Some marques are so well embedded into people’s minds that they never feel a need to look at reviews or comparison charts. And this particular brand has a reputation for making cars with the ultimate ‘buy it, fill it, run it, keep on running it and run till the edge of the earth’ heritage.
The all-new 2018 Honda CR-V will be my partner in road-crime for four weeks. Our test car is the top spec touring model finished in Sandstorm metallic, sure to be a favorite amongst us desert dwellers!
The CR-V will be replacing my daily-drive sedan which runs a firm suspension and is shod with low profile rubber. Not being a fan of the high seating positions, it would be great to see how the new CR-V makes it up to me. Now why is there a new CR-V while the old one was already doing well in the market? I will be trying to get an answer in the next four weeks!
At first glance, the new CR-V feels smaller compared to its previous gen model. A walk around reveals that it’s just the design lines playing with your mind. Open the doors and step inside; you feel that it can fit in more stuff than the older sibling. Yes, the new crossover features sharper and more taut characteristics which make it feel lighter on the eye. The full-LED headlamp unit on our test car looks updated and the wing-shaped DRLs add to the visual drama. Don’t know why, but I felt a hint of Ford Ecosport in the headlamp design. A chunky chrome bar running between the headlights helps to add visual weight to the otherwise sleek features. LED fog lamps are housed in the black cladding, which runs all around the CR-V and adds to the ‘go-anywhere’ looks. The profile seems familiar to the older model but with a much shorter rear overhang and nice looking 18-inch wheels filling in the pumped up wheel arches. The rear end now has the taillight cluster extended into the tailgate area and it is a mix of vertical and horizontal lighting elements. Overall a good update on the previously good-looking model. Particularly in this color, the new CR-V feels fresh and inviting to take on the urban landscape. Cars like the CR-V are volume sellers, and it demands a balance between modern design lines and user-practicality, which the new CR-V accomplishes with ease.
Inside the cabin you get a good forward field of vision. Compared to the previous model, it feels as if there is more space. It is winter in Dubai and that calls for an open sunroof most of the time-more fresh air. The leather seats finished in beige go along with our test car color and feature eight-way power adjustments for the driver seat and four-way adjustments for the passenger. I particularly liked the lumbar support adjustments for the driver seat, which helps me endure the ever-stuck Dubai-Sharjah commutes. The cabin is mostly black with some wood finish strips on the passenger-side dash and the door inserts. Nothing too fancy in here, but it feels solid and built to last.
Through the leather-clad steering on our top spec test car, a color TFT driver-info display gives you all the necessary details like trip, odometer, distance to empty and navigation hints. My only niggle here were the digital temperature and fuel gauges that had a million divisions in them! The touch-sensitive volume control on the steering wheel feels tricky at first but you get the hang of it in a day. A seven-inch touchscreen housed in the center controls the infotainment systems and features a physical volume button; thanks for that! The new screen feels a hundred times better than the aftermarket-like unit on the previous gen model. The new CR-V has a slightly longer wheelbase which means that three rear passengers can easily fit in. ‘One Motion’ 60/40 split folding rear seats can be operated with the simple push of a lever and fold flat to give you enormous cargo space.
So far so good except for some cabin hard plastics. The CR-V ticks all the boxes for styling, roominess, neat interiors and decent infotainment. More on the engine and drive; stay tuned!!
Pros: Good looks, spacious room inside, boot space, good visibility
Cons: Some hard cabin plastics
Rivals: Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Chevrolet Equinox, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape
one word: UUV- Urban Utility Vehicle
2.4L i4, 4WD, 184 hp, 244 Nm, CVT
0-100 km/h: 9 secs, top speed: 200 km/h, fuel consumption: 9.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1,618 kg