Honda's head of cars in the UK, Leon Brannan, has stated that the next generation CR-V crossover, due out in 2017, will be larger and have more of a premium feel than the current vehicle.
With the addition of Honda's new compact crossover, the HR-V, the Japanese automaker has decided it needs to further distinguish the two beyond a different fascia. That's why the redesigned version will offer seating for seven passengers and more sophisticated convenience features. The move upmarket will help the CR-V rival the Volvo XC60 and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Considering how the 2016 Pilot has improved in design and convenience features, the move makes sense. "CR-V is a massive pillar for us," Brannan said. "I'm not sure that HR-V in the UK will ever become a four-wheel drive car, most people in this segment will vote with their feet and buy two-wheel drive. So if we can assume that HR-V will ever only be two-wheel drive, then you've got to proposition [with CR-V]. 'Can we compete with Land Rover as a brand?' That's less about CR-V and more about Honda as a brand. Now we have the growing vehicle line-up you'll see more communications about Honda."
The segment in which the CR-V participates is growing dramatically, with new or improved vehicles entering the mid-range crossover segment all the time. Toyota's RAV-4, Hyundai's Santa Fe, Ford's Escape, Mazda's CX-5, Jeep's Cherokee, Subaru's Forester, and Volkswagen's Tiguan are all vying for buyer attention. By moving upmarket, the CR-V will have new competition and its almost certain increase in price will need to be backed by market-leading safety and technology features.
The 2017 CR-V is expected to borrow components from the 2016 Pilot, including its infotainment system and dashboard layout. Engine and transmission options, meanwhile, could come from the HR-V, including its 1.8-liter four-cylinder tuned to produce more power, and connected to a CVT transmission.