A month has passed, and our long-term tester picked up the notion of a family hauler. It lets you do the daily thrash around, and comfortably so. Add the huge cargo space for all essentials to any length of a road trip. During my four-week experience, the Honda CR-V felt ready to take on anything I threw at it and made sure that every bit was enjoyable.
The i-VTEC unit idles smoothly and drives all the wheels through a CVT with Honda G-shift control logic. Essentially, it means that the CVT feels more like a conventional auto box during gear shifts. Generating 184 hp at 6,400 rpm and a torque of 244 Nm at 3,900 rpm, the CR-V is no fire breather, but loves to rev in typical i-VTEC fashion. Gear shifter paddles on the steering wheel will keep you entertained for some quirky acceleration moves. Handling characteristics are typical crossover-like, but a tad more firm.
MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension employ low-friction dampers to keep things under control. These are aided by the tubular stabilizer bar in the front and a solid bar in the rear to give the CR-V flatter cornering capabilities. Turn-in is quick with minimal roll induction. But to a sedan guy like me, SUV geometry will never work in corners. There is always a fear of falling over, especially as the speedometer nears the three-digit mark. To compensate, there is the advantage of driving our all-wheel drive CR-V straight off the road where my sedan would normally sink in the sand or my head would hit the roof. Braking duties are much more efficient now, thanks to the new Electronic Brake Booster (EBB) which replaces the conventional vacuum brake booster unit. EBB is a microprocessor-controlled system which ensures improved braking performance across all speeds. The cabin remains noise-free when tackling bad surfaces as well as at motorway speeds; a Honda trademark.
It is always great to know that the car you are driving features up-to-date safety systems and the peace of mind associated with it is priceless. The new CR-V’s body structure tops the safety standard charts with an NCAP ‘5 star.’ A Driver Attention Monitor is provided to detect driver fatigue and alert using visual as well as audible means. The familiar Honda LaneWatch feature uses a camera on the passenger-side rearview mirror to display traffic on the 7-inch central display during lane changes. Active safety features such as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control Systems (TCS), Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), Electronic Brake Distributor (EBD), Agile Handling Assist, Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), Brake Override System and Hill Start Assist (HSA) helps broaden the margin for minor driver errors.
During a month-long experience, the CR-V never felt mundane. Even with a baby seat in place, the CR-V could comfortably take in two passengers in the rear. I could also leave my baby’s pram in the boot as I always had enough room to spare whatever the cargo may be. The CR-V pulls nicely when you get that occasional open stretch of tarmac amidst the urban jam. Bumps and curb climbs are handled with aplomb, and having the all-wheel drive means that you can drive down to the tip of the beach for your ultimate family fun time.
The CR-V is made to last and owners can expect outright Honda refinement and reliability. Swapping the CR-V for my daily-driver, I will miss the freedom to fall in those occasional potholes! Honda claims a fuel efficiency figure of 14.7 km/L, while I achieved a real world figure of 10 km/L in mixed conditions comprising mainly of bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions.
At the offered price, the new CR-V is well packaged and will continue generating good numbers for Honda. Definitely a recommended buy!
Pros: Good visibility, smooth ride, fair handling, fuel economy
Cons: Expensive top trim compared to others in the segment
Rivals: Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Chevrolet Equinox, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape
one word: UUV-urban utility vehicle
2.4L l4, 4WD, 184hp, 244Nm, CVT
0-100 km/h: 9 secs, top speed: 200 km/h, fuel consumption: 10 L/100 km
Weight: 1,618 kg