When it comes to small crossovers, Honda has a certain recipe for success. Their CR-V compact crossover has been a huge hit for the automaker, so in refreshing it, Honda borrows a page from the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm.
As good as the current Honda CR-V is, today’s version is in its fifth year of sales, with only a minor facelift in 2010 to keep it fresh. Styling of the 2011 CR-V, while inoffensive, isn’t likely to draw buyers into showrooms. If you’re Honda, there’s a fine line between attracting new buyers and alienating your current owner base, so any restyle must be done with care.
Enter the 2012 Honda CR-V Concept, which is very likely to be the next Honda CR-V. Certain styling elements, like the limo-tint windows and oversize wheels probably won’t make it into production. What you can’t see from the exterior shot are the expected under-the-skin tweaks: expect a third-row seating option to compete against Toyota’s RAV4, and it’s likely that a six-speed automatic transmission will be added to improve fuel economy.
Don’t expect major mechanical changes for 2012. Front-wheel drive will be standard on base models, with all-wheel drive available on higher trim levels. The same 2.4-liter engine used on 2011 models is likely to return for 2012, but that isn’t a bad thing.
Honda will likely show the 2012 CR-V concept at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and production models should hit dealer showrooms by year-end.