THE creators of the Honda CR-V – first introduced in South Africa 20 years ago – have given it subtle but impressive upgrades.
Let’s take you through the changes:
Showcasing subtle design changes that lend it a more modern look, the upgraded CR-V is a real head-turner. Styling cues remain unmistakably Honda though and lend the popular SUV an air of boldness, sensibility and quality.
The most noticeable exterior styling change is to the front and rear bumpers, which have been redesigned to enhance an already bold and aggressive look.
The front-end of the CR-V is still dominated by a broad-barred grille which is framed by curved, slimline headlights with integrated daytime running lights. Dual air intakes with a dark meshed finish split the colour-coded bumper. A metallic scuff plate underlines the CR-V’s undeniable SUV identity.
Viewed from the side, the CR-V’s aerodynamic silhouette is accentuated by a smooth roofline with integrated roof rails, a curved waistline and a raked rear screen.
At the rear, the inverted LED taillight clusters are linked by a chromed garnish strip and positioned high up on a tail gate that extends all the way down to bumper level. Adding a sporty touch to the 1.5T models are twin exhaust tailpipes, housed within the rear scuff plate.
Contrasting protective cladding on the lower sections of the body panels, together with pronounced wheel arch extensions, enhance the CR-V’s rugged looks, as do new, larger 19-inch alloy wheels on the top-of-the-range 1.5T Exclusive model.
As can be expected from Honda, the cabin of the CR-V is an altogether pleasant place to be. High-quality materials and finishes, soft-touch surfaces, matt alloy accents and attractive stitching create an upmarket ambience, which is complemented by a user-friendly layout and ample space for all occupants.
As with the previous model, one of the key interior highlights is the full-colour TFT driver information interface, which is located in a dedicated binnacle directly ahead of the driver. The display is dominated by a graph-type rev counter, accompanied by a digital speedometer.
Depending on the model, a centrally located 5-inch or 7-inch display provides user-friendly access to the CR-V’s infotainment system. The centre stack also houses the controls for the dual-zone climate control system.
The CR-V has always been renowned for generous accommodation and the upgraded version is no different, offering class-leading rear legroom. The rear bench seat has a fold-down armrest and is split 60:40. Folding down the rear seat backrest creates a large, flat-floored cargo space.
With the seats in place the CR-V offers 522 litres of luggage space, extendable to 1 084 litres with the seatbacks folded down.
There are two drivetrain options for the upgraded CR-V.
The first is Honda’s familiar 2,0-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine. This normally aspirated unit features variable valve timing and programmed fuel injection, and boasts a maximum power output of 113 kW at 6 500 r/min. Peak torque of 189 Nm is available at 4 300 r/min.
The 1 997 cc engine is linked to Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift control logic, which provides all the convenience of an automatic gearbox, but optimises the drive ratio for the prevailing driving circumstances. The gearbox also offers pre-set steps for manual selection. Drive is to the front wheels.
The second engine option is a 1 498 cc turbo powerplant equipped with programmed, direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. It delivers 140 kW of maximum power at 5 600 r/min, together with 240 Nm of maximum torque between
2 000 and 5 000 r/min. It too is mated to a CVT gearbox.
PLATFORM AND SUSPENSION
The upgraded CR-V still features Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which ensures the highest level of collision safety by dissipating impact energy and retaining the integrity of the passenger safety cell.
Like the previous model, the new CR-V combines a MacPherson strut-based front suspension with a multilink rear configuration. Key features include liquid-filled bushings and special, low-friction dampers, while tubular stabiliser bars in front and solid stabiliser bars at the rear ensure good turn-in response and composed cornering.
The dual-pinion, variable-ratio electric power steering has been specifically calibrated to enhance steering precision and feedback.
MODEL LINE-UP AND FEATURES
As was the case with the previous range, the upgraded Honda CR-V line-up consists of four models, with a choice of two engines and four specification levels. All derivatives feature Honda’s latest-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort CVT
The 2.0 Comfort may be the base model of the range, but it is by no means spartan, offering an extensive list of standard comfort, convenience and safety features.
Combining a proven 2,0-litre petrol engine with a CVT gearbox, the 2.0 Comfort offers swift performance and high levels of efficiency. Top speed is 192 km/h, while fuel consumption in a combined cycle is 7,3 litres/100 km.
Distinguishing exterior features include aluminium-look front and rear scuff plates, and brushed aluminium roof rails, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/65 R17 tyres.
Inside, the spacious cabin features smart cloth upholstery and metallic accents, a soft-touch instrument panel featuring an innovative digital driver information interface, and an extensive list of comfort, safety and convenience features.
The dashboard is also home to a 5-inch full-colour display that acts as an intuitive interface for the CR-V’s infotainment system. It allows set-up and control of the four-speaker audio system, as well as use of Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and music streaming.
A USB port and AUX input are provided for external sources, and there are two 12V accessory power sockets: one in the instrument panel and the other in the centre console box.
Convenience features include dual-zone climate control with rear-mounted air vents, rear park distance sensors, and electrically operated front and rear windows. The exterior mirrors are also electrically adjustable, and an electric parking brake is standard.
A multi-function steering wheel ensures safe access to and control of the audio system, cruise control and hands-free telephony. The headlights are automatically activated in poor ambient light, while the hazard lights will automatically start flashing under heavy braking.
Standard active and passive safety features include dual front and side SRS airbags, curtain airbags, three-point inertia reel seatbelts all round and Isofix child seat anchor points at the rear. Automatic brake hold is also part of the package, as is
ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), Agile Handling Assist (AHA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HAS) systems.
Remote central locking with speed-sensitive auto door locking and selective unlocking, and immobiliser with integrated alarm, are among the CR-V 2.0 Comfort’s security features.
Ample storage is provided in the glove compartment, a centre console box, seat back pockets for both front seats, and an overhead storage case for sunglasses. The front and rear door panels also incorporate storage binnacles with integrated bottle holders.
Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance CVT
The CR-V 2.0 Elegance is technically identical to the more affordable Comfort model in terms of drivetrain and exterior execution. However, the Elegance offers an enhanced package of interior features.
Standard leather upholstery adds a level of luxury to the cabin, while a larger, 7-inch Display Audio interface offers easier access to the vehicle’s infotainment features. The latter offers enhanced functionality, including Apple CarPlay.
The audio system of the Elegance model features eight loudspeakers. An additional USB connection is provided in front, while rear passengers get a second pair of USB sockets. There’s also a HDMI connection.
The front seats offer eight-way electric adjustment with a memory function for the driver’s seat, and four-way power adjustment for the passenger seat. Front seat heating is standard.
Park distance control is offered both front and rear, while the electric rear-view mirrors gain a heating function. The left exterior mirror tilts down when reversing for easier parking. The multifunction steering wheel is leather-trimmed, and now features gear shift paddles for manual CVT operation. The Elegance model also gains auto-sensing windscreen wipers.
Honda CR-V 1.5T Executive CVT
The 1.5T Executive is powered by Honda’s force-induced, 1,5-litre petrol engine, delivering 140 kW of maximum power and a torque peak of 240 Nm. Again, a seamless CVT gearbox is standard.
The exterior design of the 1.5T Executive shares all the key features of the 2,0-litre models, but gains 18-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/60 R18 tyres. The headlights are full LED designs, complete with matching inverted LED daytime running lights.
The interior has the same leather upholstery, Digital Driver Information Interface and 7-inch Display Audio infotainment system as the 2.0 Elegance. However, it gains
auto-levelling for the headlights, and a start/stop button, while the remote central locking system includes keyless smart entry.
Honda CR-V 1.5T Exclusive CVT
The flagship of the new Honda CR-V range is the 1.5T Exclusive. Mechanically, it is identical to the Executive model, combining the same 1,5-litre turbo engine with a CVT gearbox. However, setting it apart from its lesser siblings are new 19-inch alloy wheels and three-element LED front fog lamps.
Inside, the luxurious ambience created by the leather upholstery and metallic accents remains, as does the sense of space, and the user-friendly ergonomics, thanks to the TFT-based Digital Driver Information Interface.
A key benefit offered by the Exclusive model is the integrated satellite navigation system, incorporated into the Display Audio system and offering full-colour mapping and turn-by-turn instructions. This further enhances the comprehensive infotainment suite offered by the latest CR-V.
Another stand-out feature is the electrically operated tailgate, with programmable opening height. Tyre pressure monitoring is another useful feature that provides early and immediate warning of a loss of tyre pressure.
In line with its range-topping status, the 1.5T Exclusive is offered with Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) – a comprehensive array of active systems aimed at assisting the CR-V driver to safely deal with hazardous driving conditions.
Collectively known as Honda Sensing, these comprise Collision Mitigation Braking (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed following (LSF) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS).
Additional new driver-assistive technologies include LanewatchTM and Auto High Beam headlights.
The Exclusive model also gains 19-inch alloy wheels, while retaining a panoramic sunroof and AWD to differentiate it from the Executive model.