HONDA Malaysia's new flagship sport utility vehicle (SUV) will make its road debut this month and the sixth-generation Comfortable Runabout Vehicle (CR-V) will be available in two powertrain options.
The 2.0L e:HEV powertrain option aims to deliver a higher top speed and improved fuel efficiency.
It is the first model from Honda's lineup to receive an e:HEV powertrain with an improved Hybrid Traction Motor, coupled with an Electric Continuous Variable Transmission (e:CVT) with a new framework.
The setup delivers 184PS of maximum power and 335Nm of torque.
As the more premium option, the two-wheel drive (2WD) e:HEV RS features a front grille with a bold mesh pattern, full LED headlights and tail-lights, LED front fog lights, front LED sequential turn signals, sleek door handles, Berlina Black 18-inch alloy wheels, and an Active Shutter Grille mounted on the front lower bumper for enhanced aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
The second powertrain is an advanced 1.5L VTEC turbocharged engine that is paired with an advanced CVT that delivers a maximum power of 193PS and a peak torque of 243Nm.
It is understood that at least the top variant of the 1.5L VTEC turbocharged engine will come with an advanced Real Time All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system that enhances the distribution of driving force to all four wheels.
The technological features to accompany the sixth-generation CR-V include the new innovative Hands-Free Power Tailgate with Walkaway Close feature for easy access to the boot and automatic closing upon walking away, a Multi-View Camera System that provides the driver with a 360-degree view, Honda Connect and Honda Sensing that is complete with features such as a wide-angle radar and camera, sonar sensor for low-speed braking control, and lane keep assist system. (However, it isn't clear if the latter is only available to the e:HEV RS variant).
Additional functions such as Adaptive Driving Beam is exclusive to the e:HEV RS variant. This makes it the first Honda model to have the feature.
"Re-engineered with a comprehensive SUV package, we are confident that the sixth-generation CR-V will once again set a new benchmark in the non-national SUV segment and captivate the hearts of Malaysians who seek an SUV that embodies elegance and confidence while delivering an exhilarating driving experience," said Honda Malaysia managing director and chief executive officer Hironobu Yoshimura.
"The CR-V has a 20-year history as the first complete knocked-down model to roll out from our Melaka manufacturing plant in 2003. With a legacy that predates this milestone, our flagship SUV has had a profound impact on the automotive industry in Malaysia, winning the hearts of generations of owners.
"To date, the CR-V has sold more than 129,000 units, solidifying its position as one of Honda Malaysia's highest contributors to our sales history. We anticipate its continued dominance in the non-national SUV segment."
Selected media members were given an opportunity to test out the new CR-V last month in preparation for what's to come once the SUV reaches Malaysia.
Taking place in Thailand, the sixth-generation CR-V has shown itself to be the sportiest.
Physically, it takes design cues from the latest 11th-generation Civic in exuding a very continental air that is afforded by its Japanese-centric look. This is further accentuated by its new slim lights, grille, and body cut.
Unlike the Civic, however, the CR-V adopts a more Scandinavian approach as opposed to the C-segment sedan's German-inspired silhouette and strokes.
The new CR-V looks almost completely different from its predecessor.
Besides its rear that has undergone a significant design update, the rest of the SUV could easily fool you into thinking you're looking at a completely different model that isn't even a CR-V.
Its sportiness isn't just in design but also in performance. The preview included a drive that took participants from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and back.
The winding valley and straight roads pushed the model in areas where necessary, just enough to show how much of an improvement it was from before.
Regardless of your choice of powertrain, Honda has addressed the general critique of the present model, which is an improvement in the acceleration power.
Both powertrains look to offer owners a lot more boost for their drive, with the 2.0L e:HEV giving a smoother speed climb over the 1.5L turbocharged engine.
During the drive, the SUV handled road traction well to further highlight its sporty disposition. Body roll sway was minimal despite the hard acceleration around bends.
On the efficiency front, the 2.0L e:HEV hybrid reportedly has a fuel consumption rate of 20.8km per litre while the 1.5 turbocharged engine rates 14.3km per litre.
With a length of 4,694mm and width of 1,865mm, the sixth-generation CR-V is 71mm longer and 10mm wider than its predecessor. Its wheelbase has also risen by 40mm to 2,700mm.
This means a larger and more comfortable cabin with legroom improvement for passengers.
The interior closely follows that of the Civic, such as the honeycomb vents, composite leather surfaces, leather seats for the preview models, wood-designed panels for an added touch of premium and an updated infotainment display system.
But although many of the present elements will make their way to the Malaysian model, Honda has been quick to note that there will be a number of changes alongside the expected localisation tuning.
The potential pricing has been kept under wraps by Honda, although it is expected to be slightly pricier than the fifth-generation model. It is also anticipated that the CR-V may potentially break the RM200,000 mark.
The sixth-generation CR-V will be the last model to be launched by Honda Malaysia this year and bookings are available at all 101 dealerships nationwide.