The Honda CR-V is very much a mainstay in the SUV category within the Malaysian market, and the latest iteration, the sixth-generation model has been launched in Malaysia last week.

It has, in fact been two decades since the first locally assembled (CKD) version of the CR-V emerged for this market, with the localised, second-generation CR-V arriving back in 2002, emerging from the Honda Malaysia plant in Melaka.

As shown in these images, the passage of 20 years between the arrival of the second-generation model and that of the latest, sixth-generation SUV shows just how far design has evolved, inside and out.

The intervening years has culminated in a a ‘face’ that now features much slimmer headlamps and a larger grille relative to the second-generation model, along with a visually lower bottom edge for a more car-like appearance, which is helped in the side profile view by a higher belt line and wheel arches.

Its change of appearance is even more apparent when viewed from the rear, where the second-generation model’s tailgate gets an externally mounted spare wheel, here within a body-coloured shell, and which opens sideways.

This is in contrast to the latest model’s adopted norm of a vertically opening tailgate as on the majority of hatchbacks and crossovers today. While the sixth-gen model’s tail lamps also serve to visually widen the rear of the vehicle, as at the front, it retains upright elements recalling those of the early model – perhaps with a bit of a Swedish twist.

Available technology in the cabin of each model also serve to highlight the progress made in 20 years, though similarities also appear when a broader view is taken.

An implied straight line spans the width of the dashboard in the second-generation model, and this is made more apparent in the latest iteration, while the layout of selected components appear to be shared.

The infotainment screen on the sixth-gen model resides atop the dashboard with the air-conditioning vents situated below, just as the double-DIN unit in its ancestor is located. A key difference is the transmission selector – while the older car has its gearlever on the dashboard, the control on the new model assumes a now-more-common place on the centre tunnel, bridging the centre console and the dash fascia.

Similarly, the game moves on in terms of accommodation in the rear quarters. Occupants in the second row of the first CKD CR-V benefit from a tall glasshouse, and while the new car may appear to be more cosy thanks to its higher window line, it counters by being even more spacious.

The upholstery in each model also offers a contrast as a sign of the times, so to speak, with distinct fabric in the second-gen car compared with full leather in the latest model.

For progress in terms of raw numbers, one area where this is likely most apparent is in the powertrain. Where the second-generation CR-V employed a 2.0 litre K20A naturally aspirated inline-four cylinder petrol engine that produced 156 PS, the latest model brings turbocharging into the mix, offsetting its smaller 1.5 litre swept capacity with higher outputs of 190 PS and 243 Nm.

The Honda CR-V is a clear favourite in the SUV category for Malaysia, with more than 130,000 units sold as of November this year. Dear readers who have owned, and currently own a CR-V, what have been your favourites aspects of ownership? Let us know in the comments.

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