Based on the CR-V platform, the FR-V is another of those mini-minivans that have taken the European market by storm. Drawing from the lead of the ugly but well packaged Fiat Multipla, the FR-V has two rows of three seats, giving seating for six and lots of luggage space-the previous Stream (based on the Civic) had a third-row seat that impinged badly on the cargo area. The FR-V, furthermore has sliding center seats that allow more shoulder room for adults than conventional benches do. With the second row in place, there is 15.5 cubic feet of luggage space, which increases to 37 cubic feet with the seat stowed. The FR-V is powered by a choice of two gasoline engines: a 1.7-liter four that makes 123 hp and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission; and a 148-hp 2.0-liter four with a six-speed manual. A 2.2-liter turbo-diesel joins the lineup later, making 138 hp and 251 pound feet of torque. There's no word on whether the FR-V will be sold at any point in the United States, but bear in mind we do get the CR-V, fitted with a torquier, 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine. As yet, only Mazda, with the forthcoming Mazda5, will import one of these small vans into the States, and we're not expecting it to set sales records.
Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand pricesubscribe