World debuts for new concept and production models typically happen at premier auto shows, like the North American International Auto Show, the Tokyo Motor Show or even the IAA (more commonly known as the Frankfurt Auto Show). The Orange County International Auto Show, held annually in Anaheim, California, isn’t where most automakers would choose to debut a revision to one of their most popular models.
Honda isn’t like most automakers, so it chose the Orange County International Auto Show for the world debut of its 2012 Honda CR-V Concept. Not only is the current CR-V one of Honda’s best-selling models, it’s also the best-selling SUV in the United States, by calendar year, from 2007 through 2010.
That makes the success of the fourth-generation Honda CR-V critical to Honda’s sales in the United States, so Honda needed to walk a fine line between too many design changes and not enough changes. The styling of the concept would seem to indicate that Honda’s designers hit their mark.
The 2012 Honda CR-V Concept is more dramatically styled than CR-Vs of the past, yet still tasteful in its design. Character lines on the new CR-V are more deeply sculpted, and the front end is somewhat aggressive in appearance. Signature styling traits, like the faux front skid plat and vertical tail lights, remain, and the muscular rocker panels give the CR-V something of a sporty look.
Honda is quick to point out that this is still just a concept, albeit one that “strongly hints” at the styling of the upcoming production model, which will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. What other changes, compared to the current CRV, does Honda have in store? Expect a more fuel-efficient engine, a lower curb weight and a revised interior that Honda calls “accommodating and spacious.”
Look for the 2012 Honda CR-V to hit dealer showrooms by the end of the year.