipment such as USB charging ports for the second row, a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat.
The greatest talking point about the 2018 CR-V is undoubtedly the provision of a diesel engine under the hood. A 1.6-litre twin-turbo unit, the CR-V’s diesel engine will output 158hp at 4,000rpm and 350Nm at 2,000rpm. The engine will be paired with a nine-speed automatic gearbox from ZF, and power will be sent to the front wheels as standard (all-wheel drive will be optional).
The CR-V will also get a 2.4-litre petrol engine with a power output of 190hp, also mated to an automatic gearbox.
We expect prices for the CR-V to start at Rs 23 lakh for the petrol 2WD and Rs 25 lakh for the diesel (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). The fresh design, upgraded cabin and new powertrain options certainly make the CR-V more desirable than ever, but are these enough to take on accomplished competitors like the Hyundai Tucson and the VW Tiguan? Only time (and our comparison tests) will tell.