The 2017 Honda CR-V hasn’t even been launched in Thailand yet, but already the fifth-gen SUV has been caught on our shores on its way to Honda Malaysia’s plant in Pegoh, Melaka, courtesy of reader Kamal Kaiza. The massive tarp covering the car made identifying it difficult, but the distinctive turbine-design 18-inch six-spoke alloy wheels can just about be made out here.

Don’t expect much in the way of changes inside and out compared to the Thai-spec car, with the brand’s latest Solid Wing Face corporate front end, flared wheel arches and L-shaped LED tail lights. Range-topping models are set to gain LED headlights and fog lights, along with the aforementioned 18-inch alloys (17-inch items are standard-fit).

Inside, the Malaysian-market CR-V will likely be offered in seven-seater form, just like in Thailand. However, the NSX-style button gear selector – which replaces the US market’s traditional gearlever – isn’t likely to be fitted to our cars, seeing as it is only fitted to the diesel’s nine-speed automatic, which we probably won’t get.

Available kit in Thailand includes keyless entry with Walk Away Auto Lock, push-button start, wood trim, leather upholstery, all-round one-touch power windows and dual-zone automatic climate control with air vents for the second and third row.

Other features include a seven-inch Display Audio infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an electronic parking brake and auto brake hold. A powered tailgate is standard on all models sold in the Land of Smiles, with top-spec variants gaining kick-operated handsfree opening. It remains to be seen if we’ll get the Remote Engine Start feature that’s missing on Thai-spec models.

Safety-wise, all Thai-spec models come with ABS with EBD and brake assist, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Agile Handling Assist (AHA) with brake-operated torque vectoring, with top-of-the-range models also gaining LaneWatch blind spot camera and a Driver Attention Monitor.

Although there’s no mention of the number of airbags on offer as yet, our CR-Vs will likely come with six airbags as standard, following the standard set by the Civic and facelifted Accord. Don’t hold your breath for the Honda Sensing suite of driver assists or Adaptive Cruise Control, however.

In Thailand, the CR-V is offered with a choice of two powertrains. The base unit is a carryover 2.4 litre K24 naturally-aspirated DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol mill producing 175 hp at 6,200 rpm and 225 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The Earth Dreams CVT from the Thai-market previous-generation facelift (we got a five-speed automatic transmission) has been retained as well.

The new range-topper is a 1.6 litre N16 DOHC i-DTEC turbodiesel from the outgoing European-market model, churning out 160 hp at 4,000 rpm and 350 Nm at 2,000 rpm. The oil burner is paired to a ZF nine-speed automatic gearbox. Both engines are available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

However, we’re placing our bets instead on our entry-level engine being the same 155 PS/190 Nm 2.0 litre R20 NA four-pot as before, albeit this time mated to a CVT instead of a five-speed auto.

Seeing as the Malaysian buying public is still averse to buying diesels, the Civic’s 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo mill is a more likely candidate for the range-topping engine, albeit tuned for more power to counteract the larger mass – 190 hp and 243 Nm in the case of the US-market model.

GALLERY: Thai-spec 2017 Honda CR-V