Honda's 2012 CR-V will have best-in-class fuel economy when it goes… (David Undercoffler / Los…)
It says something about the sales success of one of your vehicles when it literally takes a tsunami to knock it off its perch as the bestselling vehicle in its class.
But this is the situation Honda finds itself in with the crossover SUV, the CR-V.
For the last four years, with more than a million total CR-Vs sold, this Honda has been the big tuna. That ended this year when the also aging Ford Escape was able to surpass the CR-V after production shortages slowed Honda’s roll.
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So you can be sure the company is taking the newest CR-V, unveiled to the world today, very seriously.
The new CR-V is powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque, bumps of 5 horsepower and 2 pound-feet of torque over the previous CR-V.
The SUV routes power to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission, and Honda says this will be the most efficient CR-V yet (and the most fuel-efficient in compact SUV class), with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The all-new exterior has elements of Volvo’s XC-90 in the rear, with a wider, more pronounced rear glass area that curves back toward the roof and is flanked by more pronounced taillights.
The front resembles Honda’s Accord , though with a more refined finish. Overall, the CR-V is a sleeker, more mature design (something Honda hasn’t been so good at recently), though the rear end does err a bit toward bulbous and heavy.
This 2012 version should go a long way toward pushing the CR-V to the top of the sales charts. Just don’t expect Ford’s Escape to roll over. It makes its world debut today too.
Honda didn’t announce pricing yet, but the car goes on sale Dec. 15. Look for a full review shortly after that.