Honda Hoping for Hit with Redesigned 2012 CR-V

While Honda’s redesigned Odyssey has been well received, its revamped Civic has drawn criticism for the automaker’s use of cheap materials. Honda has already announced that it will perform a mid-cycle refresh of the Civic and is now turning its attention to the upcoming release of the redesigned 2012 Accord sedan and CR-V crossover.

The 2012 CR-V is very similar to the current model, but Honda has re-engineered the smaller package to offer more interior room, both for passengers and cargo. The additional room was achieved by lowering the cargo floor and moving the windshield forward slightly.

The new CR-V will also feature better instrumentation and interior materials than the current Civic model. Honda has been widely criticized for its use of cheap plastics in the current Civic which Consumer Reports called “cheap” and “insubstantial” in announcing its decision not to include it in its list of “recommended” vehicles.

The redesigned CR-V is also lighter and more aerodynamic than the current model, which translates into a couple of miles per gallon better fuel economy without a sacrifice in performance. The new CR-V is reportedly 0.3 seconds faster than the current model in 0-60 mph acceleration studies.

Honda has also equipped the 2012 CR-V with a split-folding rear seat and a generous center console cubbyhole. The new model is also safer, with increased torsional rigidity and thicker gauge steel in a number of areas.

It will also feature what Honda is calling “electric all-wheel drive.” The hydraulic system depends on a torque-split mechanism which, when electronically actuated, delivers power to the front and rear wheels. Although the system always delivers power to the rear wheels when starting the vehicle, up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque can be transferred to either the front or rear wheels when necessary.

The new CR-V will also feature electronic power steering. The current model employs a hydraulic power steering system.

Standard features will include cruise control, air conditioning, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD sound system and a tilt/telescopic steering column, Bluetooth connectivity, USB audio, and a rear-mounted backup-assist camera.

In a press release, Honda’s CR-V project leader Akio Tonomura said, “People want something more economical and environmentally sensitive, but people’s true wants and needs haven’t changed.”

The 2012 CR-V is scheduled to launch on December 15. Honda has already launched a social media campaign to generate buzz about the vehicle and will also advertise during two BCS bowl games in January.

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