Friday, 2 March 2007

All New 2007 Honda CR-V

By Dr Long

Honda CR-V, the ‘car’ that started the SUV craze in Malaysia since 1995. With grey imports and reconditioned units selling like hot cakes in the 90’s - before then local distributor Kah Motor realized its mass-market appeal. A second generation soon followed in 2001, larger and much improved with K20A i-VTEC 2.0L engine. Based on the 7th gen Civic, it offered lots of space, versatility and reliability.

Fast forward to 2007, an all new replacement model will dawn upon the local automotive scene very soon, 8th of March to be specific. Notable changes for this 3rd generation CR-V include a more forward cabin (base of the A-pillar has been shifted forward by 150mm), a ‘seamless’ and curvy window area, double layer front grilles, projector headlamps, flat blade aero-wipers and of course, all new metal sheets.

Most significant will be its engine change...over to an SOHC block! Codenamed R20A, this i-VTEC unit is an extension of the 8th gen Civic 1.8L powerplant. Claimed to be more fuel efficient despite similar output and torque figures compared to the K20A, this 4-pot pushes out 150bhp @ 6,200 rpm and 190Nm @ 4,200rpm. Transmission is an improvement too, now updated to Honda’s superb 5-AT. The part-time 4WD is retained, but it is claimed to be an improved version of its proven Advanced-Dual Pump System (A-DPS), strangely dubbed Real-Time 4WD by Honda.

Aerodynamics has improved as well, with Cd factor dropping significantly from 0.43 to 0.39. The resultant reduce in air drag will translate to better fuel efficiency, higher top speed and lower wind noise at highway speeds. The all-new CR-V also have a lower centre of gravity by virtue of a lower engine mount, spare tyre in a dedicated cargo floor space and lowered body sills bilaterally. Along with wider treads – both front and rear – this new model promises better on-road agility and handling (as highlighted in Honda Malaysia’s teaser ad). Wheelbase however remains the same as its predecessor, at 2620mm. Could this be a re-skinned replacement model still based on the ‘old’ 7th gen Civic’s platform?

So how much would all these evolutionary advancements add on to its selling price? List price of the outgoing CR-V is RM139,800 at present. Expecting this more solid and classier looking successor to command a little premium over the last model, a safe bet for this SUV would be a tag circa RM150K. Or maybe by some 'miracle' of modern manufacturing cost-savings...the same asking price? All will be revealed by Honda Malaysia very soon…

Update: Honda Malaysia has announced an OTR price of RM147,800 w.e.f. 8th March 2007.

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