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2012 Honda CR-V Spy Photos
Honda continues its trend of gentle evolution with the next-gen CR-V.

A fearless Car and Driver reader in Washington, D.C., snapped this picture of the next-generation Honda CR-V crossover, which will debut this fall. The vehicle looks ready for production, wearing its own sheetmetal (rather than the modified body of an existing Honda model) with the badge buried in tape on the tailgate.

Like other Japanese auto companies, Honda is as tight-lipped as can be about its future products. We’re left to use recent history and this photo to determine that the next CR-V will represent a gentle update to the current car, rather than a radical redo.

Figure on a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder being the only engine available. It should displace 2.4 liters like today’s CR-V engine, and we expect it to make between 180 and 200 hp—although the number may be closer to the bottom end of that range. Fuel economy also should improve slightly; in front-drive spec, the current model is rated for 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. (All-wheel-drivers are rated for 21/27.)

If there are any major changes to the upcoming CR-V, it could be in the seating layout. Until now, every CR-V has been a strictly 5-seat affair. Given the long rear overhang of the car in this photo, however, it looks like there just might be room for a small 3rd row of seats for short-legged passengers. Toyota sells a 3-row RAV4, but most others in the segment serve a maximum of 5.

Few would call the CR-V in its present form a pulse-raising vehicle, but it’s a staple for Honda, offers good driving dynamics, and is a sensible choice for more than 200,000 Americans per year. Even without concrete details on the next-generation CR-V, we feel confident saying it will maintain the current car’s sales success. We expect the 2012 CR-V to debut at the Los Angeles auto show this November.
 

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Though it isn’t set to go on sale until the end of the year, the new 2012 Honda CR-V crossover has been previewed in concept form and it’s safe to say the upcoming production version will closely resemble the lines seen here today.

It looks as though we’ll get a fairly conventional crossover design for the new CR-V, though there’s a chance a 3rd-row seating option will be offered this time ‘round to give it more ammunition against its closest rival, the Toyota RAV4, which currently offers the option.

Despite its age, the current CR-V remains a top seller in the small to mid-size crossover segment, selling in numbers as high 200,000 units per year in the recent past, so with the new generation Honda was never going to rock the boat when it came to its design.

Expect front-wheel drive as standard, as well as a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with output ranging somewhere between 180 and 200 horsepower. Fuel economy should also better the 21/28 mpg city/highway of the front-wheel drive model found in the current lineup. All-wheel drive versions should return slightly worse figures.

Finally, a new 6-speed automatic is expected to replace the 5-speeder of the current model.

As mentioned, the production 2012 Honda CR-V should go on sale at the end of the year, most likely with a debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show this November. You can bet the blacked-out headlights, oversized wheels and aggressive front skid plate seen on this concept will all be gone once production ramps up.

While you wait for its arrival, click here for our previous spy shots report for more details.
 
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