Honda’s new seven-seater diesel CR-V is headed to India, sometime next year. The SUV – now with the specification and seating configuration suited to our market – has great potential here, where customers are on the lookout for alternatives to traditional full-sized SUVs like the Fortuner and the Endeavour. It’s why SUVs like the CR-V have been such a global success. Honda’s boss in India, Yoichiro Ueno is quite bullish; “we are expecting quite a big response to the CR-V as this segment is diesel-oriented.”
However, in an effort to offer an attractive sticker price, Honda may only launch a lower-powered version. While the CR-V is powered by a 160hp version of the 1.6 Earth Dreams diesel in markets like Thailand, we could be getting the 120hp version that’s currently sold in the Philippines. The former has two turbo chargers, one for low speed and another larger one for higher engine speeds; the 120hp version, however, uses only a single turbo, making it more affordable.
What may work in Honda’s favour, if plans come to pass, is the fact that torque output is not too dissimilar; important, when it comes to the heavy lifting required on a bulky SUV. Interestingly, the single turbo version puts out 300Nm; against the twin turbo version’s 350Nm. As a result of this and some shorter gearing, flat-out acceleration isn’t that skewed. The single-turbo version takes a claimed 11.2sec to 100, the twin turbo version takes just 9.7sec, a difference of 1.5sec. Though both versions come with Honda’s new nine-speed automatic. That should make the engine drivable in city traffic.
Q&A Yoichiro Ueno, President & CEO, Honda Cars India
The new Amaze just made its debut at the 2018 Auto Expo. What kind of potential do you see in the sedan?
We see huge potential for the Amaze in India as we see a lot of first-time buyers coming to the entry-level segment, where we plan to establish the car. The car is a reflection of the preference of Indian customers. We received a lot of feedback from the customers for the first-generation Amaze.
What was the intention behind offering a diesel CVT with the Amaze? And will this go to your other cars in the range – like the City?
We are seeing a big transition in demand from manual to automatic due to the increasing traffic conditions. We also received a lot of requests for automatic or CVT with diesel. We cannot fully provide every model with a diesel CVT but we are expanding automatics to some models.
Honda is going ahead with diesel engines, unlike competitors. What’s the rationale behind that?
While we have seen some shift from diesel to petrol because the price gap is narrowing, it is very important to have diesel, as we still see a lot of customer demand in Tier II and III cities.