Honda’s CR-V wants to prove itself as civilised on tarmac as in the mud
WITH the new CR-V, Honda is trying to find the automotive elixir of a chunky 4x4 that drives like a car to placate the green lobby but still appeals to mums on the school run. Technical practicality comes in the shape of Honda’s intelligent four-wheel-drive system. The CR-V uses what it calls “real time” fourwheel-drive.
In contrast to rivals which have permanent 4WD, and thus are less fuel-efficient, the CRV’s system directs the power to the front wheels in normal driving conditions and only diverts it rearwards when it senses the front tyres are struggling for grip.
One of the primary results is that it’s a delight to drive on the road. It also means it’s far friendlier to the environmentalists than they would otherwise expect. The 2.0 i-VTEC petrol version produces 200g/km of CO2 while the diesel does even better at 173g/km.
The latest CR-V has a lower centre of gravity, wider stance and a number of changes to steering and suspension geometry which have all helped to enhance handling.
Improvements made to the driving dynamics are reflected in the styling of the vehicle, especially the coupe-like tapering side window profile
The front has been given a distinctive double grille as the focal point, flanked by projectorstyle headlights and a large bumper. It all makes for a muscular front end, emphasised by the car’s wide track and 17 or 18-inch wheels.
At the rear, a vertically opening tailgate is the main design feature and the spare wheel has gone from the door and is now under the load compartment floor.
Two active safety systems are available, and they’re unique to the SUV segment. The first, adaptive cruise control (ACC) is a radarcontrolled cruise control function which maintains a set distance from the vehicle in front, while collision mitigation braking system (CMBS) predicts collisions and warns the driver, before applying strong braking and retracting the front seatbelts if the situation becomes critical. Both systems are optional depending on specification grade.
Inside the cabin, accommodation remains generous with similar dimensions to the previous model. Load space is extended backwards and access is improved by larger doors that open wider, and lower sills.
The interior is high quality, featuring metallic elements on the dashboard. Front seats are larger and more comfortable and the steering column is adjustable for reach as well as rake. Relocation of the gear lever to the base of the centre stack creates more floor space.
Passive safety measures include dual stage SRS front airbags, side airbags for front seat passengers, full-length curtain airbags, front and rear seatbelt reminders and active front headrests. All are standard.
Power comes from a new 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2 diesel engine. Honda’ s celebrated 140PS 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel continues and remains the pick of the bunch.
Its attraction has grown further as aerodynamic efficiency has improved by 12% resulting in even better fuel economy.
Prices for the new CR-V – which has three spec levels, SE, ES and EX – start at £17,872 for the entry-level 2.0S petrol and rise to £26,772 for the 2.0EX. The cheapest diesel is the 2.2 i-CDTI at £19,102 with the most expensive oilburner, the 2.2EX coming in at £26,802.