Auto & Audio July 09, 2017 01:00

By Kingsley Wijayasinha

5,981 Viewed

The Honda CR-V diesel comes with a strong package that makes it a darling in the Thai SUV market

Japanese automaker Honda has finally decided to offer a diesel engine in its product range in Thailand.

And it’s the 5th-generation CR-V sport utility vehicle, which will be the first to get it.

The diesel version is being positioned right at the top of the CR-V lineup. While the 2.4-litre gasoline models are priced at Bt1.399-1.549 million, the two diesel models retail at Bt1.549 million and Bt1.699 million.

The CR-V was first introduced in Thailand more than 20 years ago, and many don’t remember what the name stands for. Well, here you go – “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”.

The 90s was a period of evolution, and among the things that caught the world’s attention were hiking shoes and SUVs. So Honda put them together – many wouldn’t believe that the original CR-V’s design was based on a pair of boots.

However with the new CR-V, you might not see the resemblance, and that’s because it has gone through much evolution through the years. The latest CR-V comes with an aggressive look, with an elongated front end and short overhang. 

The top diesel model gets fancy 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/60 tyres, along with all the extras ranging from adaptive LED headlights to powered tailgate.

While the HR-V crossover serves customers who don’t need much space, the CR-V offers the opposite. The 2,660mm wheelbase and wide track allows the cabin to be stretched, resulting in lots of interior space, enough to fit a third-row seat.

The CR-V is a major model for Honda and it has made sure that high-quality materials are being used. Plastics and wood trim (just like a Volvo) are nice, while the dashboard has taken a spacecraft theme, with digital speedometer and graphic tachometer sweeping across the top.

The multi-function steering wheel features controls for the telephone, voice control, information menu, cruise control system as well as audio, featuring “slide or press” volume control that works okay but feels a little flimsy. The big wow for customers would be the electronic button-type gear selector (there are paddle shifters on the steering too) that continues the futuristic concept of the CR-V.

The climate control system features additional controls and air vents for the second- and third-row passengers too. The usual Honda 7-inch touchscreen with outer space screensaver is there and does the usual things including Apple CarPlay and Siri. There isn’t an AUX input but there are 4 USB ports which will definitely keep everyone happy.

The heart of the CR-V is the i-DTEC turbo diesel engine featuring Honda’s “Earth Dreams” technology. Honda is well-known for many great engines, and its first diesel in the Thai market is more than satisfactory.

With a displacement of just 1.6 litres and twin turbochargers working in unison, it is capable of pumping out as much as 160 horsepower and 350Nm, figures you’d normally expect from a 2.0-litre engine. Power delivery is good through the 9-speed automatic gearbox, and the CRV picks up speed nicely despite its 1.7-tonne body weight.

The engine is smooth and there’s not much noise in general, although at low revs you can hear occasional snarls that pop up surprisingly.

Honda claims an average fuel economy of 5.6 litres/100km (17.8km/litre) which may be a little to achieve in real life, but the CR-V is surely not a gas-guzzler. I had it for a few days and got about 8.3 litres/100km (12km/litre).

While rivals like the Mazda CX-5 is strong in performance and handling, the CR-V sticks to its “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” theme. The steering might not be as sharp as the Mazda’s and the suspension may not be as dynamic, but in return you get a highly comfortable ride, with every crack and bump on the road soaked up effectively.

There are all sorts of driver assistance systems, such as Honda LaneWatch and Vehicle Stability Assist, Auto Brake Hold, Hill Start Assist and Driver Attention Monitor that detects fatigue and signals the driver by a beep and vibrating the steering wheel.There’s a price to pay, but the Honda CR-V diesel comes with a strong package that makes it a darling in the Thai SUV market and continues its leadership.

Honda CR-V 1.6 DT-EL 4WD specs

Engine: DOHC 16-valve i-DTEC common-rail diesel with turbocharger

Displacement: 1,597cc

Bore and stroke: 76.0x88.0mm

Compression ratio: 16.0:1

Max power: 160ps/4,000rpm

Max torque: 350Nm/2,000rpm

Transmission: 9-speed automatic

Ratios: 4.713/2.842/1.909/1.382/1.000/0.808/0.699/0.580/0.480

Fuel economy (litres/100km)

City: 5.3

Highway: 6.3

Combined: 5.6

CO2: 149g/km

Final drive ratio: 3.734

Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, stabilizer/multi-link/stabilizer

Steering: powered rack-and-pinion

Turning circle: 11.0 metres

Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc

Dimensions (mm)

Length: 4,571

Width: 1,855

Height: 1,657

Wheelbase: 2,660

Track (f/r): 1,603/1,613

Weight: 1,742kgs

Wheels: 18-in alloy

Tires: 235/60 R18

Fuel tank capacity: 57 litres

Price: Bt1.699 million

Distributor: Honda Automobile Thailand Co Ltd