Thailand’s devastating 2011 flood waters meant that no Honda CR-V models were available in Australia from October last year till July this year. Now things are really starting to pick up with the launch of an all-new, fourth-generation model.
The entry-level CR-V VTi versions come with cruise control, a reversing camera, an AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 and WMA compatibility and USB connectivity, Bluetooth mobile-phone connectivity, an intelligent multi-information display, halogen headlights with an automatic-off timer, roof rails and remote central locking.
Move up to the VTi-S and you add goodies such as dual-zone climate-control, rain-sensing wipers, satellite navigation and foglights. The top-spec VTi-L goes even further with a sunroof, HID headlights with an active-cornering function, leather trim, power lumbar support for the driver, keyless entry, push-button start/stop and powered and heated front seats.
The three 4WD versions – the VTi, the VTi-S and the VTi-L – are blessed with a bigger 2.4-litre powerplant – again a DOHC unit but its power-and-torque figures are higher at 140 kW at 7000 rpm and 222 Nm at 4400 rpm.
The 2WD Honda CR-V VTi and VTi (with navigation) are powered by a 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine that’s good for up to 114 kW of maximum power at 6500 rpm and 190 Nm of peak torque that arrives at 4300 rpm.
Honda measures the CR-V’s combined fuel consumption figure at 7.8 litres/100km for the manual version and 7.7 litres for the automatic. While on the national media-launch drive program we recorded 8.8 litres in the automatic, so there’s little doubt most drivers will be able to achieve Honda’s figure.
Honda’s official combined fuel consumption figure for the 4WD automatic is 8.7 litres, some enthusiastic punting on the launch drive saw this rise to 10.8 litres/100km. Again, owners driving under normal conditions should have little trouble meeting Honda’s figure.
To assist drivers achieve economical motoring, the CR-V comes with what Honda calls Econ mode and Eco Assist systems. Press a button and the Econ mode alters the drive-by-wire throttle’s mapping for increased torque and better economy. Transmission for all three 4WD versions is a five-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Despite being shorter, lower and lighter than its predecessor, the gen-four CR-V is more spacious. Its body is 20 mm shorter, height is down by 30 mm and the windscreen has been moved forward by 60 mm, the latter a design tweak that has helped cut aerodynamic drag by eight per cent.
The new CR-V is built on the same platform as its predecessor but Honda engineers have improved front and rear suspension design and tuning and increased the car’s overall structural rigidity. While the six-speed manual VTi 2WD has a lever-type hand brake, all other models have one of those horrible foot-operated parking brakes.
Honda engineers have done a lot of work on limiting how much engine and road noise is transmitted into the cabin. Sound insulation material is now fitted to the under-cabin floor pan and additional sound absorption material has been fitted to the rear door, rear wheel arches, door frames, fire wall and bonnet. As well, the wagon’s doors now have a double seal.
For the CR-V’s occupants, there five drinkholders, front-and-rear door pockets and there is plenty of space for their luggage. With the rear 60/40 split-fold seats occupied, there is 556 litres of cargo space but drop the seat backs to an almost-flat position with a clever lever and this rises to a pretty impressive 1648 litres.
In the safety department, the new CR-V has a five-star ANCAP safety rating and a full suite of electronic safety gismos including ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control and front, side and full-length curtain airbags with rollover sensors. Adding to the car’s safety are front seats incorporating a whiplash-mitigation system designed to limit neck injuries in the event of a rear-ender.
Gear changes in the 4WD models are pretty slick and the paddles add to the driving pleasure. One of the key results is that during spirited cornering, the new model turns in more precisely and sits noticeably flatter than previously. While the seats are comfortable enough, they are a bit limited in their thigh bolstering and especially with the top-spec VTi-L’s leather trim, there could be a tad more leg support during hard cornering. For the driver, all-round visibility is excellent and the cockpit has been designed very much with the driver in mind.
The complete Honda CR-V range is:
VTi 2WD: $27,490 (manual), $29,790 (automatic)
VTi 4WD: $32,790 (automatic)
VTi-S 4WD: $36,290 (automatic)
VTi-L 4WD: $42,290 (automatic)
Price: from $27,490
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Service interval: 10,000km/6 months
Safety rating: five star ANCAP
Spare: Full-size alloy
Engine: 114kW/190Nm 2-litre petrol four-cylinder; 140kW/222Nm 2.4-litre petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual (FWD only) or five-speed automatic; FWD or AWD
Body: 4.5m (L); 1.8m (w); 1.7m (h)
Thirst: 7.8-8.7L/100km, tank 58 litres; 182-201g/km CO2