Tidy, sensible, quiet and relatively good value. Nothing exciting, but nothing wrong with the new Honda CR-V either.
New Honda CR-V Review by John BealeNow in its third generation, the new Honda CR-V joined the soft-roader SUV market end of last year to compete head on against the Kia Sportage, Nissan Xtrail and now new Toyota Rav4. Generally if you were shopping in this market you’d be looking for something practical, with a enough space family and their bags, and hope it doesn’t guzzle between the pumps.
A lot more daring in the looks department than the previous generation, moving away from rounded edges to sharper angles and is lowered to give more of a car like profile without compromising on space. Where I think the view from the front is a lot more exciting, the three-quarter, or view from the rear is like something out of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. The bottom of the range 2-litre Comfort still comes with daytime running lights and 17 inch alloy wheels, that look a bit small in the arches.
New Honda CR-V engine
The 2-litre 4-cylinder i-VTEC petrol is the entry level unit, and my initial concerns on these naturally aspirated 2-litre units in what can be a heavy SUV body, means struggling along at the reef. A total of 114kW and 192NM of torque means the unit isn’t terribly underpowered in town, but at reef altitudes, even with the 6-speed manual gearbox, it struggles to keep speeds up and downhill on the highways. You really have to push the engine into revs where it starts to feel rather uncomfortable for it to get moving.
Fuel consumption kept steady at around 10l/100km throughout, and was a mix of highway and city driving. Follow the ECON suggestions and you’ll be puttering along changing gear all to frequently to keep speed up. I would definitely opt for the 2.4 if you are set on petrol.
That said, the prominent ‘ECON’ theme, that includes dynamic lighting (that changes from green to white to show if you’re driving efficiently or not) and gear change indicator that tries to keep consumption down, is a nice touch. Gear changes through the 6 speed manual shifter that sits perfectly high up on the dash were smooth, but the clutch takes very late and slight over-revving from the engine after changes, was fairly irritating, mainly because I’m not over 55-years of age.
The interior surprised with quality soft touch materials, specification and a much ‘bigger car’ feel. It is leaps and bounds ahead of the Koreans and Nissan. You feel a lot more cocooned in the Honda than any of the competition. There is enough head and legroom for 1.8m adults in the rear seats even with full sized adults in the front. Rear cargo space is not as big as the Nissan Xtrail, especially in height, but the simple release lever for folding the 60/40 split rear seats down made it all to easy to move larger items around, and this should count in good stead for what practicality the new Honda CR-V has to offer.
Standard items that stood out were dual zone climate control, cruise control MP3/Aux/Bluetooth. Inside the new Honda CR-V is a lovely place to be, with large expanse of dash, but some of the buttons are SO large that it’s hard not to think they designed them with an older market in mind. This contradicts the overly complicated steering wheel controls, which my mother would definitely not be able to master.
The new Honda CR-V ride and safety
The new Honda CR-V Comfort rides on rubber with fat sidewalls, which bring with it a more comfortable ride, but less focused handling. The CR-V floats over the bumps in the road and steering communicates well, lightening up nicely when parking. There’s very little to complain about in the ride and handling. Even the bottom of the range Comfort comes standard with ABS, EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), EBA (Electronic Brake Assist), Vehicle Stability Control and Hill Start assist. Dual Zone (Dual stage), driver and passenger, front curtain and side airbags are standard. There is however no park distance control which would be a nice addition when reverse parking.