New gen goes big on space and practicality
It was back in 2003 when Honda first launched the CR-V in India and since then, the SUV has been a constant feature in the company’s lineup. However, despite the first couple of generations pulling in relatively decent sales, the outgoing CR-V failed to make an impression. That was largely because of the availability of larger (read seven seat) SUVs with more frugal diesel engines. Honda seems to have learnt its lesson as the incoming fifth generation CR-V (globally) features a diesel motor and an additional row of seats. These may be the main talking points and enough has already been written about them, but there is much more to the new CR-V as we found out during our drive in Jaipur.
The Honda CR-V has grown in size, a fact that is instantly evident. The 47mm, 35mm and 4mm increment in length, width and height, respectively, translate to greater road presence. Subtle changes like a flatter and longer bonnet and more pronounced wheel arches coupled with an increased ride height help give the CR-V a more butch appearance and shed some of the soft-roader looks.
The dashboard layout is very conventional in the way that everything is exactly where you would expect it to be. However, Honda has managed to blend convention with modernity by incorporating bits like all-digital instrumentation and a rather off-beat button setup in place of the gear lever. The latter, though, is restricted to the diesel variant and while it may take some time getting used to, it does lend a bit of uniqueness to the car and we wish Honda had used a similar setup in the petrol variant as well. An increased wheelbase has resulted in more legroom for the second row occupants. While the 5-seat petrol variant gets a fixed second row owing to the lack of additional seats in the back, the diesel CR-V’s second row has to and fro adjustment of up to 150mm. Naturally, most want to know about the third row of seats and the news here is bittersweet. Sweet because you now have the option of seating seven. Bitter because, quite simply, it is cramped and best suited for children or short journeys. A nice touch is a dedicated set of vents, but they do little to elevate the discomfort caused by the very limited space available.
There is a 7 i nch t ouchscreen supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, cruise control and more. There are a couple of features that are uncommon, especially in this particular segment. First is the Driver Attention Assist. It assesses the driver’s alertness level and warns him or her by means of a four level graph display in the instrument panel. In case the system determines the driver is dozing off, it will send out vibrations via the steering wheel in a bid to wake him or her. The other highlight is LaneWatch. A camera mounted on the left ORVM feeds the central display showing vehicles behind the car that may otherwise get hidden in blind spots.
We had already reviewed the diesel variant last month and concluded that while120bhp may be less for a vehicle this size, the 9-speed AT does save the day to an extent with its
LONGER BONNET, MORE PRONOUNCED WHEEL ARCHES COUPLED WITH AN INCREASED
RIDE HEIGHT GIVE THE CR-V A MORE BUTCH
THE CR-V IS VERY CAR LIKE TO DRIVE. IT HAS A WELL WEIGHTED STEERING AND FANTASTIC RIDE QUALITY, ESPECIALLY AT HIGHER SPEEDS
clever gearing. This time around, we had a go in the petrol variant as well. It carries forward the same 2.0-litre unit as the outgoing model with 154bhp and 189Nm. There is a CVT sending power to the front wheels (no AWD for the petrol CR-V). Like most CVTs, it is only when driven with a measured throttle input that the car feels comfortable. Aggression brings out their rubber band effect, which makes the engine drone. ‘Sport’ mode does a rather commendable job of masking it, but that has a negative impact on overall fuel efficiency. That said, it is quite easily one of the better CVTs we have come across and, much like the diesel, works well within the confines of the city. The CR-V has always leaned more toward being an urban crossover than a hardcore off-roader and the new one is much the same. And not just in terms of the way it lo oks, but the way it drives as well. The CR-V is very car-like to drive. It has a well weighted steering and fantastic ride quality, especially at higher speeds. The unconventional button setup for gear selection (left) and the third row of seat (right) are unique to the diesel variant of the Honda CR-V. The former takes time getting used to. Space in the last row is very limited and can barely fit two average size adults. However, ingress and egress is relatively easier thanks a wide opening rear door. We do wish that Honda had provided a onetouch tumble feature for the last row, though The addition of a diesel engine option and an extra row of seats has definitely made the Honda CR-V a better package overall. There is a healthy list of features on offer. The cabin is comfortable and the car scores high on refinement. Sure, the CR-V doesn’t have the most powerful engines in the business, especially the diesel, but this may not be a major concern for those driving mostly in the city or those who prefer being driven around by a chauffeur.
The major talking point of the fifth generation Honda CR-V is the inclusion of a diesel engine option. The 1.6-litre unit produces 120bhp and 300Nm and pairs with a 9-speed AT