We were in the market for an SUV, like most of the country considering the abundance of them these days. After looking at the most popular models like the Rav-4, CX-5 and the VW Tiguan, we decided for the Honda.
Almost all SUV’s come in a diesel and I’d be very surprised at anyone who would specifically go for a petrol version. Considering a lot of the different cars all share basically the same capacity engine with the same power outputs, the same front biased all wheel drive and the same boot space with split folding seats… the list goes on and on. It makes choosing an SUV all the more difficult. The Honda caught our attention mainly for the styling, which amounts to the only real discernable difference among the line up.
I wont go into detail regarding the specifications because all this information is easily sourced else where, so I will stick to comments not found in the brochure.
Firstly, the CR-V is a pleasure to drive. There is no doubt about it. The size is on the larger side for its class but somehow manages to feel like a car much smaller then it is, but in no way feels cramped. Looking from the outside, the car isn’t abnormally large for an SUV but once inside, there is more then ample space. Rear leg room is fantastic and I’m 6”2’.
The seats are very comfortable, particularly in the leather trim. They are quite supportive and don’t leave you cramped after a long journey. The two preset keys that will automatically adjust the seat depending on which key unlocks the door is my favourite feature. My wife is much shorter then I am and this saves adjusting the seat every time we swap driving. The seats can be adjusted in all different ways, as does the steering wheel to make it comfortable for even the tallest or shortest drivers.
There are plenty of cup holders and storage for large items. Lots of lights for the cabin and folding the rear seats couldn’t be simpler, just pull the lever on each side. The rear seats aren’t in any way flat once folded but I can’t see this as a major issue.
We have the DTi-L model that has all the bells and whistles as standard. It has heated seats, electric everything, auto wipers and lights, Sat Nav and Bluetooth. Even steep descent Assist that seems rather pointless. Hill assist on the other hand is quite handy even for an auto.
Some of the electronics I do favour a lot are the simpler aids, which make driving and particularly parking, very easy. For example having the left wing mirror automatically drive down so to see parking lines and gutters. The rear window washes and wipes itself when going into reverse on a rainy day. Not to mention the extra rear light which can be switched on. All these small things coupled with the already good rear camera and front/rear sensors make parking a breeze. I’d like to note here too that visibility is excellent. The A pillars are conveniently small and with extra large mirrors, there is no need for aids like Blind spot detection.
All of these things make up what is an easy and comfortable daily driver and I would recommend as a great family car. Lets now get on to the bad things.
The worst and most frustrating piece of this car is by far the Sat Nav. In this day of smartphones and advanced electronics, you would think a car of such sophistication would have a user friendly Sat Nav. Sadly, No. It has the same User Interface as a Tom Tom unit, which is fine, but unfortunately it isn’t an optional extra on the diesel. It is so insanely slow and dimwitted that I rather use Google maps on my phone. Further still, an address can’t be entered while driving. I understand that this is a no-no but it prevents a passenger entering anything in as well. Basically you will have to pull over for 5 minutes to change a destination and the zoom and traffic functions aren’t even worth trying. Even to enter in a phone number cant be done when moving as do a fair few other features. I know its against the law but I still want to have the choice.
It also has an ECON Mode. A little green button on the dash lights up the speedo with green surrounds with a little green leaf. The salesperson went on for sometime about how this changes the set up of the car for economic driving. So I did a little test of my own. With ECON mode on, I got 6.94L/100km, in normal mode it was 7.02L/100km. These are great fuel consumption figures regardless but it works out to be 15km difference over an 800km range. So it does basically nothing. All I can work out it does is when in cruise control, its very slow to maintain speed going up slight inclines.
There are a lot of great features in this car, but for every good few, Honda have thrown in ones that are useless. The Econ Mode is just a gimmick to tick the environmentally friendly box. The sports gear box with paddle shift on the wheel is a waste, this is a family car and will never go on a track. Just stick with a Manual option within the automatic gear box. Same goes for the Hill Descent and the horrible Sat Nav. If all of these were optional extras and brought the price down without them, this car would be a best seller.
Besides these points, and the auto headlights, which seem to actively seek out on coming traffic to blast them with the very good high beams, the car has done wonders. It is on the expensive side, however you do get a lot of car, so to speak. It makes driving easy and pleasurable day in, day out. With lots of room and comfortable seats, I can’t really fault it.