The Los Angeles Auto Show may have seen all the big launches come and go last weekend, but this car is the one that we in India do care about - the next-gen Honda CR-V.
Now in its fourth generation, the CR-V continues to follow a rather similar five-seat format, but it has become roomier in the process. There is more space now on the inside and a cleverly designed centre-console and 60:40 rear seat split as well as a lower loading lip has made the CR-V more practical than ever before.
On the outside, the grille is now more prominent while the wraparound headlamps have gotten more edgy. A BMW-like Hoffmeister kink on the D-pillar has made the car look bigger on the outside and has given it a touch of utility to it. The tail lamps and the slightly more upright tailgate enhance the feeling of utility even further.
The CR-V also comes loaded with features for the American market such as Bluetooth, a full colour multi-information display system, multi-angle rear view camera and SMS text messaging function that lets you read messages from your phone on the audio system's display.
Under the hood comes a 2.4-litre i-VTEC motor that's similar to the one found on the Accord. Power has risen from 180 bhp to 185 bhp, while torque too has seen a marginal increase. Mated to a five-speed automatic (and possibly with a six-speed manual too in the future), the CR-V is about 8 to 10 per cent more efficient than the outgoing car. Like the Accord V6 or the Brio hatch, it too comes with an Eco driving mode.
While Honda Siel Cars India isn't committing a timeline just yet for the new CR-V for India, expect it to be here by mid-2012. It may most likely continue to come in as a CBU from Japan and prices are expected to rise to the tune of Rs 1-2 lakh. A diesel version of the CR-V with 148 bhp can also be expected by early-2013. Keep watching this space for more.