Honda CR-V concept doesn't mess with success

Honda showed off the concept version of its new CR-V model at the Anaheim auto show. In typical Honda style, the concept looks near ready for production.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read
Honda CR-V concept
Honda CR-V concept
Honda's CR-V concept previews the design of the 2012 production model. Honda

Honda debuted a CR-V concept today at the Orange County International Auto Show in Anaheim, but don't expect gullwing doors, cameras instead of rear view mirrors, or some new, revolutionary electric power train. This CR-V is a preview of the 2012 model update, the production version of which Honda will show off in November.

The concept reveals new styling, and Honda says the new CR-V will have more cabin space, a redesigned interior, and better fuel economy than the current model.

The redesign gives the CR-V a much more modern look than the previous generation, which has gone for five years without a significant update. The headlights are integrated with the grille, and a skid-plate-looking piece rises up from under the front of the car.

Honda CR-V concept
The rear of the CR-V concept is more vertical than the current model. Honda

The hatchback is more vertical, giving the roof a straighter run from windshield to back. That detail should lead to the promised cabin space increase. Honda added an up line at the rear of the side graphic, which is very reminiscent of BMW's signature Hofmeister kink.

Honda didn't offer a peek into the cabin or detail the engine specifications. It might get some form of the I-MID display seen in the new Civic, but those vehicles have very different instrument cluster designs.

Expect a similar engine to the current 2.4-liter variable valve timed four cylinder. Honda has shown little interest in direct injection or turbocharging. A six-speed automatic would seem likely, as Honda has started implementing these transmissions in its Acura brand. That would help the highway fuel economy.

This redesign fails to establish a recognizable Honda design language, a look that could establish a distinctive Honda identity across its model line-up. But, as the CR-V has been the best-selling SUV in the U.S., Honda won't want to make any radical changes from the current model.