Honda is getting its hybrid groove back
Even while prices have gone up significantly, there are still a lot of interested customers for the Honda CR-V.
Honda’s original crossover has a special place among Filipino consumers, which is why it still remains as one of the brand’s strongest sellers. The family appeal is there even when faced with rivals that have the advantages of ladder frames.
Now there’s a new generation CR-V coming soon to the Philippines, and we got a peek at what variants Honda is going to be bringing into local showrooms. And none will have a 1.6L i-DTEC turbo diesel like the current (or outgoing) generation.
In terms of power units, two will be available here. The first is the 1.5L DOHC 16-valve Inline-4 VTEC Turbo gasoline engine with a CVT for the lower and mid-grade CR-V variants. The engine is basically the same as the one on the Civic but has been tuned for more power at 190 PS albeit torque is the same. We’re not quite sure if it will be all-wheel drive in that grade, but the smart bet is on front-wheel drive only.
The second is the one we’ve been waiting for, the 2.0L e:HEV hybrid of Honda. That means we can confirm Honda Cars Philippines is getting back into electrification after introducing (and phasing out) the CR-Z IMA and the Legend.
The e:HEV in the CR-V is the LFC-H4 which is comprised of a naturally aspirated 2.0L i-VTEC engine and a dual-motor hybrid electric drive system and an e-CVT. All-wheel drive and front-wheel drive are actually available for the e:HEV models abroad, so we will have to confirm which one will be offered here. Given that the CR-V e:HEV will be the top variant, it is very possible that AWD will be the one they specify for the Philippines.
Here are three different variants for the 2024 CR-V as we understand it:
2024 Honda CR-V 1.5 V Turbo CVT
2024 Honda CR-V 1.5 VX Turbo CVT
2024 Honda CR-V 2.0 e:HEV RS eCVT
Honda may change the nomenclature of using V or VX because in the outgoing fifth generation, they were using S and SX, so we will see closer to the launch. As for the exact specifications, there are no definite answers for that yet, but we expect a similar level of features with regard to comfort, convenience, and safety as the outgoing model. Actually, we expect Honda Sensing to be standard for all, except maybe for the V.
As for pricing, well that’s where it gets interesting. It’s going to be hard to pinpoint what Honda’s strategy will be because the cost of the outgoing CR-V (even if it is the Thai mad model) already ranges from PHP 1,763,000 to PHP 2,030,000 to PHP 2,290,000. So as to how much this will be, we expect the model range to start at PHP 1.8 million.
The hybrid is a different story because not only will it benefit from the ASEAN FTA, but it will also be covered by the 50% reduction in excise tax. If Honda found a way to set the SRP of the RS e:HEV at around PHP 2.2 million, we think it will be a winner.
The CR-V will likely be launched early next month, and the first units we expect to arrive in the Philippines within June 2023 are of the VX Turbo variant. The V Turbo and RS e:HEV units will start arriving around August 2023.