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Honda CR-V


Audi Q2

Summary

Honda CR-V

Honda's CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs, and when it appeared in Australia in 1997 its only real rival was the Toyota RAV4, so it didn't leave us with much choice. It was a case of that one or the other one. 

Now that's all changed, and there are currently more than 20 different mid-sized SUVs under $60k on sale in this market. 

Mazda's CX-5 is the king of the segment in terms of sales, with the RAV4 a close second, but the CR-V has fallen out of favour.

All that could change with the arrival of the fifth generation CR-V. We went along to the Australian launch to see if the CX-5 has anything to be afraid of, and found out a lot more in the process, including that it might be worth waiting before you buy one.

Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats

Audi Q2

This is the 'Eureka!' moment for the Audi Q2. Finally, I get what they're going for, because this flagship performance-oriented petrol all-wheel drive (AWD) model is everything a fun, urban SUV should be.

When the Audi Q2 arrived in Australia earlier in 2017, it had the choice of a front-wheel drive (FWD) petrol or a pricey diesel version with AWD. But neither of those were as characterful or charming as perhaps we'd come to hope for when this boxy little bugger was unboxed.

But, finally, the 2018 Audi Q2 2.0 TFSI Quattro has arrived, and it all makes sense. And there have been a couple of extra little tweaks to the Audi Q2 2018 range - read on to find out more.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Honda CR-V7.8/10

In the mid-sized SUV world the X-Trail is known for being super practical, the Mazda CX-5 for its looks and the way it drives, and now the new CR-V slides into the gap between them. Great value, practical and good to drive, the sweet spot in the range is absolutely the VTi-S; well equipped, with the option of AWD. Keep your eyes peeled though for when Honda updates the base grades with advanced safety kit. We'll let you know when it does.

Is the CR-V going to steal you away from the Mazda CX-5? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


Audi Q27.4/10

There is no denying the Audi Q2 2018 model range is all the better for introduction of the 2.0 TFSI variant, which is the best of the bunch in this writer's humble opinion.

Just keep in mind that competition in the small SUV segment is fierce, and with a lot of options boxes to be ticked to get the ideal Q2, it may be worth looking at your options in the market, particularly if you need something practical.

Would you choose the Audi Q2? Or would another small SUV suit you better? Let us know in the comments section below.

Design

Honda CR-V8/10

This fifth-generation CR-V looks like it found a gym and reappeared as a beefed-up version of the last model. The dimensions don't lie – the new CR-V is 11mm longer at 4585mm end-to-end, it’s 6mm taller at 1679mm for the FWD and 4mm more in the 1689mm AWD. 

At 1820mm across, it's 35mm wider and the wheelbase is 40mm longer. Ground clearance is also up by 28mm in the FWD at 198mm, and 38mm in the AWD, with its 208mm.

Just look at the pictures, there are those swept back headlights, that huge black and chrome grille, adorned with an oversized Honda badge, the muscular front wheel guards, which seem to push up and make the bonnet bulge. 

From the back the CR-V looks wide and planted, but busy with all those creases and angles. While the profile isn't as sleek as others, such as the CX-5, it’s designed for practicality.

You might not have noticed, but the A-pillars either side of the windscreen are super thin to improve visibility.


Audi Q27/10

Ummm, have you seen the Audi Q2? It looks pretty much unlike all of the other Audi SUVs you can buy, and you'll either be a fan of that, or you won't.

There isn't much major visual differentiation between the newly added 2.0 TFSI Quattro version and the more affordable petrol model aside from this version rolling on 18-inch wheels as opposed to the 17s of the base petrol, and the entry-level model misses out on body-colour mouldings around the wheels, side skirts and bumpers. Both the quattro models look identical to one another.

Like all Q2s (and arguably all Audis) you need to option the S-line styling package to make it look how you probably want it to. You can get 19-inch wheels if you want that extra tough appearance, plus there are optional C-pillar blade colours ('Manhattan' grey metallic, 'Titanium' grey matt, 'Ice' silver metallic, or body colour), and buyers have 12 body colours to choose from.

Practicality

Honda CR-V9/10

While the new CR-V misses out on a sleek profile, it gains in practicality. Tall, wide doors which open at almost 90 degrees to the side of the car make getting kids (and yourself) in and out a lot easier.  

The tailgate opens high enough for me at 191cm to just walk under, and the low load lip means you don't have to hammer throw your shopping over the bumper into the boot.

Cargo space is 522 litres in the five seater and 472 litres in the seven-seat CR-V, an LED light which can be flicked on and off is great for when you're fumbling for gear in the dark.

That auto tailgate can sense if there are fingers in the way and will stop just as it touches them but before it crushes them – I know I tested it myself, with my own fingers, and all of them are still on my hand. 

The increase in wheelbase means more legroom in the second row and I can sit behind my driving position with about 10cm of space - that's verging on limo territory. 

The third row in the seven-seat VTi-L is cramped for me, and my knees are tucked under my chin, but your kids will love it - unless they're giants.

Climbing into the third row isn't too much of a challenge – the footpath-side seat slides and flips forward to open up a little pathway through to the back. 

Seven-seat mid-sized SUVs are becoming more common now – there's the Nissan X-Trail, Skoda Kodiaq, and the Volkswagen Tiguan AllSpace will be with us soon, too. 

Each row has two cupholders (yup, even in the VTi-L's back seats) there are small bottle holders in the rear doors and bigger ones up front.

The centre console storage bin is excellent – you can configure it several ways.

The lock and go function is excellent, too – walk two metres away from the car for more than two seconds and it will lock itself. You only have to touch the handle to unlock it again.


Audi Q26/10

Well, let's put it this way - if you want the most pragmatic and thoughtful small SUV out there, you should be looking at the Mini Countryman or BMW X1, both of which offer supreme space for their size.

That isn't to say that the Q2 is impractical - it still has a 355-litre boot space in quattro models (405-litre for the FWD version), and you could fit five adults in at a squeeze, provided they aren't big boppers. If you have children, the dual ISOFIX points and three top-tether hooks will be of note, and there are rear seat air-vents in all Q2 models.

Storage is reasonably well sorted up front, with cupholders between the seats and decent door pockets, as well as a few little trinket cubbies here and there. In the back, though, there is no fold-down armrest (meaning no cupholders), but you can fit a bottle in each of the doors. Map pockets aren't standard, either.

There are plenty of tricks Audi has employed with the interior styling of the Q2 - at a glance, it looks pretty smart and funky. But there are cost-cutting measures evident, like the scratchy plastics on the doors and hard plastics down below your eye-line.

Price and features

Honda CR-V8/10

Prices have gone up… and down, depending on which grade of CR-V we're talking about. The entry-level VTi lists for $30,690 (a $900 increase), the front-wheel drive (FWD) VTi-S above it is $33,290 (a $1000 jump) while the all-wheel drive is $35,490 (up $200). The VTi-L has dropped by $300 to $38,990 and the top-of-the-range VTi-LX is down $1500 at $44,290.

Honda says it's added between $2600-$4350 of value across the range with this new model, which sounds awfully nice of them, and going by the healthy standard features list, and in comparison to its rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, and Toyota RAV4, the value for money is good.

Standard on the base-spec VTi is a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multi-angle reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control,  17-inch alloy wheels, push-button ignition and proximity unlocking.

Stepping up to the VTi-S adds front and rear parking sensors, power tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The VTi-L is the FWD seven-seater and gets all of the VTi-S's features and adds a panoramic sunroof, auto wipers, and heated front seats with the driver's being power adjustable. 

King of the range is the VTi-LX, which picks up all the VTi-L's gear and adds leather-appointed seats, LED headlights, tinted windows and an advanced safety equipment package which includes AEB.


Audi Q27/10

The range kicks off from $41,800 for the 1.4 TFSI Design model (up $700 since its early 2017 launch), while the quattro AWD models include the new 2.0 TFSI sport model at $48,500 and the range-topping 2.0 TDI sport, which lists at $49,100 (previously $47,900).

There is a good amount of standard kit fitted to all Q2 models, including the addition of new LED headlights, which are far more attractive, not to mention more illuminating, than the existing halogens. The brand's 'MMI' multimedia controller with sat nav and 'Audi Connect' makes use of a 7.0-inch dash-top screen, and the car comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard in all models, too.

There is dual-zone climate control across the range, while the quattro models get an electric tailgate as standard. All models have an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and the entry-grade model sports 17-inch wheels, where the quattro versions score 18s.

Leather seat trim is standard across the line-up, with the quattro models adopting sports seats for extra support, though seat heating is an option on all versions, and manual seat adjustment is the norm, too.

There is a good deal of standard gear, sure - but if you want to make your Audi Q2 a bit more special, there is a range of optional packs that may be of interest to you: it has sort of become the norm for premium brands, offering strong standard kit but a bunch of enhancement packages for those who want a little more to brag about.

For the safety-conscious there's the 'Assistance Pack' ($990 - see the safety section below for details of what's in the pack, and what's new for 2018), and a lot of people are likely to want to go for the 'Comfort Pack', a $1900 option that includes keyless entry and start, electric lumbar adjustment, heated and folding side mirrors with dimming, heated front seats, luggage nets on the front seat backs, a luggage net in the boot (and a light back there... can't believe that's not standard?), and drawers under the front seats.

The 'Technik Pack' is appealing, too, with Audi's 'Virtual Cockpit' 12.3-inch driver info display, an upgraded media screen (8.3-inch) and a flat-bottom steering wheel. It costs $2500. And if you want more street cred, you might want to consider one of the S-line styling packs (there is a base version for the entry-level model, and a more comprehensive pack for the quattro variants).

Engine & trans

Honda CR-V7/10

Simple. One engine for the whole range. It's a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol which makes 140kW/240Nm. That's not a great deal of grunt, but it’s more than the same engine makes in the Honda Civic, and at no point did it feel like it needed more oomph during our hilly drive. 

There's no diesel engine in the line-up any more, or a manual gearbox.

The automatic transmission is a CVT. They're prone to making the engine drone loudly without producing much in the way of acceleration. Honda's CVT is one of the best I’ve encountered, though.

Do you need an AWD CR-V? Well, the CR-V is not an off-roader, the on-demand AWD is really for a bit of extra traction and stability in the wet or on dirt and gravel. My advice is to get it if you can afford it and not worry about the fuel bills. The CVT is so good at being economical the difference is almost zilch. Read on to find just how much zilch.


Audi Q28/10

The new 2.0 TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is considerably punchier than the existing 1.4 turbo-petrol, with 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque. That turns this litter jigger into something like a boxy hot hatch on stilts.

Audi claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.5 seconds, so finally it has the performance muscle to match those chiseled exterior panels.

Unlike the other, more affordable petrol model the 2.0 TFSI has quattro AWD. The 1.4 TFSI persists with 110kW/250Nm and a sprint time of 8.5sec, while the 2.0 TDI retains its 110kW/320Nm outputs and can shuffle to highway pace in 8.1sec. All Q2 models have seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Fuel consumption

Honda CR-V7/10

Despite my gripes with CVTs, they are super fuel efficient. In the FWD VTi Honda says it'll consume 91RON at a rate of 7.0L/100km (we recorded 8.9L/100km) then step up to 7.3L/100km in the VTi-S FWD, then 7.4L/100km in the AWD version. The seven seat VTi-L is also officially 7.3L/100km (we recorded 8.3L/100km) and the AWD VTi-LX is 7.4L/100km.

 


Audi Q27/10

Audi claims fuel consumption for this flagship petrol model is 6.5L/100km. That makes it 1.2L/100km thirstier than the front-drive petrol, and 1.5L higher than the diesel - but you get a lot more performance from this model.

On the launch loop, which involved high-speed country roads, dirt tracks and some minor urban chicanery, we saw a figure of 7.6L/100km in the top-spec petrol - pretty respectable.

Driving

Honda CR-V7/10

We drove three of the four grades of CR-V at its Australian launch – the base spec VTi, and the VTi-L seven seater, which are FWD, and the AWD only VTi-LX.

Honestly, there is next to no perceptible difference in the way any of them drives, apart from the AWD being more sure-footed on gravel roads.

That engine is a good thing. It's small, but delivers a decent output. Our drive route included hilly country, and it didn't feel underpowered, at all.

The CVT drones on and is joined by quite a bit of road noise from the tyres filtering into the cabin, but the ride is comfortable and the handling impressive for an SUV in this price range.

Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars, but the curvy bonnet limits vision in car parks.

Front seating is comfortable, but the chairs feel too large, and lack bolstering to hold you in place in corners. The back seats are flatter and harder.

All models have excellent brake response, thanks to and electronic brake booster system. And steering is quick compared to the old model, with fewer turns of the wheel required to turn the same distance.


Audi Q28/10

There is no doubt in my mind that the 2.0 TFSI was the Q2 we've been waiting for. With its balance of extra grunt and better traction, it makes for a pretty involving and entertaining drive experience. You need to option drive mode selection, with five drive modes including an individual set-up, if you want to tailor the car to your desires. Adaptive dampers are available at a cost, too.

There's good response when you shove your right foot to the floor, with just a hint of turbo lag if you catch the car off-guard. Flick the shifter to the sport mode and that won't be an issue, and indeed the Q2 will eagerly hold on to gears in anticipation.

While dual-clutch transmissions are known for their low-speed foibles, this one seems to have most of those lurching movements ironed out - though it still takes a bit of getting used to, and there isn't a very nice sound from the drivetrain in most situations. A more raucous exhaust note would be welcomed.

The so-called 'progressive' steering doesn't have the best feel to it, but it is quick and accurate, which makes it feel like you're part of the action. The ride - even in our test car, clad with optional 19-inch wheels and low-profile tyres, while going without adaptive dampers - was mostly very good, particularly considering some of the surfaces we encountered (parts of the country roads in the Barrington Tops, in north-east NSW, consist more a patchwork of pothole repairs rather than an actual level surface). That said, really sharp edges can upset the front axle a touch.

The quattro AWD system comes into its own on sweeping country back roads, though, and the short gravel stint suggested there was good grip and traction on offer.

Safety

Honda CR-V7/10

Okay, first up, the new CR-V isn't fitted with Takata airbags, which are the ones at the centre of the current worldwide recall.

The new CR-V has not been given an ANCAP rating yet, but the previous model did score the maximum five-stars.

What you should know, too, is that only the top-of-the-range VTi-LX grade comes with advanced safety equipment such as AEB, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda told us at the launch that the advanced safety tech would soon be available on all grades, but could not tell us when. So, you might like to wait until it arrives on more grades.

You'll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts for child seats across the second row, and all grades of CR-V have a full sized spare wheel.


Audi Q28/10

The Audi Q2 range has been awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP score, and comes fitted with a decent array of safety gear as standard. The goodies list comprises a reversing camera, parking sensors, auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection (up to 65km/h), blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

There is an optional ($990) 'Assistance Pack' available across the range, which adds adaptive cruise control with high-speed AEB (up to 200km/h), lane keeping assist, Audi's traffic jam assist (which can accelerate, brake and steer at speeds up to 65km/h), semi-automated parking, automated high-beam lights and a system known as 'Emergency Assist', which can pull the car off the road if the driver is non-compliant with impulses sent to them (beeps, vibrations etc).

A head-up display is now optional on all variants, too, but at $1050, you'd just get the Technik Pack and make the speedo as big as it can be, right?

Ownership

Honda CR-V9/10

Servicing is recommended at intervals of 12 months or 10,000km and is capped at $295 per service all the way up to 100,000km.

All CR-Vs also come with Honda's five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.


Audi Q28/10

Audi offers a three-year/unlimited km warranty on all of its new models, and servicing is due every 12 months/15,000km. Roadside assist is included for the length of the warranty period.

The brand has a pre-purchase service pack, which covers the first 36 months/45,000km of maintenance, which costs $1590.