Honda has expanded its popular CR-V range with the launch of a more affordable 2.0-litre petrol version. I lived with the Honda CR-V 2.0 for seven days to see if it’s any good.
Honda CR-V backgroundHonda is one of those manufacturers that is currently under siege from the Koreans. It is waging a battle on a number of fronts against the combined might of Hyundai and Kia, and the two Koreans are giving the established Japanese car-maker considerable headaches. Thankfully, it still is able to produce some damn decent vehicles that are not only great to drive but well put-together.
Honda CR-V rangeTake the CR-V for instance. It’s been popular across as SA as a great way of joining the offroad crowd while still retaining that passenger car driving feeling. There were two engines to choose from: a strong 2.4-litre petrol and a 2.2-diesel. Now Honda has decided to shove a smaller 2.0-litre motor in there and remove a few things off the specification list.
Usually when car companies do this, the result is a half-empty car that does nothing for the brand and the customer is left disappointed. With this new 2.0-litre CR-V, there’s none of that. Yes, the full leather heated seats have been replaced with partial fabric/Alcantara leather units but these are still very comfortable. It is still very spacious inside the CR-V and thanks to the rear seats being able to fold down, there is a surprisingly large amount of cargo space that becomes available.
Honda CR-V featuresDespite this being the cheap CR-V version, it still has plenty of gadgets, gizmos and safety equipment. It has six airbags, ABS, stability control, tyre deflation warning and even trailer stability if you do a lot of towing. It also has remote keyless entry, dual-zone air conditioner. cruise control, multi-function steering wheel, park distance control and eight cup-holders (I counted). If there’s something that Honda really gets top marks for, it’s the interior build quality.
Honda CR-V EngineThen there’s that engine. This 2.0-litre four cylinder has 110kW and 192Nm. In typical Honda fashion, it does require a bit of revving to get the most out of it. Although there’s nothing actually wrong with the motor, performance isn’t quick but then you remember that the CR-V weighs around 1.5 tons and that’s a lot of car to move around. It’s adequate and doesn’t require a lot of effort to match the national highway limit. The best part of the smaller engine is the reduced fuel consumption. During the time I had the CR-V I managed to beat the combined fuel consumption figure by posting a 7.9L/100km. Also worth mentioning is the exceptional six-speed gearbox which is super-smooth and precise. Honda always seems to get the gearshift right in its products – other manufacturers should take note…
Even though it’s regarded as a cheaper CR-V, it still retains the Real-Time four-wheel drive system which basically keeps the vehicle in front-wheel drive mode on tar and brings the rear wheels into use when the conditions become slippery. Unlike some offroaders which require buttons to be pushed, the Honda does the switch seamlessly and automatically. Now, Honda says it can go offroad but I was too scared to take it onto my tough beach course. Instead, I put the vehicle through its paces on a wine-farm’s service roads which are a combination of thick sand, clay and stones. It was probably more offroading than most CR-Vs will ever see in their lifespans yet it worked as advertised. Briefly the car hesitated when going through a patch of sodden clay, power went to the rear wheels and helped push the vehicle through.
Honda CR-V conclusionDespite this being a more-affordable CR-V at R309 900 (R323 900 for the auto), none of the goodness from the more expensive/powerful models has been lost. Sure, if you want more power and luxuries like heated seats and iPod connection then go for the 2.4 but you need not that think that cheaper means compromising. It’s still a great vehicle and now you know why there are plenty on the roads with soccer moms behind the wheel.
Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort price in South AfricaManual R309 900 Automatic R323 900
We like: · Solid and well-built · Practical and comfortable · Easy to drive · Reasonably light on fuel
We don’t like: · Underpowered when fully loaded · Korean rivals are cheaper · Poor ground clearance Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort specifications
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, petrol Power: 110 kW @ 6 200 rpm Torque: 192 N.m @ 4 200 rpm Transmission: six-speed manual Wheels: 17-inch 0-100 km/h: 10.2 seconds (claimed) Fuel economy: 8.2l/100km (claimed combined cycle)