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Honda CR-V Diesel 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
7
The Honda CR-V is now back in the thick of things with its fourth-generation model providing both options

After giving its mid-sized SUV competitors a free kick by not offering either two-wheel drive or diesel power the Honda CR-V is now back in the thick of things with its fourth-generation model providing both options, albeit not together.

While Australian car buyers continue to resist diesel engines in their passenger cars they do love it in their big workhorse utes and wagons -- but haven’t quite decided on their preference regarding compact SUVs. So it makes sense to give potential buyers the choice between petrol and diesel.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

Honda CR-V now comes with the choice of two petrol engines (2.0 and 2.4 litres) and one diesel (2.2 litres). The smaller of the petrol engines is only available with two-wheel drive but with either six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The lower-specced DTi-S diesel gets the same transmission choices, all other variants are auto-only.

The CR-V diesel has a 2.2-litre turbocharged engine that generates a moderate 100 kW of power but, more importantly 350 Nm of torque between 2000 and 2750 rpm. The entry level 2.0-litre petrol peaks at 114 kW and 190 Nm and, with nearly 100 kg less weight to carry without 4WD, supplies more than enough urge for the average urban user.

The 2.4-litre petrol has more power (140 kW) than the other two engines but, with 222 Nm at 4400 rpm, it falls well short of the diesel’s torque. Surprisingly, at 1500 kg, the towing capacity of automatic versions of all three engines is the same. If you need more then the manual DTi-S is the only option. It can tow up to 2000 kg.

MODELS

The petrol CR-V comes in three equipment levels, VTi, VTi-S and VTi-L with the diesel only available in the higher-specced DTi-S and DTi-L.

INTERIOR

Some clever design work has managed to make the fourth generation CR-V smaller on the outside but larger on the inside than its predecessor. The front seats are slightly further apart than before, thus increasing more shoulder room. There’s excellent leg and head room throughout with seats which are both supportive and comfortable. Two adults or three children can travel long distances in comfort in the rear, the latter aided by theatre-style seating that improves their front visibility.

With all seats in place there’s 556 litres of load space but drop the seat backs to an almost-flat position with a clever lever and this jumps to 1648 litres when loaded to the roof – not something that we’d recommend. All models come with a full-size spare wheel.

FEATURES

Built around Honda’s intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) are a reversing camera, integrated hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio with MP3 and WMA capability, and USB connectivity. Satellite navigation is optional on the VTi and standard on all other models. The i-MID system is let down by small rectangular controls below the screen, including a volume control that requires a series of prods and inevitably takes the driver’s attention from the road. Fortunately there are steering wheel mounted controls as an alternative.

SAFETY

All models in the new Honda CR-V range have a five-star ANCAP safety rating and a full suite of electronic safety features including ABS brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution; stability and traction control; front, side and full-length curtain airbags with rollover sensors that measures the tilt of the vehicle and activates when it senses an imminent rollover; whiplash-mitigation system; and reversing camera.

Models above the VTi also get front and rear foglights and rear parking sensors. In addition passive safety in the CR-V has been improved with a body structure developed by Honda to provide optimum protection for occupants in crash situations while the front of the vehicle has been designed to minimise pedestrian injury.

All models come with Honda’s Econ 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. Eco Assist prompts the driver to optimise fuel efficiency by colour-changing arcs around the rim of the speedometer.

DRIVING

Our most recent test vehicle was the top of the range Honda CR-V DTi-L diesel with automatic transmission. There is the usual diesel clatter from outside the CR-V. However extra sound insulation material has been fitted to the under-cabin floor and that, combined with additional sound absorption material, means that it’s all but impossible to tell that you’re travelling in a diesel once underway.

We’ve always loved the CR-V’s dashboard mounted gear lever with its sporty short shifter and there is also the option of shifting through steering wheel mounted paddles. Changes on the automatic are slick and timely. Rear visibility is hindered somewhat by a relatively small rear window and large C-pillars but this is offset by large side mirrors.

Ride quality is on the soft side, but not sufficiently so as to compromise handling and even in relatively aggressive driving it turns in with reassuring precision. Fuel consumption is officially listed on a combined cycle at 6.8 litres per 100 litres and we found ourselves recording only marginally higher during our test.

Pricing guides

$19,987
Based on 155 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,975
Highest Price
$25,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
DTi-L (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $15,990 – 25,990 2014 Honda CR-V 2014 DTi-L (4x4) Pricing and Specs
DTi-S (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $12,975 – 19,995 2014 Honda CR-V 2014 DTi-S (4x4) Pricing and Specs
VTi (4x2) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $14,888 – 21,990 2014 Honda CR-V 2014 VTi (4x2) Pricing and Specs
VTi (4x2) Navi 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $14,990 – 19,999 2014 Honda CR-V 2014 VTi (4x2) Navi Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7