Meet the diesel-powered Honda CRV

We don’t have to wait two weeks to see it in all its glory. Feast your eyes on the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V 1.6 EL 4WD.

AutoInfo says the 2017 CR-V is quite the looker. Instead of going sporty, it seems to be embracing luxury and distinctiveness. LEDs are now found in both front and rear ends with the headlights (with daytime running lights) and taillights having them. The front grille features a honeycomb mesh decorated by a large chrome trip that ties it to the corporate Honda face. At each corner, this range-topping CR-V has Toyo-branded 235/60 R 18 tires.

At AutoInfo’s first drive at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, the outlet has confirmed that it’ll come with 7 seats. And the interior, instead of going all sporty, seems to echo the sheet metal. It’s luxurious with piano black accents going hand-in-hand with wood paneling. The front seats are power adjustable while the second row offers a 60/40 split-fold mechanism with two stages of recline. The rear doors open at 90 degrees allowing easier access to the third row. The CR-V offers ventilation ducts up to the second row.

It also seems Honda is going for a techier feel this time around too. The 2017 CR-V (at least with the diesel engine) comes with an electrically actuated transmission. Reminiscent of the Legend luxury sedan and Pilot SUV, the traditional PRNDS is accessed not by a shift lever but by buttons. AutoInfo says it takes time to master this new layout, but at least paddle shifters are present on the steering wheel for quick up or down shifts. In addition to the push-button style selector, the CR-V gets a digital gauge cluster with the tachometer now being a bar at the top. A large touchscreen allows access the infotainment system.

Now comes the most interesting part: the drive.

While we all know the 1.6-liter i-DTECserves up a torque buffet with 350 Nm of torque and 160 horsepower to boot, the biggest surprise is the 9 speed automatic. With wider ratios than a conventional 6-speed unit, the CR-V’s gearbox can actually skip gears. It can go from 9th to 5th or 7th to 4th directly. And with Honda resisting the temptation to go dual clutch, our Thai friends report smooth performance.