The Honda CRV S is a Real Back to Basics Bargain
The mid-sized SUV market is by far one of the most congested in New Zealand, as the five, or even seven-seater soft roader has quickly replaced the five-door sedan or executive saloon as the Kiwi motorist’s family car of choice.
Honda know this, which is why they have breathed new life into their CRV, now entering its fifth generation. The CRV has been a solid contender against the likes of the Mazda CX5 and Mitsubishi Outlander, so solid in fact that when the time comes for loyal owners and fans to upgrade, naturally, the get the latest model out. So, it is absolutely imperative Honda gives the faithful more of the same and then some with the new CRV, and a week in its company was a required to see if this holds true.
The range starts at the car featured here, the entry level CRV 2WD S at $33,990 and continues up to the range topping AWD Sport Sensing for $48,990, making the base model $1,000 less than the entry level Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2WD.
While models up the range get a turbo VTEC 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine mated to AWD, the base S gets an i-VTEC 2.0-litre four pot with 113kW and 189Nm of torque. At regular cruising speed, things can be a tad noisy, but the power delivery is still pretty smooth, though it does feel like the entry level engine is having to work a lot harder to shift the CRV’s 1500 kerb weight about.
Honda’s seven speed CVT auto is on hand once again. This writer has never really been a fan of CVT gearboxes, as you can never really tell which gear you are in by the engine note along. Things are slightly better in the CRV and every shift is smooth and concise. The biggest drawcard of the CRV in recent years was its frugality between fill ups. The new car is more of the same with the 2WD S returning 7.6L/100km.
The base 2WD S comes standard with Bluetooth with audio, USB ports, three angle reversing camera, cruise control, speed limiter, and a very clear LCD dash display which has the merest whiff of Civic Type R about it. You also get AM/FM radio and manual air con. Despite the vibe of bare essentials in the S, everything is put together so well and feels as tight as a drum.
The CRV makes no bones about being one of the safest cars in this segment, with a plethora of standard safety features, such as Hill Start Assist, Emergency Brake Assist, Emergency Stop Signal with Hazard Light Activation, Agile Handling Assist, Trailer Stability Assist, which instinctively corrects any trailer which starts to sway at speed, and Tyre Deflation warning.
Inside, there sheer level of space isn’t hard to notice. Whether front or rear, both passengers and driver are overwhelmed with plenty of head and legroom, in fact it is one of the most spacious mid-sized SUV’s around. Passenger entry and exit is easy enough, though one needs to use a bit of force when opening and closing the doors.
Pop the boot and lo and behold, 497 litres of space, which once the rear seats are stowed away, increases to a fairly substantial 1694 litres. Rover will have plenty of room to slob out before walkies. There are storage compartments, drink bottle holders and cubby holes galore.
Steering is direct but certainly lacking in feel. Sure, you can show it a bend and it will negotiate it rather well, but there doesn’t seem to be much feedback in the process. However, when it comes to ride comfort, the CRV is up there with the very best. The combination of the standard 17inch alloys with 235/65/17 rubber, along with supple and forgiving suspension, and ground clearance of 208mm, means even the most broken up of bitumen, of which there is plenty in Christchurch, are seldom felt.
This writer has yet to be given the opportunity to sample the higher spec levels in the new CRV range, but the 2WD S, for $33,990 is startling value. The CRV is proof once again Honda can still make a solid, safe and enjoyable to drive SUV for the masses.
A well sorted and solid entry point to a well sorted and solid SUV