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20 Sep 2006 | International News :

• New 1.8 i-VTEC engine joins range
• Strong 2.2 diesel packs a punch
• Exterior and interior design changes
• Still as practical as ever

Honda's compact MPV - which features six seats arranged in two rows of three - has a new engine line-up and a series of exterior and interior changes for 2007.

From early next year, the FR-V will be available with a highly-efficient 140PS

1.8-litre i-VTEC unit - the engine launched in the 5-door Civic earlier this year.

The 1.8 offers great performance with fantastic economy - the best of both worlds! It does this through the latest VTEC technology that reduces pumping losses by delaying intake valve closure and holding the throttle valve wide open during low-load driving conditions. This boosts economy to that of a smaller engine, but it's still as poky as a 2.0-litre powered car. The 1.8 i-VTEC replaces both the 1.7 and

2.0-litre petrol engines that were previously available.

Externally, 2007 models can be distinguished by a new dark chrome finish to the grille, while the headlights, door handles, rear combination light and lower licence plate trim have also been tweaked.

Inside, the wood has gone - the fascia panel now sports a much-improved metal, carbon-like finish. The seats and doors, meanwhile, have a new greyish-blue soft touch fabric (grey leather seats together with beige soft touch fabric continue on EX grade models). An additional boot light provides added convenience.

It was already one of the most practical compact MPVs on the market, but the new FR-V is now even more versatile thanks to a number of improvements. The front middle seat tray, revealed by flipping forward the front half of the seat squab, now features two compartments and cup holders with lids. And the front seat headrests and back seat armrests have both been enhanced.

The FR-V is now also provided with an auxiliary jack for an iPod or similar audio storage device.

Otherwise, the FR-V continues to offer an outstandingly flexible, practical and intelligent interior in a stylish body. With all six seats in two rows, it's easy for everyone in the car to talk to each other, making it a more friendly way to travel.

It also leaves space for a large boot, and when more space for luggage is needed, the FR-V comes into its own. Not only do the three rear seats fold individually, they fold flat into the floor. So maximum space is achieved without having to remove and then store bulky seats. They can also be folded one-handed, simply by reaching in from the boot and unfastening a single latch.

To add to the numerous space combinations, the back of the central front seat also folds down to allow extra-long items to be carried, or to form a table.

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