New Honda CR-V: First Drive.
Certain things come to mind when you think of a Honda. Reliability, precision and your grandparents. The Japanese way of making bullet proof cars is something Honda has done right for many years, but certain models in the brand are still perceived as a fit for a more elderly market, and therefore, less exciting. This is a harsh statement to make, especially considering Honda’s effort to make their newer products more exciting. Perhaps we need to give them a break? Well, judging by the new Civic, we’re convinced that the stigma needs to be laid to rest. Following through with fresher products, we now have a new Honda CR-V that we’ve driven. From a styling perspective it looks modern and has some interesting lines. When it was first launched in the 90’s, the CR-V came at a time when SUV’s weren’t all the rage. As a result, it was ahead of its time, causing people to gain interest in the car. Fast forward to 2017, every brand and its dog is releasing an SUV/crossover of sorts, so competition is tough.
Where does it fit in?
At a starting price of R422 900, it comes in competitively considering its size. It is neither a compact SUV, nor is it very large, making it ideal for young families in need of enough space. A large push has been made by Honda to make the brand more premium. This can be seen in the interior of the new CR-V as the use of hard plastics has been replaced by nicer to touch materials. An infotainment system similar to that in the Civic is used as well, giving you Bluetooth audio as well as USB functionality. Being a family orientated car, rear luggage space is a generous 522 litres and the rear seats can be split 60:40. Overall, the interior feels retro, certain things remind you of the Hondas of old but just modernised.
What’s on offer?
Johannesburgers will be happy to know that the 1.5 Turbocharged engine has been made available in the new CR-V. It’s the same one you’d find in a the current Civic, so you get a pleasant 140 kW/240 N.m. Coastal dwellers,however, will be happy to have the 2.0-litre atmospheric engine which develops 113 kW/189 N.m. The 2.0-litre is offered in Comfort and Elegance specification. Both variants come with a decent amount of standard spec such as safety features like ABS, Hill Assist and driver fatigue assist. The Elegance does come with a larger infotainment screen and leather seats. The same goes for the 1.5 Turbo engine, it is offered in two variants – Exclusive and Executive. The 1.5 Turbo CR-V’s are All Wheel Drive, whereas the 2.0-litre models are Front Wheel Drive. All models use a CVT gearbox which still tends to drag its feet but is made better with paddle shifts which mimic a standard automatic transmission.
How does it drive?
The new Honda CR-V is undoubtedly a comfortable car to sit in. One could easily spend hours behind the wheel and not get cabin fever. The NVH levels are low, the sound system is good and the car makes sense ergonomically. As a city commuter or a weekend getaway car, this car makes sense. Again this has a lot to do with the premium push that Honda has made, which has resulted in a good overall package. Dynamically, the car also feels very planted with very little body roll even in sharp corners. A lot has been done in terms of suspension development to create an agile car for its class.
The new Honda CR-V comes from a heritage of much-loved vehicles in certain parts of the world. In the US for instance, the car sells tremendously well. South Africans do have their favourites which operate in this segment and the new CR-V may battle to persuade some to jump ship. Those, however, who know the brand and what it stands for will welcome this new CR-V with open arms. It is well accomplished and has a lot to offer to its target market.
Honda CR-V Pricing and in South Africa
CR-V 2.0 Comfort R422 900
CR-V 2.0 Elegance R477 900
CR-V 1.5T Executive R584 900
CR-V 1.5T Exclusive R626 900
The range is backed by a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a five-year/90 000 km service plan.
Also included is a three-year AA Road Assist package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals for the 2.0-litre models, and 10 000 km for the 1,5-litre turbo variants.