Over the last few years, the Honda CRV has moved away from the brute off-road look towards a more sophisticated and crafted vehicle that can tackle the odd off-road challenge. The latest version of the CRV is further proof of this trend.
The first CRV had the spare wheel hung on the rear door that opened sideways, and the floor of the boot doubled as a table. This has all changed, as the only sign of any off-road ability is the ride height. There are no additional items such as table or set/dirt area just above the spare wheel. The new CRV is all about comfort and space.
The new front design has impressed many non-CRV fans, giving the vehicle a very sophisticated look. The grill stretches all the way into the headlights, while the headlights sweep backwards, making the front end look smaller than it actually is. The daytime LED lights add a bit of panache to the vehicle.
The lower section of the vehicle is covered in grey plastic, adding to the off-road look and practicality when travelling on gravel roads, as it prevents stones from chipping the bottom of the car. The chrome inserts around the windows also show that this is more of an upmarket vehicle as opposed to a dedicated offroader.
The one styling element I do not like is the rear end. It almost gives you the impression that the designer was so happy with the front end styling that he forgot to complete the rest of the car. The almost egg-like ending of the rear window does add boot space, but in my opinion rather spoils the elegant look of the car, making its rear look disproportionately heavy.
Inside, the vehicle feels very solid with leather seats and a very neat dashboard that now has a screen fitted to the centre of it. This is the info-tainment display, in line with what many of the new competitors are incorporating. The centre has an add-on section that hangs down, housing the gearshift, which is perfectly placed.
This can cause one’s left leg to rub against the gearshift, but Honda has installed a small cushion at just the right place so that this results in no discomfort.
On the road, the rather quiet 2.2 diesel engine hums away and does not skip a beat. It pulls strongly from low revs, all the way to its red line of 4,500 rpm. The six-speed manual gearbox is precise and easy to use. The sixth gear manages to accelerate the car from approximately 90 km/h without the need to gear down, unless a swift overtake is necessary.
Overall, this car impressed me so much that I can almost overlook the rear end styling. This is a perfect family SUV with over 580 litres of boot space and a flat rear floor, allowing for five people to be seated in comfort, along with ample space for all the luggage and camping/fishing gear. The best part of the vehicle is the fuel consumption. With approximately 700 km travelled on both long and shorter town trips, I averaged 6.9l/100 km. That is a huge benefit in my view, considering the price of fuel. ❐
2.2l 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
10.6 Sec (Claimed)
From R526 100,00
Car courtesy of Honda South Africa.
Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.