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Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
by Karl Peskett

Will a car-like drive win buyers over?

Model Tested:

  • 2010 Honda CR-V Luxury; 2.4-litre, four cylinder, petrol; five-speed automatic; five-door SUV: $42,790*

Options:

  • Metallic Paint $475

CarAdvice Rating:

When the soft-road revolution kicked off in Australia a few years ago, the Honda CR-V was a steady performer which never took the market by storm, but it also never failed to sell. It sold because of its attributes – easy to park, roomy, reliable and well built.

Each successive generation has grown larger, and less square, but also more comfortable. And it continues to sell steadily. With just over a six per cent market share for the compact SUV segment (selling over 700 last month alone), it’s certainly not a car which attracts the masses, so is it lost in the highly competitive marketplace we see surrounding us? A week behind the wheel and we have the answers.

Let’s be honest here – it’s not the prettiest car ever made. But it’s an SUV, and by nature, their proportions are all wrong. You can see what Honda has tried to do. It’s attempted to round off the square edges of the two-box design, typical of softroaders. But if you round off a little too much…well, let’s just say the result is less than complimentary.

Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test

The front double-grille doesn’t help matters, and coupled with the slanted chin, it looks awkward from the front. The side profile is much better, however the nearly arc-like shape of the glasshouse gives the D-pillar a thickness that contributes to reduced visibility. The rear is inoffensive; there’s no edginess pushing the boundaries of design, though. It plays the design card pretty safely, then.

So it’s a good thing that you’ll be spending most of your time behind the wheel, and not looking at it from the outside, because it’s behind the wheel that the CR-V shows what it’s really made of.

We’ve all heard the marketing gurus for car companies deliver us spin in spades – it’s roomier than the QE2, it has an interior to rival the Burj Al Arab, it exudes passion, it sips like a bird, etc. But if the brief to the designers was to make the CR-V feel like it was a normal passenger car, and not an SUV, then they’ve completed their mission.

Of course, there’s no getting around physics – you have something with a lot of weight up top and it will exhibit body roll when going around a corner – but the extent to which it does roll is no worse than a Commodore Omega. The CR-V has miles of grip and you can turn in just like a passenger car.

Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test

The steering is also reasonable with decent weight, although it does lack feedback. Turn in feels nice, however it does need a little correction when exiting a corner as it doesn’t self-centre quite as well as we’d like.

Braking is very good, with no fade at all, even after plenty of hard stabs, although the ABS is a little eager to reveal itself even in dry conditions. The ride is a little on the jiggly side at low speeds, however it’s not unpleasant, and if it means good grip, it’s a fair trade-off.

The main problem with the CR-V’s dynamics is its engine. Not that it’s not smooth, because it is; the 2.4-litre four-cylinder lacks torque, which means moving the CR-V’s bulk is an effort. 218Nm overcoming 1620kg of interia is bad enough, but to get it moving, it relies purely on revs. Maximum torque comes in at a very high 4200rpm, which translates to a loudness that shows how hard the engine is working. 0-100km/h in 11.5 seconds is not quick in anyone’s books, and coupled with fuel consumption of 10.0-litres/100km, there doesn’t seem to be any positives at all.

Look at it this way: Mitsubishi Outlander VRX resides in the same category of compact SUV. It’s also a petrol car. It weighs more (1727kg vs 1620kg), is quicker, makes more power and torque (by virtue of a larger V6 engine), yet only consumes 0.4L/100km more.

Honda CR-V Review & Road Test
Honda CR-V Review & Road Test

Or you could look to the Hyundai ix35, which has a smaller, turbo-diesel engine, which makes more power (135kW) and more torque (392Nm) at lower revs, with a fuel consumption of just 7.5L/100km and a quicker 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds.

While this 2.4-litre drivetrain may work well in the Honda Accord Euro, in the CR-V it’s just not cut out for the job. What it needs is a diesel engine under the bonnet, which would help it to get off the line quickly (by virtue of effortless torque), as well as return excellent fuel consumption. The gearbox, though, is fine with smooth shifts and despite a tallish first gear, well spaced ratios.

Our test car was the Luxury model, and inside, you’ll find a nicely finished cabin, and although there are some hard plastics around (door-trims and dashtop come to mind) it doesn’t look cheap. In fact at night with the deep blue backlighting, it even looks somewhat futuristic. The centre stack is quite busy, the on-off switch for the stereo is on the wrong side of the car, but the sound quality is good.

There are plenty of cubby-holes, lidded bins and cup holders, although the double stacked glovebox doesn’t quite have enough room in either compartment. Instrumentation is clear with large numbers and the centre screen shows just about anything you can call to mind.

The seats are fantastic up front, with drop down armrests, the rears being a little harder, but are able to slide fore and aft to reveal more boot space if needed. The rears also have excellent head-room. You can see where the bean-counters have cut corners, though, with the leather on the front seats using inserts to space out the material used – the different textures give it away.

Mums will appreciate the drop-down kiddy mirror which doubles as a sunglass holder, the wide-opening doors and the low lip height of the generous boot. However the thicker pillars may not be as welcome. The excuse that the pillar thickness is there for safety doesn’t quite wash, either. In ANCAP crash testing, the CR-V only received four stars, and with current Government supported television commercials highlighting the need to choose car with more stars, Honda will have to step up its game to receive five stars on its softroader.

The Honda CR-V is an adequate performer with some good features, but they’re mostly outweighed by a drivetrain and safety rating which are behind the times. The pricing on the lower-specced models is keen enough, but then so is some of the CR-V’s competition.

The soft-roader revolution shows no signs of slowing – there’s potential for the CR-V to be right up there. Let’s just hope Honda Australia brings the diesel CR-V here soon.

Ratings:

CarAdvice Overall Rating:
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:


    *Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer and does not include dealer delivery, on-road or statutory charges.



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    Honda CR-V Specs

    (4x4) LUXURY : MY07 : 2.4L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 5 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
    Car Details
    Make
    HONDA
    Model
    CR-V
    Variant
    (4x4) LUXURY
    Series
    MY07
    Year
    2010
    Body Type
    4D WAGON
    Seats
    5
    Pricing
    New Price
    N/A
    Private Sale
    $15,730 - $17,880
    Dealer Retail
    $16,930 - $20,130
    Dealer Trade
    $12,400 - $14,300
    Engine Specifications
    Engine Type
    MULTI POINT F/INJ
    Engine Size
    2.4L
    Max. Torque
    218Nm @  4200rpm
    Max. Power
    125kW @  5800rpm
    Pwr:Wgt Ratio
    77.2W/kg
    Bore & Stroke
    87x99mm
    Compression Ratio
    9.3
    Valve Gear
    VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
    Drivetrain Specifications
    Transmission
    5 SP AUTOMATIC
    Drive Type
    4x4
    Final Drive Ratio
    4.5
    Fuel Specifications
    Fuel Type
    UNLEADED PETROL
    Fuel Tank Capacity
    58Litres
    Fuel Consumption (Combined)
    10L / 100km
    Weight & Measurement
    Kerb Weight
    1620
    Gross Vehicle Weight
    Not Provided
    Height
    1680mm
    Length
    4520mm
    Width
    1820mm
    Ground Clearance
    185mm
    Towing Capacity
    Brake:1500  Unbrake:600
    Steering & Suspension
    Steering Type
    RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
    Turning Circle
    11.8
    Front Rim Size
    6.5x17
    Rear Rim Size
    6.5x17
    Front Tyres
    225/65 R17
    Rear Tyres
    225/65 R17
    Wheel Base
    2620
    Front Track
    1565
    Rear Track
    1565
    Front Brakes
    DISC - VENTILATED
    Rear Brakes
    DISC
    Front Suspension
    MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
    Rear Suspension
    Multi-link system, Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper
    Standard Features
    Comfort
    Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seat Driver, Power Sunroof
    Control & Handling
    17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control
    Driver
    Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
    Entertainment
    CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
    Exterior
    Power Mirrors
    Interior
    Cloth Trim, Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
    Safety
    Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Side Front Air Bags
    Security
    Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
    Optional Features
    Exterior
    Metallic Paint
    Other
    Service Interval
    6 months /  10,000 kms
    Warranty
    36 months /  100,000 kms
    VIN Plate Location
    Driver Side Eng Scuttle
    Country of Origin
    Thailand