Honda adds new bargain-basement CR-V to broaden appeal
BARGAIN-hunting SUV buyers can put Honda on their shopping list.
The Japanese marque has introduced a discounted CR-V model that undercuts the previous cheapest model by $2400 with an aim of attracting bums on seats for those without fat wallets.
Starting from $28,290 plus on-roads, the new two-wheel drive variant is powered exclusively by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission - all other CR-Vs are motivated by a 1.5-litre turbo.
Mitsubishi currently offers its Outlander ES auto from $29,990 drive-away, the Kia Sportage Si with auto is $31,990 drive-away, Mazda has its CX-5 Maxx at $31,490 drive-away, while the Toyota Rav4 GX is $32,990 drive-away.
Equipment in the bargain basement CR-V model includes 17-inch alloy wheels and full size spare, reversing camera, LED Daytime Running lights, electric parking brake, bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming on a five-inch display and six airbags.
The performance is adequate for metropolitan driving, although rural drivers will find it breathless when summonsed for overtaking. It will work hard up to the 7000rpm redline and it should deliver fuel consumption of about eight litres for every 100km if you don't test that ability too often.
"Our customers were telling us they'd like to a see a CR-V for around $30k, so we've been able to deliver a great option in the new Vi grade,” said Honda Australia director Stephen Collins.
"The CR-V Vi grade competes strongly on value and specification against other entry-level medium SUVs, we've priced it under the automatic Mazda CX5 Maxx and Toyota Rav4 GX which is great news for buyers.”
While the launch of the compact HR-V signified a return to sales form for Honda in 2015, it's the CR-V which has become the brand's shining star.
While the Mazda CX-5 is Australia's most popular SUV, the CR-V is the nation's fastest growing SUV in terms of sales. With Honda sitting the third most popular brand in private sales (removing rental and fleet seals) behind Toyota and Mazda, 80 per cent of the marque's growth is courtesy of CR-V.
"What we expect it (Vi) to do is broaden the appeal, get customers into showrooms, so we don't expect it will be a huge selling variant,” Mr Collins said.
"We still believe the 1.5 turbo VTi-S - the second grade up - will still get the lion's share volume.”
Honda is also looking at bringing in another lower grade seven-seat CR-V variant.
HONDA CR-V Vi
PRICE $28,290 plus on-roads
ENGINE 2.0-litre four-cylinder 113kW/189Nm
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable automatic
SAFETY 5 stars, six airbags, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, Vehicle Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, Emergency Stop Signal.
WARRANTY Five-year unlimited kilometre.
HONDA CR-V PRICING
Vi (5 seats) 2WD $28,290
VTi (5 seats) 2WD $30,690
VTi-S (5 seats) 2WD $33,290
VTi-S (5 seats) AWD $35,490
VTi-L (7 seats) 2WD $38,990
VTi-LX (5 seats) AWD $44,290