A lot has changed since the Honda CR-V crossover went on sale in 1997 facing just a few rivals. The entry-level crossover market has exploded to become the industry's fastest growing segment while attracting more than 20 entrants.
Honda Motor Co. -- aiming to stay ahead of the pack -- is reloading with a fourth-generation CR-V that aims to build on the model's styling, packaging, fuel economy and features.
The redesigned 2012 CR-V crossover was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday and is scheduled to go on sale Dec. 15.
In a year that has produced setback after setback for Honda, to say the new CR-V faces an incredible sales burden would not be an understatement.
It has been the top-selling crossover since 2007 but has been surpassed by the Ford Escape this year, partly because of inventory shortages after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The Honda brand's overall U.S. sales -- dented by depleted stockpiles -- have dropped 5 percent so far this year, though CR-V demand has jumped 11 percent in a market that has advanced 10 percent.