Honda launches ‘Not all 4x4s are the same’ campaign

Not all 4x4s are big, dirty and dangerous, claims a new campaign launched by Honda.

A special window sticker will be available for owners of Honda’s forthcoming new CR-V, available in January 2007, to help them differentiate themselves from higher emission 4 wheel drives in the eyes of anti-4×4 campaigners. Honda says that this is a direct response to concerned customers asking for help.

The stickers carry the message ‘Not all 4x4s are the same’, highlighting the fact that the Honda CR-V is cleaner, safer and smaller than most.

It addresses the major concerns of the anti-4×4 lobby with the following facts:

Too dirty? The new Honda CR-V is not only cleaner than other SUVs – the exhaust emissions of the 2.0-litre petrol CR-V of 194g/km are lower than some large estates, hatchbacks, MPVs and even a Mini Cooper S, which emits 207g/km.

Too big? The CR-V has a footprint that’s a similar size to a Ford Mondeo (and smaller than a BMW 5 Series).

Too dangerous? The current CR-V achieves a 3-star rating for pedestrian safety – which, according to industry experts Euro NCAP, puts it in the top 10 per cent of pedestrian-friendly cars on the road. Also, the current model gets 4-stars for occupant safety. As for the all-new CR-V, Honda is aiming for yet another high level result.

This is the first time a car manufacturer has taken direct customer action on this debate.

Honda’s view was reinforced by the recent proposals made by Richmond Council regarding parking permit pricing linked to car emissions. The council’s plan to penalise the dirtiest, thirstiest vehicles means that the new CR-V will rank better than most 4x4s in the automotive ‘green hierarchy’.

Under the proposed scheme, the diesel-engined CR-V (with CO2 emissions of 173g/km) would fall into Band E. Although this results in a 30 per cent increase in parking charges, the less efficient 4x4s on the market would receive a 200 per cent hike in permit costs – up to £450 per year.

John Kingston, Environment Manager at Honda (UK), said: “The ‘one size fits all’ approach of anti-4×4 protesters is confusing. Some customers have expressed their concerns and frustration about being criticised for driving a CR-V – no surprise when you consider this Honda is incredibly clean, not a gas-guzzler, smaller than most 4x4s and is remarkably safe for both passengers and pedestrians.”

The new 2.2 i-CTDi CR-V has a combined consumption figure of 43.5mpg, making it one of the most economical 4x4s available, just beating the Toyota RAV4 2.2D-4D T140 with 42.8mpg and the much smaller, petrol-engined Fiat Panda 1.2 4×4 which has exactly the same 42.8mpg consumption. Even the petrol-electric hybrid Lexus RX400h only manages 34.9mpg.

The diesel engine in the current CR-V will be a very pleasant surprise to anyone who has not driven a Honda diesel before – it’s smooth and responsive – and the new engine, along with the petrol, has better performance as well as better economy and emissions.

The new CR-V range will start from around £19,000 and rise to around £25,000 for the top-spec models.

Find out more about the new CR-V at www.honda.co.uk/crv2007

Green-Car-Guide comment:
“Well done to Honda for standing up and making this point – and about time too. Let’s hope that this marks the start of a new wave of 4x4s becoming available that have genuinely lower emissions, along with a heightened awareness of this fact. There’s no reason why people should be attacked for wanting a car which helps families enjoy fun adventures in the great outdoors at the weekend and that offers safer traction in all-year-round weather conditions. Obviously the Honda isn’t meant to be a serious off-roader – if you want a capable mud-plugger with lower emission technology you may have to wait until around 2010 for the new Freelander 2 to be offered with petrol and diesel hybrid powertrains…”