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New Honda CR-V crossover SUV
Safer, more luxurious with sharper dynamics

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: front side view.

New CR-V: cab-forward look and coupe-like tapering side window profile.

27 September 2006.

Honda will be quite busy at the 2006 Paris motor show, which will run from the 30th of September to the 15th of October .

First, the "Mondial de l'Automobile" will welcome the international show debut of the all-new CR-V crossover SUV (it can be seen at U.S. dealerships from 28 September). That's for the sports activity fans.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: side view.

New CR-V: its larger doors open wider, with lower step-in height.

Then, sports cars fans will get their share with the world debut of the production model of Honda's high performance Civic Type R.

Finally, for the more practical oriented tastes comes the aesthetic facelift, with technical enhancements of the more compact multi-purpose FR-V.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: back side view.

Reduced ground clearance, wider tracks and lowered centre of gravity.

Undoubtedly, the most significant Honda display is the brand-new, third generation CR-V, which continues the crossover tradition of a unitary body construction. As a matter of fact, it was one of the first to propose this formula in 1996. Unibody (called also unitary body or monocoque) construction offers more car-like driving dynamics, with SUV practicality.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: front seats and driving position.

Larger front seats and the steering column is reach and rake adjustable.

Unlike the first Honda CR-V generation which was the brand's first entry into the SUV market,  the new 3rd generation is more sure of its roots in the crossover SUV landscape. More easily now than ten years ago, the consumer's mind can identify Honda amongst the SUV and even pickup trucks (Ridgeline) makers, not just as an automaker and minivan maker. That's apart from Honda's motorcycles, marine and power tools of course, plus its new business, the Honda Aircraft Company with the first HondaJet deliveries expected in 2010.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: dashboard, wide view.

Optional Navigation System and Rearview Camera (EX-L).

Even in the SUV market itself, and with the Honda Pilot positioned now above the CR-V in the brand's line up, the CR-V doesn't need anymore to underline too much it's SUV character, nor does it need to grow much in size. On the contrary, it can get a lower body now, and get rid of the tailgate-fixed spare wheel, hiding it now beneath the load compartment floor.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: driving position with centre console stack.

Relocation of the gear lever to the centre stack frees up floor space.

Amongst the other practical results of this change, the tailgate opens now upwards (like cars) rather than to the side (older SUV style), and the larger doors open wider, with lower step-in height.

There is more. When it will be launched in Europe in early 2007, the new CR-V promises, with its sportier styling, a more luxurious and generously equipped interior to take it into premium SUV territory, with options such as advanced Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS), Active Front Lighting, Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA. More in the Safety paragraph below).

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: instrumentation and information display.

CR-V instrumentation and white and blue backlit gauges.

Styling is characterised by a ‘cab-forward’ look and a coupe-like tapering side window profile, inspiring enhanced vehicle dynamics. The frontal styling is also bolder with a prominent bonnet and a large bumper, with standard 17 inch wheels.

Dimensions - Interior dimensions are generally the same as for the previous CR-V, although the load space is extended backwards, taking up the space vacated by the former tailgate-mounted spare wheel. Access has been improved thanks to lower step-in height (by 1.25 inches, 32mm) and larger doors that open wider.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: dual glove box.

Storage areas include dual glove box (above) and underseat storage.

Compared to its previous generation, the new CR-V is marginally shorter (103.1in. / 2618mm compared to 103.3in. / 2624mm) thanks to the removal of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel, while body width have increased from 70.2in. (1783mm) to 71.6in. (1818mm).

The wheelbase is also marginally shorter in the new generation, with 103.1in. (2618mm) compared to the previous 103.3in. (2624mm). Maximum ground clearance is reduced too, from 8.1in. (205mm) to 7.3in. (185mm), like the new body height of 66.1in. (1679mm) compared to the previous 66.2in. (1681mm), which lowered the centre of gravity by 5%, for better stability with less roll effect, especially with the track widening to  61.6in. (1564mm) at the front and rear, compared to the previous 60.4in. (1534mm) at the front and 60.8in. (1544mm) at the rear.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: multi-function centre console between seats (EX-L), instead of the standard retractable table.

Models with a leather interior (EX-L) get a multi-function center console.

In the U.S. standards figures, cargo volume is slightly larger than before, with a minimum of 35.7 cu. ft. behind the 2nd row (1010 litres), compared to the previous 33.5in. (948 litres). Maximum cargo volume (behind 1st row with rear seats folded forward) grows from 72 cu. ft. (2038 litres) to 72.9 cu. ft. (2064 litres). Total passenger volume is slightly reduced (-2.06%), from 106 cu. ft. (3001 litres) to 103.8 cu. ft. (2939 litres).

From a cargo functionality standpoint, the 37.4-inch (950 mm) door opening height is taller by 1.8 inches (45 mm) and wider by 0.4 inches (10 mm) to 54.7 inches (1390 mm).

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: the tailgate opens upwards, rather than horizontally as was the case previously.

The tailgate opens now upwards rather than to the side.

Assisted by hydraulic dampers, special hinges allow the top section of the lightweight tailgate to rotate optimally for low open and close loads while also creating an ergonomically more convenient lift-off point (lower to the ground) and a shut-down point (higher from the ground).

Interior - The new interior features metallic trim elements applied to fascia and doors contrasting with soft textured black trim. Front seats are larger and more comfortable and the steering column is adjustable for reach and rake. Relocation of the gear lever to the base of the centre stack brings it closer to the steering wheel and frees up floor space.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: dual-deck rear cargo shelf (EX and EX-L),.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: the rear seats base is split 60:40, the back 40:20:40.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: boot with the rear seats backs tipped forward for quick loading.

New Honda CR-V crossover SUV: boot capacity with one rear passenger.

With the seats tumbled forward and stored upright, the load area becomes sufficient to accommodate two mountain bikes with their front wheels still in place.

Flexible interior space with dual-deck rear cargo shelf (top, EX/EX-L).

Equipment options (depending on grade, see trim levels box) include a driver’s 8-way adjustable power seat, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera.

Like the Civic, the CR-V offers the option of a Panorama glass roof which stretches from the windscreen to a point above the rear seat to provide an even lighter cabin. It can be closed off by two electric blinds which are covered in the same material as the roof lining.

Rear seats (the base is split 60:40, the back 40:20:40) can be slid and reclined for added comfort and to maximise leg room or luggage space, and the centre section can be folded flat to enable longer items to be carried while still accommodating two rear seat passengers. With the seats tumbled forward and stored upright, the load area becomes sufficient to accommodate two mountain bikes with their front wheels still in place.

Added flexibility is provided by the Double Deck luggage area (EX and EX-L), formed by a substantial shelf which sits at a height of 330 mm above the load floor – sufficient to allow a standard stroller to be stowed beneath it. Luggage can be subdivided, with that on the lower level more easily accessible; the shelf is also hinged across its width for added convenience. When not in use, the shelf can either be removed or stored snugly in a recess in the floor.

Safety - Passive safety equipment includes dual stage SRS front airbags, side airbags for front seat passengers, full length curtain airbags for both seat rows, and front and rear seatbelt reminders, all fitted as standard, with active front headrests on most grades (standard and optional equipment might differ between countries).

The new CR-V also incorporates Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) which together with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) monitors towing stability continuously and correct it if necessary. In addition, towing capacity on petrol manual models rises from 1500 to 1600 kg; on the diesel engined CR-V it is increased from 1500 kg to 2000 kg.

The radar-controlled Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) option maintains a set distance to a vehicle in front, while the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) initiates a series of warnings to the driver if the distance to the vehicle in front decreases beyond an safe limit, before applying strong braking and retracting the front seatbelts if the situation becomes critical. Both these systems are optional depending on grade.

The Active Front Lighting (AFS) is another new option for the CR-V. It enhances the driver’s view of the road ahead by the low beam headlamps turning in the direction the vehicle is turning.

Structurally, high tensile steel now makes up 58 per cent of the monocoque body and Honda anticipates a Euro NCAP 5-star rating for occupant protection, 4-stars for child protection and a 3-star pedestrian rating.

To read more about the all-new, third generation Honda CR-V crossover SUV: General presentation, U.S. trim and equipment, engine, transmission and drive options in Europe and the U.S., steering, suspension and brakes, and the three CR-V generations since 1995.

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