JAPAN: Next Honda CR-V will have bigger engine

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 May 2001

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).

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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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