The
current Honda CR-V

Honda’s
next-generation CR-V SUV, expected out in September, will have a 2.4-litre DOHC
engine with VTEC variable valve timing Japanese media pundits say.

The new engine will compensate for the larger and heavier design of the new
four-wheel drive model which is said to now be a Japanese market rival for Toyota‘s
next-size-up Kluger V and V6-powered Harrier (Lexus RX300) and Mazda‘s Tribute
(aka the Ford Escape).

The previous model was a competitor for the smaller Toyota RAV4, Mitsubishi
Pajero io (Shogun Pinin) and the Land Rover Freelander (not originally sold
in Japan).


Strategic
Review-


Honda


The new 2.4-litre Honda engine is said to use a bored-out version of the two-litre
engine found in Japanese market Stream and Stepwagon minivan models.

The first CR-V’s two-litre engine set new standards for compact aluminium
cylinder blocks by using new casting techniques to minimise the distance between
the bores.

The first-generation CR-V was a great success for Honda in both home and export
markets. Planned initially with column-shift automatic transmission only, it
was never intended as an export model but was eventually shipped – in Japanese
specification – to the tiny New Zealand market after a group of journalists
visiting the 1995 Tokyo motor show tried the SUV at a Honda test track in Japan
and lobbied the local subsidiary for its introduction.

It was subsequently introduced in the U.S. and, with the alternative of a hastily
developed five-speed, floor shift manual gearbox, in Britain and Europe.

Honda’s second vehicle assembly plant in Swindon, southern England, begins
trial production in July and will eventually produce many of the next-generation
CR-Vs destined for the United States.

The new Honda’s September launch will wrap up a spate of SUV introductions
in Japan this year. Following on from the Kluger V and Tribute in the early
part of the year, Mitsubishi will in June launch a medium sized model called
the AirTrek with two and 2.4 litre engines. It made its public debut at the
Geneva motor show in February.

Land Rover is also at last introducing the Freelander to Japanese buyers –
in V6 form.


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