Honda CR-V (2017) Launch Review

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Honda has launched the all-new CR-V family car/compact SUV in South Africa. Now in its 5th generation, the CR-V is bigger, better equipped and more refined than before and we attended the local launch in Cape Town to take it for a drive. Take a look at what Honda's newcomer has to offer…

The CR-V has proven its success worldwide with more than 9 million sales in more than 150 countries... according to Honda, the outgoing CR-V was the world’s best-selling SUV.

Competing in a burgeoning compact family SUV segment against rivals such as the Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Renault Kadjar, Kia Sportage, to name a few, Honda’s new CR-V has arrived on local soil to take the fight to its competitors.

Built on a new platform, the CR-V features a fresh exterior design, a larger cabin with more space for passengers and luggage, improved interior material quality, upgraded infotainment systems and higher levels of refinement and improved ride comfort. In addition to this, the CR-V, for the first time ever, is now offered with a new turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine!

What’s on offer?


The CR-V welcomes a new 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine to the range with 140 kW and 240 Nm of torque.

The new CR-V lineup offers buyers the choice of 2 petrol engines and 4 trim levels to choose from. The entry-level Comfort and mid-spec Elegance derivatives are powered by an updated naturally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine with 113 kW and 189 Nm of torque. Both derivatives are front-wheel drive and Honda claims a consumption figure of 7.3 L/100 km.

The Executive and range-topping Exclusive derivatives feature a new 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine offering peak outputs of 140 kW and 240 Nm of torque. The claimed fuel consumption figure for this engine, which is mated with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) augmented by manual shift paddles, is 7.0 L/100 km. Both derivatives feature an improved all-wheel drive system, which dynamically directs power to the front and rear axles as road conditions require.  

The new CR-V further features a revised suspension setup that contributes positively to its ride quality. A MacPherson strut-based suspension is used on the front axle while a multilink suspension is used over the rear axle.

Standard features


A new modern interior design with significantly improved infotainment system is offered on the new CR-V.

The entry-level 2.0 Comfort is adorned with aluminium-look front and rear scuff plates, brushed aluminium roof rails and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. Halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, fog lights and LED taillight clusters are standard.

The dominant interior upholstery is cloth with a soft-touch instrument panel that includes a digital information interface. A full-colour, 5-inch touchscreen display offers Bluetooth, hands-free telephony and music streaming functions and a USB, auxiliary port and two 12V sockets are provided. Other notable features include dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, front and rear electric windows, electric side mirrors and electric parking brake.

The 2.0 Elegance derivative builds on the Comfort’s specification, adding leather upholstery, a larger, Apple CarPlay-compatible 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, enhanced sound system, 2 USB ports for front and rear passengers, 8-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with front seat heating as standard. Front and rear parking sensors are offered as well as a heating function for the electric side mirrors, automatic windscreen wipers and a leather trimmed steering wheel.


A CVT is standard across the CR-V range and a 7-inch touchscreen with integrated navigation is offered on the range-topping CR-V 1.5T Exclusive. 

Moving up the range to the all-wheel drive 1.5T Executive, features such as larger 18-inch wheels and LED headlights are key visual differentiators. Added features include a panoramic sunroof, automatic levelling headlights, start/stop button and keyless smart entry.

The range-topping 1.5T Exclusive gets the full-house treatment and although it’s almost visually identical to the Executive derivative, it gains 3-element front LED fog lights. On the inside the 7-inch infotainment system incorporates satellite navigation and the opening height of the electrically operated tailgate can be programmed according to your needs.   

The Exclusive is equipped with the full suite of driver assist systems known as Honda Sensing and includes features such Collision Mitigation Braking with Forward Collision Warning, Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control  with Low Speed Following and Lane Keeping Assist. Additional new driver-assisting technologies include Lane Watch, Blind Spot Monitoring as well as Auto High-Beam headlights. Tyre pressure monitoring is also offered on this derivative.

All CR-V derivatives are equipped with 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Agile Handling Assist (AHA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Driver Attention Monitor and ISOfix child seat mounting points.

What’s the new CR-V like to drive?


The latest CR-V is more refined than the previous generation and offers good ride quality and a spacious interior. 

Our 200 km launch route started behind the wheel of the CR-V 2.0 Elegance. The interior design of the new CR-V is much-improved over the previous generation and perceived interior build quality is good. The interior has a distinctly upmarket feel to it and we found the seats to be particularly comfortable and the steering wheel can be adjusted for rake and reach, which makes it easy to find the perfect driving position. ‘

The 2.0-litre petrol engine, carried over from the outgoing CR-V, has been improved to offer higher levels of refinement and it’s noticeably quieter on the road. Although we had our doubts about the CVT, it actually works quite well. In normal drive mode, the CVT is relatively unobtrusive and thankfully doesn’t suffer from an excessive droning noise which plagues other CVTs. When you shift the transmission into Sport mode, the driver must use the mounted gear shift paddles to exploit the CVT and this mode is recommended if you want to get the most from the engine. Overall, we found the performance of the CVT to be refined.  

We found the ride quality of the new CR-V to be particularly impressive. It felt solid and composed on the road and delivered a comfortable ride while the steering felt responsive with a positive feel. Honda has improved cabin insulation and very little wind and road noise is evident while driving.


Rear passenger space is generous and passengers have access to 2 USB ports in the rear for charging devices. 

The only criticism we can lob at the CR-V 2.0 Elegance during our drive was that it lacked a degree of urgency when overtaking on the highway, but this was addressed when we stepped into the new CR-V 1.5T Exclusive. The extra power and torque was immediately noticeable and this engine was far more responsive and willing. The 1.5T derivative delivered good performance overall and although the performance of the 2.0-litre is sufficient, we feel that the 1.5T has more to offer.

It’s also worth mentioning that the CR-V’s spaciousness is quite substantial. With an extended wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks, passengers benefit from generous, leg-, head- and shoulder room. The luggage bay is large at 522 litres and a flat loading floor is created when you fold the 60:40 split rear seats down, increasing loading space to 1 084 litres.


The load bay is large at 522 litres and the rear seats can fold down to open more space if required. 

Summary

The new Honda CR-V is markedly more upmarket than the outgoing model and its pricing reflects this. The Honda CR-V is more expensive than many of its key rivals and while Honda adopts an all-inclusive approach in terms of specification, which ultimately means that what you see is what you get, products such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 are comparatively difficult to ignore in terms of value-for-money. Buyers considering the CR-V are also somewhat limited in terms of engine and transmission choice as there is no diesel engine offered and the CVT is the only transmission, which may be enough reason for buyers to consider other options.  

Honda CR-V – prices in South Africa

2.0 Comfort CVT FWD R422 900

2.0 Elegance CVT FWD R477 900

1.5T Executive CVT AWD R584 900

1.5T Exclusive CVT AWD R626 900

The Honda CR-V is sold with a 5-year/200 000 km warranty, 5-year/90 000 km service plan and 3-year AA Roadside Assistance. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km for 2.0-litre derivatives and 10 000 km for 1.5-litre derivatives.

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