The refined baby
Honda veered off in a new direction a few years ago which saw the demise of Formula One, NSX and other high-revving monsters in favour of smooth, friendly, green products. Yawn. Like many people I miss the old VTEC screamers but have to admit that their new cars are incredibly refined, especially the CR-V.
…a more basic, entry-level model around the N$300,000 mark.
Now in its fourth generation, Honda South Africa’s biggest car has been considerably fettled with to make it markedly better than the model it replaces. Furthermore, Honda addressed affordability by introducing a more basic, entry-level model around the N$300,000 mark.
This new Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort FWD recently reported to us for testing duties and immediately sparked a bit of confusion. Its refinement, performance and creature comforts had us wondering if we had been sent the correct vehicle but after a bit of research it turned out to be the baby CR-V.
Great news for potential owners is that we couldn’t spot the difference from the outside, identifying the only two-wheel-drive model in the line-up would require crawling around on the floor to examine its underside. There’s no giveaway on the inside either as CR-V’s don’t have 4×4 buttons or levers.
Its swish exterior with bold grill and shiny headlights is identical to the other models and the 2.0 Comfort rolls on the same 17-inch alloys as its two next biggest brothers. The free-wheeling rear axle even saves you between 89 and 308kg of weight over the more expensive and complicated CR-V’s.
The biggest differences and obvious savings on this model are leather seats and leather trim, glove box light, vanity mirror lights, parking sensors, child mirror, automatic wipers and automatic headlights. Many of those omissions also apply to its 4×4 2.0 Comfort sibling which costs roughly N$40,000 more.
…great build quality and a quietly composed ride…
It is my and my fellow tester’s opinion that this CR-V doesn’t feel cheap in any way and Honda hasn’t skimped on vital equipment. Airbags, climate control, Bluetooth, adjustable multi-function steering wheel, electric lumbar support, clever rear seats, great build quality and a quietly composed ride, it’s all here.
The next thing that had us doubting our findings was the lively 2-litre engine. Producing 114kW (155hp) or 192Nm, the CR-V never left us wanting and even added a pinch of fun to the light, easy driving experience. Being a thoroughbred Honda it can be a little pap at low revs and just loves to be red-lined.
Its brochure will give you figures like 0-100km/h in 10 seconds, top speed of 190km/h, 172g CO2/km and 7.2L/100km average fuel consumption. Most of those figures seem conservative, not just the performance. Our alleged average fuel consumption was between 8.5 and 9L/100km from the 58L tank.
…soft adventures and light countryside excursions.
That means you won’t get the greatest range around town but a long-distance trip should improve time between refuelling. 170mm of ground clearance, 589 to 1146L cargo capacity, a very compliant ride, light pedals and steering feel will also enhance any soft adventures and light countryside excursions.
We even threw the cheapest CR-V around a twisty road where it exhibited impressive grip levels and a vicious emergency stop with its ABS/EBD/EBA brakes. Other noteworthy helpers are vehicle, trailer and hill start assistants, a tyre deflation warning and a whole horde of airbags.
…rear doors swing open to almost 90 degrees…
Growing families will adore the practical CR-V as it provides ample of room in both rows and the ultimate contortionist rear seats with one-motion fold function in the boot. The two decent-sized rear doors swing open to almost 90 degrees for Granny, DIY trips or a parent with offspring draped over each shoulder.
Other items to impress us were the layered instruments with a finely-marked and very large speedometer. Its floating needle whooshes around a simple but comprehensive trip computer like a phantom, the eco mood lighting is a laugh and the gear change suggestions are irritating and usually wrong.
CR-V’s dashboard houses a central infotainment screen which also displays a bit of trip info, as well as the efforts of the sound system. This can reproduce sounds from radio, CD, mp3, wma, Aux socket, USB devices and/or ipods through four quality speakers and two tweeters.
We also enjoyed the hands-free Bluetooth phone connectivity and even remembered its awkward setup from testing a Civic. When asked if you’d like to connect a new phone, don’t press “yes”, that’ll go nowhere. Press “no” and scroll down all the way to start pairing your cellphone…
So the Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort FWD isn’t perfect but besides its mediocre range it got a lot of praise. Especially the price of N$306,800 which seems very competitive considering the quality, guts and refinement of this car. A 3-year/100,000km warranty and 5-year/90,000km service plan are included.
0-100m: 6.7s / 82.1km/h
0-200m: 10.5s / 103.7km/h
0-300m: 13.6s / 120.2km/h
0-400m: 16.4 / 132.2km/h
1/4mile: 16.5s @ 82.3mph (132.4km/h)
Climate Sunny, mild
Road Dry tarmac, level
Occupants Driver, no passengers
Fuel level 1/3