Honda launches the all-new CR-V in India

One of the early birds to take advantage of the then-nascent Sports Utility Vehicle segment in India was the Honda CR-V. It has been on sale in our country long enough to experience contrasting fortunes. While the first generation model was a huge success outselling its competitors, the subsequent generation models started fading off as the market increasingly skewed towards diesel-engined SUVs. Now that the market seems to be returning to the concept of gasoline-powered vehicles, the CR-V is trying to stage a comeback as Honda Cars India Limited launched the all-new fourth generation CR-V in India yesterday.

Unlike all previous models that were imported as Completely Built Units and sold in India, the all-new CR-V is being assembled at Honda India's plant in Greater Noida.

Similar to the older model, the CR-V comes with a choice of two petrol engines - a 2.0-liter unit that offers maximum power output of 156 PS at 6500 rpm and a torque of 190 Nm at 4300 rpm and a 2.4-liter unit that offers 190 PS of maximum power at 7000 rpm and 226 Nm of torque at 4400 rpm. As is always the case with Honda's petrol engines, these two motors can be safely expected to be smooth, powerful, free-revving and fuel-efficient too. The new CR-V has managed to return fuel efficiency figures of 13.7 km/l and 12 km/l for the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter variants respectively, which are impressive for a bulky Sports Utility Vehicle.

While the 2.0-liter variant comes with a choice of a 6-speed manual and a 5-speed automatic transmissions, the 2.4-liter variant comes with the 5-speed automatic only. Prices start at INR 19.95 Lakhs for the base 2.0L MT and goes up to INR 23.85 Lakhs for the top-end 2.4L AT (AVN) that comes with Audio Video Navigation. The 2.0L AT and 2.4L AT are priced at INR 20.85 Lakhs and 22.40 Lakhs respectively. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.

For a change, Honda has loaded the CR-V to the hilt with all variants equipped with dual zone climate control, an integrated music system with Audio/CD/MP3/USB/iPod compatibility, 17-inch alloy wheels, steering-mounted audio controls, intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) and a gamut of safety features that include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist and 6 Airbags. While the AT variants add Hill Start Assist system and foot-type parking brake to the kitty, the 2.4-liter variants takes it one step further with a sunroof, paddle shifts and a REAL TIME 4WD system that switches to four-wheel drive on demand.

The styling of the new CR-V is more evolutionary than revolutionary with most of the cues of the previous-generation model carried over to the new model. The aggressive chrome grille, the wraparound headlights with HID projector lamps, the arching window-line and the vertical rear combination lamps ensure that there is enough visual drama in the new CR-V to get noticed.

With the absence of diesel engine options coming out as the only point of criticism against the new Honda CR-V, the diesel-obsessed Indian market's response to this petrol-only SUV remains to be seen. Will the Honda CR-V manage to do what the Mitsubishi Outlander couldn't? Let's wait and see.

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