This fourth-generation CR-V will be the first available solely with a front-wheel drive option, although the 4×4 version will take the overwhelming majority of sales. Punters can pick from two carryover engines at launch: the 110kW 2.2-litre diesel and the 2.0 iVTEC petrol, the latter uprated fractionally to 114kW and 190Nm of torque. Both are available with a six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed torque converter automatic.
The engines may be the same but carbon dioxide emissions drop by around 12%. The diesel manual’s CO2 emissions plummet from the Mk3’s 171g/km to 149g/km, while the petrol manual’s drop from 192g/km to 173g/km. Initially just the petrol will be sold with two-wheel drive (unlocking a 168g/km CO2 figure), though Honda’s forthcoming, all-new 1.6-litre diesel will also be a front-driver.
As with the CR-Z hybrid and new Civic, there’s an ‘econ’ driving mode, which tweaks the engine map, throttle response and air-con settings to maximise efficiency. Drive the CR-V like you stole it and the instrument pack stays illuminated in white signifying the planet is heading for the pearly gates; gentle driving unlocks tree-hugging green. Honda reckons altering driver behavior can bring about a 20% fuel economy improvement, in addition to any benefits unlocked by the revised hardware. And for the record, the upgraded chassis sticks with MacPherson struts up front and an independent rear suspension, acquires fuel-saving electric power assisted steering and is stiffer to improve on-road precision and crash performance. New door seals and sound-proofing help to reduce high-frequency noise by 3 decibels.
The new CR-V has avoided a growth spurt: its 4570mm length, 1650mm height and width are the same or down on Mk3 dimensions. Cargo volume now stands at 589-litres behind the rear seats, and 1669 when you’ve folded the seats in one easy action by yanking the side strap. Not sexy stuff, but the kind of rigorous attention to detail that keeps punters very happy.
Up front the incremental improvements continue: the number of power sockets doubles to two, there are three central cupholders instead of two, and an extra screen so you can see trip/music info and sat-nav instructions simultaneously.
Gadgets include a lane-keeping assistant, which uses cameras to monitor the car’s position and apply a bit of steering lock to stay between the white lines. Active cruise control maintains your distance from the car in front, and slams on the anchors if you’re heading for a rear-end shunt. Hill descent control applies the brakes for you to maintain an orderly trip downhill, and the headlamps politely dip if they’re blinding an oncoming car.