If this is where the compact SUV is heading, the RAV4 should be worried.
The current-generation Honda CR-V has been around for quite some time, first seeing US soil in late 2016. Despite the tempting entry point of just $26,400, rivals in the form of the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape pose a threat to sales. If the CR-V wants to retain its impressive market share (over 360,000 were sold in America last year), Honda will need to update the compact SUV to remain an attractive package for customers.
If the image seen below is where Honda is headed design-wise, the CR-V stands a good chance of retaining its strong sales. Shared on Facebook by Vanhoe Rage, the patent shows a far cleaner-looking front end, with slimmer headlights and a more purposeful grille. Flowing from the aforementioned grille are emphasized lines that flow into the fog lamp/front vent cluster. Overall, it resembles the new Honda HR-V, a compact crossover scheduled to arrive this year.
The side profile of the CR-V appears unchanged, although the side mirrors appear to be placed on the door itself, unlike the current model. What's more, the prominent crease in the patent's profile stretches from the front headlight cluster all the way to the rear; the compact crossover as we know it also has a similar design flourish, but the crease seemingly fades into the rear quarter panel.
Unfortunately, images of the upcoming SUV's rear are yet to be seen. While it retains the CR-V's tradition of lengthy taillights, the cluster looks to have a softer edge on the side of the vehicle, similar to that seen on the Volvo XC40. While it's unclear whether this design is set in stone or even for the US market, it's an interesting tease of what's to come for Honda's best-seller.
While a recent facelift first seen in 2019 has kept the superb all-rounder competitive and appealing to customers, there are a number of places Honda can improve the updated model. While interior space and economy are excellent (there's a hybrid model for even better gas mileage), the ride quality and infotainment system could do with further enhancements.
As mentioned, the current CR-V range kicks off at $26,400 for the base LX trim level, but those looking for more luxury and all-wheel-drive can opt for the Touring derivative, at $36,200. A trio of hybrid models is available, starting out at $31,610. Already the consummate compact family SUV, the CR-V will glean plenty of interest if Honda should apply these styling changes and several other updates. After all, the segment in which it competes is hotly contested, and will only get tougher when Toyota's facelifted RAV4 arrives.