Honda CR-V

New gen goes big on space and prac­ti­cal­ity

Auto Today - - Dashboard - PIC­TURES Nis­hant Jhamb

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

AP­PEAR­ANCE

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.

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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

Dhruv Saxena

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