By Clair Morton
Published: Friday, January 12, 2018
With its family friendly interior design and more contemporary exterior styling, the Honda CRV is on the comeback trail.
Twenty years ago when the first Honda CRV hit South Aussie roads, its only real competitor was the Toyota RAV4. Over the years, however, the brand has struggled to keep up with the style of other Japanese competitors like Mazda, or the value of Korean brands. The new fifth-generation Honda CRV could change this.
Honda CR-V VTi-LX specs
Power – 140kW @ 5600 rpm
Torque – 240Nm @ 2000 to 5000 rpm
Price – $44,290
Fuel consumption – 7.3L/100km
ANCAP rating – 5 stars
Warranty – 5 years/unlimited kilometres
Value for money
Overall the new CRV is pretty good value.
The CRV range has four levels of included extras, starting with the Honda CR-V VTi 2WD at $30,690. Standard across the range is dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, 7.0-inch display and audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pumped through the eight-speaker audio system. It has an electric parking brake, daytime running lights, front fog lights, 17-inch alloy wheels and a full size alloy spare wheel. Safety features include a driver attention monitor, tyre pressure monitoring system and trailer stability assist.
The next step up is the VTi-S, which adds an electric tailgate with safety finger crush sensors, built-in satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors and Honda’s lane watch system.
VTi-L is the seven-seater version with a split-fold third row, panoramic sunroof, leather seat trim, heated front seats, a powered front driver’s seat with eight-way adjustment including lumbar and memory and automatic rain-sensing wipers.
The top-of-the-range VTi-LX, which is the version we tested, doesn’t have seven seats but does feature a suite of driver-assist technologies, such as real-time all-wheel drive system, LED headlights with active cornering lights and LED front fog lights, digital radio (DAB+), privacy glass and auto-dimming rear view mirror.
All of this is supported by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre Honda warranty across the range.
Design and function
Honda has kept family life central to their thoughts during the design process of the new CRV range, and it seems they got most things right. Tall, wide doors that open to almost 90 degrees are ideal to get the kids into the third row seats, or for a parent to comfortably reach in to buckle up kids or attach baby capsules.
Access to the third row is convenient, but the space is still really only comfortable for kids. The basic needs of a modern family are also catered for with two cup holders for every row, two USB charging sockets on the second row and a useful, multi-function centre console storage bin.
The all-new CR-V has a longer wheel base, which increases the rear legroom in the second row, and allows for more space in the flat floor cargo area. Even the surfaces under the car have been thought about, with a flat underbelly improving aerodynamics to help save on fuel economy.
The top-of-the-range VTi-LX comes with Honda’s ‘sensing suite’ of advanced safety technologies, including forward collision warning and a road departure mitigation system. New driver-assist features include adaptive cruise control with a low-speed following capability, which helps the driver cope with dense traffic, and a lane departure warning system.
It’s a pity the advanced safety features are only on the top-spec model but Honda says they will be included across the range in the next couple of years. On the plus side, Honda has engineered thin A-style pillars which do provide better forward visibility for the driver. The blind spot monitoring is activated every time you put the indicator on, displaying on the centre display what the side camera sees to make sure you aren’t turning in front of a cyclist approaching from behind.
On the road
Across the range there is only one type of engine; a 1.5 litre, 140kW VTEC Turbo bolted onto a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The new engine is the most powerful in the segment, and is the same one used in the Honda Civic turbo. It has all the power you need for a family vehicle of this type. It copes well with hills, with no CTV shenanigans or turbo lag.
The CRV is quiet on the road, thanks in part to the active noise control system which cancels out road noise. The minimal noise emitted by the CVT is about as good as it gets. There are 2 or 4WD versions available and although the 208mm ground clearance is higher than the old model, the CRV is still not an off-road vehicle. The ‘on demand’ 4WD system is really only suitable for mud, ice and shallow sand. The transmission starts in 4WD and reverts to 2WD when it senses 4WD isn’t needed.
The smart keyless entry with push button start is convenient, as is the automatic walk-away locking system, which locks the car when the keys are more than two metres away from the car for over two seconds.
The new CRV is one of the better family SUVs I have seen for a while in the way it caters for the modern family, and at an affordable $30K+ entry point it will be a popular seller.