Hard to see how this CR-V could be bettered as an urban SUV
SUVS are the best excuse to have more kids. If you’re keen, vehicles such as the CR-V will immediately entitle you to three children.
For those easing off on increasing the family count, contemplate that the Honda CR-V is remarkably space-efficient and will easily stack two or three adult bicycles (without removing any wheels), large items of furniture or three children and their prams. It honours the adage that your possessions grow or diminish in direct proportion to the available storage space.
This is one of the class’s most accommodating haulers (as is Mitsubishi’s Outlander) but its flexibility in carting people and more solid loads isn’t its only virtue. The CR-V is easy to drive, relatively cheap to own and if you pick the right model, good value for money.
You don’t need the 4WD version that’s tested here. Chances of this making it through the dirt are slim and though there’s benefit for snow country, the extra $5300 over the 2WD probably isn’t worth it even though the latter has a smaller engine.
In fact, at $31,790, the VTi
Nav 2WD automatic model is the pick. The 4WDtested in VTi-L trim costs $42,290. That’s a lot.
If you don’t need leather upholstery and extra baubles, think about the 2WD. In terms of space, few family vehicles come close at that price.
But the VTi-L 4WDis very well-equipped with kit including satnav, sunroof, leather upholstery, reverse camera, 18-inch alloy wheels and front and rear airconditioning.
The need for twice yearly servicing with no capped price is off the industry pace. So too is the three-year warranty.
It’s an evolution of previous CR-Vs and though it’s substantially bigger than earlier models, is actually 20mm shorter than the outgoing effort. However, by moving the windscreen forward and lowering the boot floor, Honda endows the cabin with Tardissize space. On top of sheer volume, there’s accessibility.
The rear seats tumble and fold almost flat, with special slots for the head restraints, with one pull of a nylon loop. It’s so easy. The lift-up hatch is high and wide, the load area low. There’s even a full-size spare under the floor. Expansive glass not only means it’s bright and airy but the low waistline gives children a broad outlook. There’s room for three adults in the rear with plenty of head room and, thanks to the flat floor, legroom.
Dash design is simple yet easy to operate. Much as I dislike foot-operated park brakes, I concede it removes much of the clutter in the centre console.
The 2.4-litre petrol engine, a Honda staple, now delivers 140kW at 7000rpm and 222Nm at 4400 rpm. These figures are mentioned because no owner is ever going to subject the engine to a screaming 7000rpm on the way to the shops.
So if you’re comparing SUVs on a power output basis, it’s meaningless. Fuel use is a claimed 8.7L/100km (on test 9.7L), which is about right for this driveline.
The latest CR-V’s body is tauter and stronger and the ride is smoother and quieter. There’s a ‘‘ econ’’ button on the dash that changes engine mapping to maximise available torque and minimise fuel use. There’s also a ‘‘ eco assist’’ light on the dash that changes colour depending on your driving style.
The CR-V gets a five-star crash rating, has six airbags— including full-length curtains — and all the electronic aids. New for this model are uprated pedestrian safety, flashing emergency brake light, electricassist steering with inputs to keep the vehicle stable, reverse camera, full-size spare wheel and on-demand all-wheel drive. The VTi-L also has front and rear park sensors.
As driving machines, SUVs can be as lovable as hepatitis. The CR-V isn’t quite that bad but the peak of its driving thrills comes on reaching your destination.
The engine is a modest performer and the steering is overly light, the handling is predictable and the ride is supple. It may not sparkle but it’s a competent tourer with space for occupants. It’s a car in which you never feel crowded and that’s a big bonus for children.
Having all-wheel drive (albeit part-time) is probably superfluous and is a contributor to trimming back fuel economy to near medium car-class thirst levels. But you own it with the thought that practically any object— either capable of movement or not— is likely to fit in its enormous cargo hold. And that precious factor adds more weight to its argument than winning a traffic light grand prix.
Love the flexibility and ease of driving. Performance is modest, fuel economy isn’t great but the package hits its target. The top-notch model is probably too expensive for most buyers — the front-drive version is better value.
Tardis-like: Occupants never feel crowded in the CR-V and accessibility is another strong point