Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: 16 Years After, Honda CR-V Gets Bigger, Better

There is something very unique about the Honda CR-V models right from its debut 16 years ago. You could hardly find a ricketty-looking CR-V on the road, no matter the year of production. Even when some of them are over 16 years old, you hardly could tell their age. Only Honda knew the secret behind the built-quality of the CR-V which is now in its fourth generation.

The CR-V was Honda's first attempt to solely build a Sport Utility Vehicle. The automobile world thought Honda would make mistakes on the CR-V but it turned out to be a masterpiece and ever since then, every successive CR-V model has become a trend setter. It was not surprising, however, the kind of huge crowd that witnessed the launch of the fourth generation Honda CR-V at the Ocean View Restaurant Lagos recently.

The turnout was quite impressive as THP took the wrap off the 4th generation Honda CR-V utility car. The demand right there was unprecedented in the history of Honda launch in Nigeria forcing The Honda Place management to plead with reporters to hold the story (embargo) until the nex consignment arrived to prevent more people from placing orders.

Making a spectacular showing 16 years after the CR-V was introduced, THP, says the re-launch of the crossover SUV couldn't have been low-keyed.

Mr. Deepak Daryanani, Sales and Marketing Director, The Honda Place who made this remark in his presentation said the sedan-like ride with stunning economical four-cylinder engine spectrum and a remarkable handling are rare features that distinguished the CR-V in its class.

He said the CR-V has continued to enjoy customer loyalty and increasing sales year-on-year due to its uniqueness, ample passenger room, cargo capacity and competitive pricing.

Little wonder, he added, more than a dozen different models from rival automakers have continued to make their way into the mid-sized SUV category.

"While some models offer V6 engines, Honda CR-V has remained focused on its practical aspirations and true-to-form design, becoming the best choice available in the all-important compact, small-SUV segment," the sales and marketing director affirmed.

Redesigned for 2012, the new Honda CR-V still maintains its previous size, with minimal hardware changes, enough style and feature modification to keep Honda's top selling crossover fully competitive.

And like its predecessor, the remodeled CR-V is offered in familiar LX and EX-L trim levels. While the LX comes pretty well equipped, the EX-L gets additional convenience and luxury features, but without navigation systems for the local market, Mr. Daryanani said.

The all-new CR-V is powered by standard 2.4-litre inline four cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque' mated to Honda's fashionable five-speed transmission, just as all models come in the traditional front wheel drive safe for the all-wheel drive that is optional.

The CR-V comes with a long list of features that are hardly found in competing models from other brands. First is the intelligently thought-out interior with high quality materials; comfortable ride, quieter engine (than before), better road handling and remarkable steering high points.

Other technical features on the new CR-V focuses on the next generation mini-utilities, which come as standard, e.g. two info screens, a rear view camera, Bluetooth, and a function that reads incoming text messages from paired phones-provided the phone is a BlackBerry.

Honda has also improved on the CR-V's fuel management system, improving from 21/28mpg city/highway to 23/31mpg and the all-wheel-drive models go from 21/27mpg to 22/30mpg.

Mr. Daryanani said the main goal of the 2012 Honda CR-V is to be an excellent family vehicle as affirmed by test drivers. Its handling is unimaginable for a car in its class, thereby setting a new benchmark for the Compact Sports Utility Vehicle segment.

Safety, however, remains a strong selling point for the CR-V: With top five-star government safety ratings, Mr. Daryanani said the CR-V ranks best amongst safety conscious cars in its class, just like its predecessor. Other standard safety features include stability control, braking assist, and front-side and head-protecting side curtain air bags.

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