The Honda CR-V has been around since 1995 and been a serious success story for the Japanese brand. The fourth generation of this popular family soft-roader has arrived in the South African car market and one has to wonder how Honda has improved an already award-winning package.
Honda CR-V 2.4 Review by David TaylorHonda expands the CR-V
The first thing I noticed about the new Honda CR-V is it looks a little bigger than its predecessor, especially at the rear. The front receives a complete makeover and now features a modern-looking bumper complete with LED daytime running lights. While it may not physically be larger, the new Honda CR-V runs on a redesigned chassis which means the cabin space can be better used. The boot for instance, is larger than before and can be expanded by flicking the handles on either side of the boot’s interior. The rear seats fold away automatically and the boot looks big enough to sleep two in comfort.
Speaking of cabin space, the Honda CR-V is as big and as comfortable as they come. I was in the Executive derivative and this version comes supremely well-equipped in terms of tech as well as feeling quite luxurious and well-built. The car comes with active cornering lights, rear parking camera, memory seats which are heated, multi information display, cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone pairing, a rather potent sound system with subwoofer as well as USB/Aux input in the centre armrest. In fact, the only thing missing from the Honda CR-V is satellite navigation. An added plus is the pairing for your phone and USB music input is super easy and takes just a few minutes to set up.
All-wheel drive and a 2.4-litre engine
The Honda CR-V features an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system. In normal conditions the vehicle drives through the front wheels, but as soon as they lose grip, power is sent to the rear wheels to push it along. The car keeps checking the road at all times, which ensures fuel economy is kept down.
Speaking of fuel economy and performance, the CR-V’s 2.4-litre engine pushes out 140kW and 220Nm. Honda claims the CR-V will drink just 8.7L/100km, but in reality a 1.6 ton SUV driving in an urban environment will see the fuel consumption shoot up. Despite my gentle driving tactics, the CR-V sat around the 10L/100km which is what I was expecting.
How does it drive?
The Honda CR-V has its strength with on-road manners. Thanks to a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic gearbox, it just feels so refined especially when driven in a relaxed manner. Put your foot down and the Honda CR-V leaps forward with a surprising surge. Even though there are steering wheel paddles, I’d leave them alone and let the vehicle do its own gear changes.
One thing you’ll also notice about the Honda CR-V is it encourages you to drive responsibly though the use of two light strips surrounding the speedo. Drive gently and they glow green. Put your foot flat and the lights go off. While I’m on the subject of eco, there’s an eco-mode which further boosts fuel consumption.
I took the Honda CR-V onto a particular muddy section of dirt road and despite my best efforts, couldn’t get it stuck. Thanks to the clever all-wheel drive, it refused to get lodged in the brown stuff and felt quite stable when pushing hard on some loose gravel. It may be able to do mild offroading, but beware, there’s no low-range and no lockable diff if you intend to really rough it. Still, for something which ticks all boxes to be classed a ‘mommy car’, the Honda CR-V is better than most.
Honda CR-V - ConclusionThe fourth generation of the CR-V continues the tradition of Honda’s popular soft-roader. It’s superb on the tar and boasts extreme levels of comfort while cruising. Few cars are this comfortable while driving on the national road and the all-wheel drive provides reassurance when you’re on slippery terrain. That said, the Honda CR-V isn’t going to be able to take you across sand dunes, but it’s a brilliant all-rounder never the less. It scores highly in my opinion due to the upmarket feel, levels of practicality and the fact that it feels like you’re in your favourite lounge chair when driving.
Honda CR-V - PriceHonda CR-V 2.4 Executive - R444 900
- Why you should: One of the most comfortable vehicles ever, loads of spec, all-wheel drive assurance, practicality galore.
- Why you shouldn’t: R450k is a lot of money for a Honda, rivals cost significantly less, petrol engine isn’t the most thrifty (there’s an excellent 2.2-litre diesel)
- It would be better if: I can’t help feeling a six-speed auto would help consumption, the driving position suited really tall people.
- View the Honda CR-V: New / Used
- Competitors worth checking out: Hyundai IX35, Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan.