In the past, several generations of the Honda CR-V have been introduced in India, but none of them have ever included a diesel option. Until now, i.e., the year 2018, when Honda launched the Honda CR-V diesel SUV at the Auto Expo.
The 2018 Honda CR-V diesel for India is an all-new vehicle and not a mere facelift. This new generation CR-V is bigger and looks more aggressive than the previous iteration. A sharp front-end with design elements like a signature Honda grille, LED headlamps and daytime running lights give it a fresh look. The muscular stance and short overhangs with dual exhausts make it look sportier. The crossover rides on newly-designed 18-inch alloy wheels, but its highlight continues to be the electrically powered tailgate, which is the first for a Honda car in India.
The longer wheelbase of the new CR-V has helped to shove an extra row of seat in the new SUV. Yes, the CR-V is now a seven-seater. The cabin of the vehicle is spacious and comes equipped with upgraded materials all around. There's a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system complemented by a modern TFT virtual instrument cluster. Both the second and third row seats get reclining option, while one can slide the second row fore and aft as well. There are air vents in all rows, with the third row featuring roof-mounted vents. This third-row split folds 50:50, and the boot floor can be set in two positions too. A full-size spare tyre is located inside the car, under the third row.
Under the hood, the Honda CR-V diesel version comes powered by a 1.6-litre twin-turbo Earth Dreams diesel unit. This mill is tuned to produce 157bhp of power and 350Nm of torque, thus putting it in the same league as other powerful SUVs in this segment. Transmission options include either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic gearbox, with AWD option available as well.
The Honda CR-V garnered much interest in the Indian market when it was launched in 2003 as a CBU model. As its popularity increased, the carmaker began assembling the vehicle in India itself in 2013 with a view to further sales. However, even then, the most important thing it lacked was the availability of a diesel engine option. Now by introducing the diesel CR-V, Honda finally has a solid defense against competitors that peddle big SUVs with a diesel engine. Also, the additional third-row of seats has added to its desirability quotient.
Honda has a high localisation level for the 2018 Honda CR-V, which might hopefully help in pricing the car between Rs 20-25 lakhs. If that pricing is possible, then it will go a long way in reviving the charm and interest which the CR-V had lost. This SUV will then pose tough competition to the Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan and the Jeep Compass.