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New look for the Honda CR-V – the world’s best-selling SUV

By Paul Connolly

This is the all-new Honda CR-V – unveiled with a fanfare ahead of the Geneva Motor Show.

With a version already on sale in the US, the new version of the compact SUV is the European model, the one you will see on our roads just after the end of this summer.

It features a new petrol-electric hybrid version – a first in this model - and there will be a seven seat option along later, which is likely to be a hit with families.

The development is a major step for Honda: the CR-V is billed by the company as the “world’s best-selling SUV”.

The manufacturer says the new model “raises the bar in terms of interior quality, refinement and spaciousness”.

A new chassis delivers an engaging driving experience with exemplary ride comfort, as well as genuine off-road capability, according to Honda.

The new model gets a fresh exterior design, with broader, muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters, as well as the latest Honda family ‘face’ with its signature headlight graphic.

Thinner A-pillars, sculpted front and rear bumpers, and under-engine and under-floor covers are all said to improve the car’s aerodynamic performance.

The re-modelled cabin moves further upmarket, with both design and material changes.

The dashboard features two 7-inch displays, while the layout of controls has been rationalised with a simple cluster for air-con management located beneath the central touchscreen.

It is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase and wider stance enable a “significantly roomier” cabin and “best-in-class” space efficiency.

For the first time, petrol models of CR-V will be available with the option of seven seats.

Access to the third-row seats is “class-leading”, claims Honda, thanks to a wide and low step-in aperture.

For the first time ever, Honda hybrid technology will be offered in an SUV for Europe.

Honda’s Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system, comprising a 2.0 litre i-VTEC Atkinson cycle petrol engine and two electric motors, are said to offer much improved driveability and efficiency.

A 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engine, already seen in the Honda Civic, is also available.

Power is delivered via a six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional CVT automatic transmission tuned to deliver a more linear response.

The petrol and hybrid powertrains are front-wheel drive as standard, but both can be specified with Honda’s latest all-wheel drive technology – ‘Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System’ – which gives the CR-V some all-terrain capability.

Also helpful in the rough stuff, ground clearance has been increased by 38mm for all variants, up to a height of 208mm for the AWD petrol model.

Expect the first deliveries in the autumn, but the first hybrid models won’t appear in showrooms until early next year.

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