Honda CRV for Comfort and Practicality

Honda has, since its inception, managed to produce great looking vehicles with very little difficulty. 1984’s Honda Ballade, 2003’s Accord and so forth. Honda’s design team very rarely get it wrong, except for once. 1995 saw Honda release the CRV, undoubtedly the ugliest thing to leave the Japanese design room.

Way too soft for a soft roader and old before its time, a shame really as underneath that ugly as sin skin lay a reasonably competent SUV.

Thankfully, the latest generation is a big step up in the styling department. The curved window remains but has lost the old car’s soft awkwardness. The front end has been extensively upgraded while an uptick in the window sill line of the C-pillar is evident and generally the car has sharper, edgier more contemporary Japanese lines.

A squarer rear end blends LED-fired vertical tail-lamps – a CRV trademark – with grown-up Jazz elements and Volvo-like bumper creases at the rear. Larger, 18-inch two-tone wheels are a better fit within the wheelarches, which now feature black cladding that flows along the door sills and around both ends. With all these improvements, it’s sad to say the CRV has lost some of distinctiveness and now blends into the masses too easily. It may have been achingly ugly, but it had character, something the new generation lacks.

Not as funky as the interior as the Civic, the new CRV aims for a more sophisticated feel. Most of the changes are driven by technological trends, additional equipment and a desire to improve perceived quality. Electronic seat position memory, colour display screen, gearshift paddles and a multifunction steering wheel is all included in the top-of-the-line model.

Leather and a soft-touch facia covering gives the CRV an air of luxury while the new centre console splits passengers for an even snootier feel. The console sweeps down to the carpet and extends towards the rear, fully dividing the front occupants. Also overhauled are the main instruments featuring a very dominant speedometer surrounding a tiny information screen, flanked by a rev counter and proper fuel and temperature gauges – the old car used light bars.

Three motors variants are on offer: a 2.0 producing 114kw, a 2.4 pumping out 140kw (an 18kw improvement over the old model) and a 2.2l diesel offering 110kw and 350nm torque. The easy choice is the diesel lump of course. Smooth acceleration with little turbo lag mated to a supremely smooth five speed auto box make city driving a true pleasure. Long hauls are even better as the diesel offers more than enough torque for easy overtaking. The diesel lump beats the lethargic petrol motors by a long shot, both in refinement and frugality.

CRVs have always enjoyed respectable cornering manners and decent rolling comfort. Larger tyres, a nine percent stiffer body and recalibrated suspension settings have firmed-up the new car’s ride, and they’ve also taken dynamics up a notch. As before, double-wishbone rear suspension and newly-developed electronically-controlled all-wheel drive – aimed at quicker traction transfer to the rear when required – ensure sufficient grip when pushing on through corners, aided by effortless, well-geared electric-assisted steering.

Balanced, composed and quiet, the CRV underlines our understanding that Honda doesn’t often take engineering shortcuts. Relatively speaking, it’s an impressive achievement that keeps the CRV in line for the best-in-class handling award.

There is a great vehicle in here – better-looking than before with more kit and stellar dynamics. But does it fair well in the SUV market? In some areas yes, in others not so much. Despite this, you will buy the CRV for its comfort and practicality, its badge and its (expected) hassle-free reliability, provided you’re willing to absorb the increasingly premium price tag of course. It’s tough to follow up on a winner, but Honda’s done a decent job. In the end though, there can be only one, so buy the diesel CRV instead.

Source : The Namibian