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New Off-Road Ready CR-V Exploit Is What You Want And Honda Desperately Needs Now

Toyota has the RAV4 Adventure, Subaru has the Forester Sport, why doesn’t Honda build a new 2020 CR-V Exploit?

If Honda wants to move ahead of Toyota they need to expand their SUV lineup and a new 2020 CR-V off-road-ready vehicle for active customers would be a big hit. A report from the Wall Street Journal says Honda is slipping behind because consumers are not buying sedans and the Accord is too high priced. Consumers in the U.S. are buying more SUVs and Honda is too sedan heavy in their lineup so this one change would help. Toyota is shifting to an SUV/truck lineup (63%) where Honda is about 50/50 SUVs versus cars. It’s not working for Honda, so here’s what they need.

2019 Honda CR-V2019 Honda CR-V

The solution for Honda who is shutting down Accord production because dealer lots are full of them and they aren’t selling as they had planned, would be simple for them to do. Honda should build a new CR-V Exploit when they make the 2020 model change to compete with other adventure-ready vehicles. They brought the new rugged Passport which was a good start, but now they need to give their number one selling vehicle in the lineup, CR-V, a new trim that will appeal to urban-adventurers.

2019 Honda CR-V

Exploit would be bold and daring and it would give the brand a boost, and it would give Honda a new vehicle they need without having to develop a whole new nameplate. It’s the perfect solution to falling profits and slow sedan sales. The CR-V is selling well and Honda needs to capitalize on its popularity. Bring a new adventure CR-V and customers will buy it. Probably in big numbers like Toyota has seen with the RAV4 Adventure.

Toyota priced the 2019 RAV4 Adventure at $33,050 so Honda could have a starting price of $32,900 for the CR-V Exploit and all they need to do is raise the ride height to 8.5-inches, give it suspension upgrades with different shocks, custom wheels with all-terrain tires, include the already capable Honda Real Time AWD system, the 1.5-liter turbo engine and add a new high-tech all-weather fabric interior for easy cleaning.

2019 Honda CR-V

The 2019 Honda CR-V offers the ideal platform for the Japanese automaker to bring a new off-road-ready Exploit trim. If they build it, customers will come.

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Photo credit: Honda USA


Jason (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 11:29PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

If honda did this with the crv, I would highly highly consider buying one. If they can give it even more then 8.5" of ground clearance that would be great.
- full underbody plating to help with aero for the awesome fuel consultation
- rugged styling on the body to make it something consumers would consider even taking it off the beaten path and not worrying about scratching paint. (I have a RD1 Crv and I use it for hitting trails and going on road trips) if I could have a new crv do the same with plastic or any kind of durable body panels with good driving range and more then 8.1" of ground clearance, I'm sure I'll pick one up.
- the passport is a great alternative, but my target price range for such a vehicle is low 30's.
-let's bring back the rear foldout table and under table trunk cooler which I use often may I add. I can keep going, but I need to go nite nite.

Digitaldoc (not verified)    August 7, 2019 - 12:24PM

Before turning the engineers to a limited off road model, it would be great if Honda could fix their 1.5T engine, and its ongoing oil-gas dilution issues. Let's hope it is finally better for the 2020 model year, but not giving it much hope.

Jaime Glenn (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 12:54PM

This article states that

"The solution for Honda who is shutting down Accord production because dealer lots are full of them and they aren’t selling as they had planned"

We are not shutting down production of the Accord. The Marysville plant is running A and C shift producing Accords. Only B shift is affected.

However, it maybe a typo. Could the article be updated.

DG (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 2:14PM

CR-V is not an attractive choice for anybody given serious engine problem. Turbo engines are disasters, something Toyota has successfully avoided. CR-V hybrid with naturally aspirated engine would be a serious consideration only because RAV4 lacks Android Auto integration. If Toyota adds AA in 2020, CR-V is dead.

JT (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 4:30PM

Honda has 2 traditional sedans. How on Earth is that a sedan heavy lineup?

They need to make a damn CR-V hybrid already.

Carol Smith (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 10:35PM

I have owed a honda accord sent 1997 until I was hit about four months ago. I will continue to be a honda fan. My next car will be a Honda CRV. I love my Honda Accord had several offers to buy it but would not sell

Jack Grey (not verified)    August 12, 2019 - 7:19AM

I think this article is bad advice to Honda.

The market expects better AWD solutions these days, and the Honda Passport is one of them. Making a CR-V (which I currently drive) into an ‘Adventure’ version will not cut the mustard. Consumers wanti substance not just style, even just to know they have that substance, which actually makes it part of the style...

Rudy (not verified)    August 21, 2019 - 3:19PM

What the idea above amounts to is sort of an appearance package at best. CR-Vs are just not suitable for off-roading. I've taken my 2009 on some unpaved roads and it handles them OK, but mainly it is lacking the low gearing needed to get up the inclines properly. And yes, it could use more ground clearance and even a skid plate. Oh, and a V6--the 3rd gen CR-V, at any rate, does fine in the city, but try the inclines on mountain roads and it can just about keep up with traffic; forget about trying to pass anyone, or merge onto a fast freeway (I dread the the I-70 West ramp out of Frisco, Colorado for that reason). The CR-V needs a good, honest V6 like the similar Acura RDX to power it. Until that happens, I doubt any off-road package would be taken seriously.

Scott (not verified)    August 25, 2019 - 3:04PM

In reply to by Rudy (not verified)

The Acura '19 RDX has a 2 liter turbo (272hp/280lbft torque). The '18 was the last year for the V6. I live in the mountains, drive a '18 CR-V and have no problems with the power from the 1.5 turbo. I also haven't had any oil dilution issues. Your 2009 is 10 years old with a very different engine and transmission, so your comment is worthless.

Barrymore Cornhill (not verified)    February 15, 2020 - 6:54AM

Bought a CRV CvT last September. Diff lock would be useful as I get a lot of wheel spin and could do with a higher gear lock up as with my Santa Fe to ease off very slippery surfaces. For a 1500 cc engine fuel consumption is appalling at 31.8 mpg!