Bangkok 2023: Honda CR-V – 6th-gen SUV launched in Thailand; 1.5L turbo, 2.0L hybrid, 5/7 seats, fr RM186k –

Sawadeekap. We’re reporting live from the Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) for the first time since 2019, and it’s good to be back after the world, and our regional motor show coverage, paused for the pandemic. Kicking things off at Impact Muang Thong Thani this year is the all-new 2023 Honda CR-V, which is now launched for the Thailand market.

Thailand is where the CR-V ball starts rolling for our region, but Malaysia will get it very soon – the new CR-V is set to be one of the four new models that Honda Malaysia will introduce this year.

The sixth generation of the household name SUV is a looker in the metal, looking more square and strong than the fifth-generation CR-V that first surfaced in late 2016 (Malaysian launch was in July 2017; we had the facelift in November 2020). The more macho appearance is contributed by a straight shoulder line and a flat bonnet, which is joined to a bluff nose and a large hexagonal grille.

On top variants, the grille mesh is a supersized honeycomb. The rear has hints of Volvo (not a bad thing at all) and distinctive LED signatures. What do you think of the new CR-V’s looks versus the old one, and when compared to the more organic Mazda CX-5? By the way, the blue car you see here is an RS, and it’s the first time the CR-V is getting the sporty trim level we already know from the City, Civic and HR-V.

At 4,694 mm long and 1,865 mm wide, the new CR-V is 71 mm longer and 10 mm wider than the SUV it replaces, while wheelbase has grown by 40 mm to 2,700 mm. Honda’s midsize SUV has always been much more spacious inside than its wheelbase suggests, thanks to signature clever packaging, and this one is no different.

By the way, the Thai market has a seven-seat option with two small seats in a third row. Not many customers are expected to go for the seven-seater, and only one variant (out of five) has the extra seats. Speaking of options, only the base Turbo E is 2WD, the other four variants have the on-demand ‘Real Time AWD’ – perhaps the local market here puts high emphasis on SUVs having all-wheel drive.

As mentioned, there are five variants and prices might be higher than some expect. Locally assembled here in Thailand, the 2023 CR-V starts from the 1.5 Turbo E 2WD at 1,419,000 baht, which is equivalent to RM186,478. Next up is the 1.5 Turbo ES 4WD at 1,599,000 baht (RM210,133) and the 1.5 Turbo EL 4WD 7-seater at 1,649,000 baht (RM216,724).

These variants are powered by the now familiar Honda 1.5 litre turbo engine, which pushes out 190 hp at 6,000 rpm and 242 Nm of torque at 1,700 to 5,000 rpm. As with all new cars in the Land of Smiles, it accepts E85 biofuel. By the way, our current CR-V’s 1.5L turbo unit is rated at 193 PS and 243 Nm from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm. The CVT gearbox is also a known quantity.

The other two variants are hybrids – the e:HEV ES 4WD at 1,589,000 baht (RM208,839) and the range-topping e:HEV RS 4WD at 1,729,000 baht (RM227,239). The i-MMD powertrain in the e:HEV model is similar to that on the Civic e:HEV, with a 2.0 litre Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and e-CVT working together with two electric motors for a total system output of 204 hp (207 PS) and 371 Nm from 0 to 2,000 rpm.

The exterior kit list includes LED headlamps and daytime running lights, sequential LED front turn signals, LED front fog lamps, LED tail lamps, electric side mirrors with repeaters and automatic folding, panoramic electric sunroof, walk away auto close (includes tailgate), front/rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloys.

The top RS variant adds on body-coloured and gloss black trim where black plastic and chrome normally reside, in addition to RS badges at the front and back. The door mirror caps and shark fin antenna are also in black, in addition to a rear spoiler and 19-inch two-tone alloys. The headlamps are Adaptive Driving Beam items that are essentially high beam all the time but blocks out oncoming cars.

Inside, the new CR-V gets a Civic FE-style dashboard with a 9.0-inch touch screen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (plus voice commands), a 10.2-inch digital meter panel (except for the base E), wireless charger and steering paddle shifters, among other things. The RS gets luxuries such as a head-up display, 12-speaker Bose sound system and built-in navigation.

For the Thai market, the RS gets aluminium-style silver trim while the others come with a dark wood-style inserts. The sporty one also has red stitching on the leather seats and RS animation when starting the car, as per current RS models.

Honda Sensing is standard across the board, as is Honda LaneWatch. As for colours, the standout shade is Canyon River Blue Metallic, which is reserved for e:HEV hybrid variants. Ignite Red Metallic is a signature RS colour reserved for the range-topper. The other colours are Platinum White Pearl, Meteoroid Gray Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic and Crystal Black Pearl.

So, the CR-V range starts from RM186,478 to RM227,239 in Thailand now. Our current fifth-generation CR-V facelift is priced from RM165,800 to RM170,400 for the turbo engine (there’s a 2.0L NA base model that ducks below RM150k). Just like D-segment sedans moving from the previous to current generation, perhaps +/- RM200k is the new normal for big (for us) SUVs? We’ll see when the new CR-V lands in Malaysia later this year.

For now, what do you think of the CR-V’s new image and the specs on offer?

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