Living up to expectations

Auto & Audio February 02, 2018 14:55

By Kingsley Wijayasinha
The Nation

Looking more stylish, the fifth-gen honda cr-v packs in high comfort and convenience

While Honda created much fanfare with the introduction of the diesel-powered CR-V, many forget that over the years it is the petrol version that has put the CR-V in its prime position today.

Many also don’t realise that CR-V is the abbreviation for “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” and that the first CR-V’s exterior design was based on trekking shoes that became a big hit in the 90s.

I drove the diesel CR-V last year and although I wasn’t fully impressed with the Japanese diesel technology (compared to upmarket European brands), the package offered was the best available in the market.

In fact the CR-V, now in its fifth generation, is also an important contributor to Honda maintaining the passenger car crown in Thailand for the third year. That is, if you include the CR-V as a passenger car like Honda has done, and not as a commercial vehicle like Toyota Motor Thailand, which also claims to be the passenger car market leader.

In my point of view, it would be funny to classify the CR-V as a commercial vehicle as no one purchases it and uses it for commerce (like a pickup truck). Anyway that’s the conflict of interest between the top two passenger carmakers from Japan that needs to be sorted out sooner or later.

Realising that I still haven’t driven the petrol CR-V, I was in luck as the test drive car from Honda Automobile (Thailand) was still available. Apart from the two diesel variants, there are also two petrol variants priced at Bt1.399 million for the front-wheel-drive 2.4E and Bt1.549 million for the all-wheel-drive 2.4 EL 4WD, which I got.

The fifth-generation CR-V boasts greater styling features than its predecessors, particularly the sharp-lined front grille. It features LED headlights and tail lights, daytime running lights and sporty 18-inch alloy wheels with comfy 235/60 tires.

The interior of the CR-V is always good, and the new model is no exception. Good material selection (I like the piano black trim) gives it a luxurious feel while the large interior space gives you an open atmosphere. Interior comfort is at its best here, with low engine and wind noise too.

The leather-upholstered seats are comfortable and provide plenty of back support (in fact a little too much). There are third-row seats, giving the CR-V a capacity of seven people. Just fold the third-row seat backrests to create a flat cargo floor. Need more space? Fold the second row seat backrests too.

The tailgate is fully automatic. Apart from opening and closing by a button, there is also gesture control. Just move your foot across below the rear bumper and the tailgate performs the “open sesame” ritual. You can also programme the opening height to match the surroundings, especially in low-ceiling garages.

The infotainment system features Apple CarPlay compatibility and 7-inch touchscreen.

Honda offers a wide range of vehicles with E85 compatibility and the CR-V I is one of them. The 2.4-litre i-VTEC engine develops 173 horsepower and 224Nm of torque.

While the diesel engine sound isn’t particularly appealing, the i-VTEC engine gives you back that usual Honda feeling. The 4-cylnder engine revs smoothly without much vibration being felt in the cabin, and gets the 1,670-kilogram CR-V moving swiftly on the highway.

With E85, the fuel consumption may be higher than with E10 and E20 but the price difference helps balance it out.

The sporty steering wheel provides a good feel, although the suspension is tuned for comfort, which is what CR-V customers want. The front strut and rear multi-link suspension provide occupants with good comfort levels, although the CR-V doesn’t seem to take sharp bumps and strong shocks as well as rivals like the Subaru XV. The ground clearance is over 200mm, but it looks like the CR-V feels more at home in the city than in the ranch.

Which again could suit Thailand a lot since no one here would use a CR-V for off-roading. The high clearance is good when the city is flooded (happens a lot), and the comfortable suspension is great when driven on poorly maintained roads.

There is vehicle stability assist, hill start assist and auto brake-hold function that is helpful when driving in traffic jams as you don’t have to shift to N or P and back to D often.

The CR-V comes with the Honda Lane Watch system, which uses a camera on the front passenger sideview mirror and displays the image on the centre console screen whenever you flick the left turn signal. There are markings telling you whether it is safe to change lanes. Just like the driver-side blind spot monitor, it is pretty redundant as you already have the mirrors. But it would be useful for clumsy drivers.

There’s also a multi-angle rearview camera and six airbags.

The Honda CR-V lives up to expectations in offering high comfort and versatility, as well as convenience thanks to a full package of features. Rivals like the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV are getting better, but the CR-V can still be considered the one to beat in the Thai compact SUV segment.

Honda CR-V 1.6 DT-EL 4WD specs


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

Displacement: 2,356cc

Bore and stroke: 87.0x99.1mm

Compression ratio: 10.0:1

Max power: 173ps/6,200rpm

Max torque: 3224Nm/4,000rpm

Transmission: CVT

Ratios: 2.645-0.405

Final drive: 5.363

Fuel economy: (litres/100km)

City: 11.4

Highway: 6.3

Combined: 8.2

CO2: 194g/km

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

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: 1,667

Wheelbase: 2,660

Track (f/r): 1,598/1,613

Ground clearance: 208mm

Weight: 1,670kgs

Wheels: 18-in alloy

Tires: 235/60 R18

Fuel tank capacity: 57 litres

Price: Bt1.549 million

Distributor: Honda Automobile Thailand Co Ltd