Things usually slow down a little in the month of Ramadan, and so it is in the local automotive scene. Not this year however. Honda Malaysia (HM) is maintaining its relentless pace in previewing and launching new models, and this week saw the on-form brand open the order books for the 2017 Honda CR-V, even as the Jazz facelift launch is just around the corner.

In an effort to keep up with the company’s VTEC Turbo pace, we’re reporting live from Gurney Paragon in Penang, where the fifth-generation Honda CR-V is making its Malaysian debut. We have here a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated variant, which will join the 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo version. Prior to this, HM only mentioned the latter, so this confirms that a 2.0L NA will join the 1.5L Turbo in our local line-up, just like in Indonesia.

The 2.0L NA engine in question should be the 155 PS/190 Nm R20 SOHC i-VTEC unit, mated to a CVT automatic. The CR-V is free for all to view and touch, but the doors are locked and the windows have been blacked out in typical HM preview fashion. This car could be the higher of two 2.0L variants, while the top 1.5L Turbo will be have all the bells and whistles, but it remains to be seen if there are intermediate spec 1.5L Turbos.

The turbo engine is from the current Civic, but makes 193 PS and 243 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 5,000 rpm in the CR-V, which is 20 PS and 23 Nm more than in the sedan. It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic. The downsized motor’s output also shades the 190 PS/222 Nm of the outgoing 2.4L NA engine.

Measuring 4,584 mm long, 1,855 mm wide and 1,679 mm (4WD 1,689 mm) tall, the new CR-V is 55 mm longer, 35 mm wider and 6 mm lower than before. Our neighbouring markets get a third-row seat option to make it 5+2, but HM has elected to offer the CR-V here as a five-seater. Max cargo load capacity with the second row folded flat (one-touch operation) is 1,084 litres.

To arrive at the decision to offer the CR-V without the third row, HM must have reckoned that not many buyers in this particular segment (they’re an affluent lot, CR-V customers) require the two small emergency seats. If it was a bet, my money would be on that being true. Those looking for more than five seats in a mid-size SUV have the Nissan X-Trail and Hyundai Santa Fe to choose from, aside from pick-up truck-based models like the Toyota Fortuner. Of course, Honda now has its own seven-seater in the BR-V.

For the first time in our market, Honda Sensing will be available. This suite of driver assistance systems uses a millimetre wave radar in the grille in conjunction with a monocular camera positioned at the top of the windscreen to provide seven active safety features.

These include Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with stop-and-go Low Speed Follow (LSF), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM).

Honda Sensing is not present on this car, and is reserved for the 1.5L Turbo, but all variants now get six airbags, up from four on the outgoing 2.0 2WD and 4WD variants (the range-topping 2.4 4WD model has six). As before, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) is standard across the range. Also available across the board are goodies such as keyless entry and push-button start and a reverse camera.

The 2.0L high-spec car you see here gets LED headlamps and daytime running lights, 17-inch dual-tone five-spoke alloys (with 235/65 Goodyear Efficient Grip tyres) and a single exhaust pipe. This means that dual exhaust outlets, the 18-inch spinner-style wheels and Honda Lanewatch (live feed from the left of the car) are exclusive to the 1.5L Turbo.

The 2017 Honda CR-V is now open for bookings. Those in Penang can view it today at Gurney Paragon. The SUV will then be at Mid Valley in KL from June 7 to 11, Imago Mall in Kota Kinabalu on June 11, Aeon Tebrau City in JB from June 16 to 18 and Plaza Merdeka in Kuching on June 18.

GALLERY: 2017 Honda CR-V 2.0L in Malaysia


GALLERY: Indonesian-spec Honda CR-V 1.5L Turbo Prestige

GALLERY: Indonesian-spec Honda CR-V 2.0L