AutoWeek decided to pull back the curtain early on the 2007 Honda CR-V and publish pictures and details of the new CUV that the automaker had placed on embargo until September 1st. We've seen this happen so many times before, and not just by small blogs and websites who don't know any better, but by big media outlets like AutoWeek, that at this point we find it hard to believe they did it without permission directly from Honda. Automakers are getting more and more savvy about building buzz that it just wouldn't surprise us, that's all. We had a call into Honda this afternoon as well, and we weren't that surprised when no one called back.

Anyway, official shots of the CR-V had already been leaked onto the internet about five days ago, and undisguised spy shots have been floating around for even longer, so the new CR-V's skin is anything but surprising at this point. The gaping void below the front grille and the severely sloping outline of the rear side windows are still polarizing design elements whose acceptance will now be at the mercy of the market.

What we do know now that we didn't before is that the CR-V will have a base price of $21,400 when it goes on sale in October. Option up the CR-V with a satellite navigation system and 270-watt stereo and the sticker will approach $28,000. The sole powerplant remains Honda's 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, albeit upgraded for 2007 to produce an additional 10 horsepower (now 166 horsepower/161 ft-lbs. of torque), and no manual will be offered this time around, just a five-speed automatic.

Though the CR-V's styling hasn't made the best first impression on us, we will say that Honda could be making a very shrewd move by not following the trend of dropping a powerful V6 into its tiniest of utes. The CR-V's 2.4-liter four will no doubt produce commendable gas mileage and operate at the typical level of Honda four-cylinder refinement. That combination could lead to big sales for the CR-V in these lean and green times.

(Interior shot can be found after the jump)

[Source: AutoWeek]