Honda has been the most advanced car company having innovated tech like the hydrogen propulsion systems. And today I am reviewing one of their best models – the new Honda CR-V 2019. First, ‘CR-V’ is an abbreviation for Compact Runabout Vehicle or Compact Recreational Vehicle which was used in Britain officially to define the CR-V by Honda.
The Honda CR-V has been one of the best-selling compact SUV from Honda’s stable. The 2019 version has to be the best looking CR-V though it has gotten a bit wider but still far better than its predecessors. Remember not so long ago the 2016 CR-V? The round bulge in the back made it look like it had a swollen back. Although, after the big facelift back in 2017, not much has changed in terms of the overall design in the past 2 years.
The car that I was given for review was a CR-V AWD Touring. On first look, this car may not look very big on the outside but when you look inside it is super spacious. The exterior doesn’t look very aggressive which is a subtle reminder it has been made to ferry you around in comfort. The edges have been rounded. The front houses a fancy chrome grille in the centre which appears in all Honda models but I do feel they are bit overdone. The bonnet has these hunches on both the sides which are quite visible from inside the cabin when you are in the driver’s seat. It makes the car feel even wider than it is from inside. As is with the modern norms, it comes with a full set of LED headlights and DRLs (Day Running Lights) and a thin strip of LED fog lamps at the bottom.
Move to the side, the chrome garnishing continues with bordering around the front, the rear windows and at the bottom of the doors. The doors have a smart keyless entry feature so you don’t need to bother removing the keys from your pocket. The best bit about the CR-V is visibility. It’s got huge side windows which give you a very airy and open feel from inside. Also, it has something large hanging under the side mirror (and only on the passenger side). It is the side vision camera which they have tried to hide unsuccessfully. It is quite noticeable even from a km away.
Initially, I was confused at this concept of putting a camera only under the RIGHT side mirror and not in the left (do not even ask about the video quality because it is straight out of the video games of 90s). Later on, it was explained to me by a service advisor, that Honda wants to shorten your response time, make the blind spots visible and also give you full visibility of the surroundings without the driver having to move their neck from left to right over and over again. A system created to give the driver wide-ranging visibility within the peripheral vision of the eyes. So, the infotainment screen shows the view on the right side of the car as soon as you give the right indicator. This way you would not take your eyes off the road and also be able to view the blind spots. The concern is why is it so huge?
The rear taillights flow to the side of the body and have a sharp edge that is visible from your side mirrors. The CR-V Touring comes with a standard sunroof which feels very small; thus, ruining the whole experience of having a sunroof. 18-inch alloy wheels complete the look of the CR-V Touring. The rim design is not the best, something I would change if given a chance.
I genuinely like the look of the CR-V when you see it from the rear quarter side. While the chrome returns at the back with a thick stripe in the middle, the rear taillights are LED along with all the usual badging. The CR-V Touring has a hands-free access power tailgate with adjustable height feature which works correctly 85% of the time. The tailgate can also be opened and closed using your key. The CR-V Touring has 561 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place. The rear seats fold down in 60:40. Furthermore, there are handles provided on both the sides in the boot so you can fold the seats down which gives triples the boot space available to 1756 litres. The CR-V has one of the best boot loading capacity when compared to the Mazda CX-5 or a Toyota RAV4.
When it comes to generosity in terms of spaciousness, the Honda CR-V wins it hands down. When you step inside the CR-V, it’s very airy and doesn’t really feel like a COMPACT SUV. Even the quality of the material used is quite decent with the soft-touch plastics on the door cards and the dashboard. The only thing that does not fit into this whole mix is the fake plastic trim that is made to look like a wooden vinyl on the dashboard. Otherwise, the interior has a good quality of leather, a total thumbs up from me.
The steering wheel is leather-covered and comes with your media controls and the standard cruise controls. There are flappy paddle shifts mounted on the steering which are made of plastic but are too thin to be visible on first sight. The leather seats are satisfactorily comfortable for the long run. While the driver’s seat comes with an 8-way power-adjustable with 4-way lumbar support, the passenger gets 4-way power adjustability. The rear seats are broad enough to seat 3 people although the transmission tunnel is quite large so the middle seat has a hump which would feel like sitting on a porch. The CR-V also comes with a cool feature – the remote control engine starter – so you can cool or heat your car before you enter in it.
Hands down, the best feature in the Honda CR-V is the air conditioning. If you ever want to know what your food must be feeling like when you keep it inside the fridge, then sit in a Honda with the AC dead low. It is astonishing that even in Dubai summers and with no sun protection films on the side windows, it was able to cool the car within seconds of starting the AC. Also, Honda maintains sensibility by giving physical buttons for the AC. It comes with dual climate control and rear vents for the passengers at the back.
The information display in your instrument cluster is a digital screen which can be configured to show you different options while driving like digital or analogue speedometer, media, trip details, drive modes and various other settings. During the day the instrument is difficult to see because of the reflections.
The CR-V comes with a 7-inch infotainment screen in the centre with built-in navigation. It also comes with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The other forms of connectivity include Bluetooth, AUX & HDMI (I know, HDMI, really Honda?). While the resolution of the screen could be better, it has a matte finish which hampers the visibility when the sunlight directly falls on it. But the infotainment system is customizable from inside the settings and serves a decent purpose of entertaining you. There are 8 speakers, 2 USB ports, an HDMI port & 12V power socket in the front while the rear passengers get 2 USB ports (2.1A) for just charging their phones. The speakers sounded quite good after fiddling around with some audio settings.
There is quite a bit of storage space in the Honda CR-V. The door bins on all the four doors are large enough to hold big water bottles. The hand rest storage has a slideable partition and it also has a glove box, sunglass holder on the roof, cup holders each in the front and in the rear armrest.
There is an elaborate list of safety systems and features that the CR-V is loaded with. To start off, there are front SRS airbags for the driver and the passenger. To keep the front passenger safe from a side impact there are also curtain and side curtain airbags. No wonder the CR-V has one of the best crash-test ratings possible. Apart from that there is Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake Booster (EBB), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Emergency Stop Signal (ESS), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and ISOFIX (anchoring points for child seats). Unlike some rivals that tend to keep all these safety systems offered in only the top variants, Honda breaks that norm by offering all these safety features even in the base variant. Now that is quite impressive.
The build quality itself makes you feel confident about the car’s safety tech. There is also a reversing camera but again it is low resolution making it very basic with a grainy and washed out screen resolution. There are parking sensors in the front and the rear that will help you in tight spaces and tough parking situations.
The Drive & Performance:
Powering the CR-V is a 2.4 Liter, DOHC, 16 valves inline, i-VTEC. The i-VTEC sure doesn’t need any explanation. The block produces a modest 184 bhp and 244 Nm of reasonable amounts of torque at 3900 rpm. But the engine is mated to a CVT transmission. I am not a big fan of the CVTs. Sure it’s an easier and more efficient system but it still does not match up to the traditional gearbox setup. The lag from CVT is quite evident when you accelerate at the start or when you demand power while speeding up. I rather enjoyed the paddle-shift set up to shift the gears because that way I was able to overcome that lag. Also, the gear stick is very conveniently and ergonomically placed with simply easy to use modes. The CR-V comes with only an ECON mode to squeeze out every little bit of efficiency from the engine.
These days, everyone is shifting to electronic steering and so have Hondas too. While the electronic steering replaces the hydraulic one, they lack the feedback if not configured properly. In the CR-V, the steering is quite responsive and gives that feedback from the road, it still lacks the feeling that hydraulic steering would give you. The turning radius is quite impressive for a car that is fairly wide and long.
The CR-V has a softer suspension setup to reduce the shock of speed bumps and uneven road surfaces inside the cabin but that compromises the overall rolling effect. In the turns, the CR-V does tend to roll ever so slightly but still manages to handle them quite well. The CR-V comes with all four disc brakes and they work efficiently in bringing the car to a sudden halt quite well.
The CR-V is an AWD (All Wheel Drive) system. Technically it is, but it works only when there is a need otherwise it is just a lazy drag in the car. So most of the time, the car is a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system and only when there is a loss of traction during cornering or when you take this car for an off-road session (you will be brave to do so) it will activate AWD and power the rear wheels as well. Hence, the car gets that understeer tendency sometimes because of the way the AWD has been set up.
The performance figures are impressive. With a non-turbocharged engine, considerable kerb weight and no hybrid aids, the CR-V still manages to deliver between 10.5 to 11 kmpl of mileage in the city and goes up to 13 kmpl on the highways. That is where the Honda is strong and where the i-VTEC shows its usefulness.
To sum up here are my ratings for the CR-V based on different parameters:
Drive & Performance: 3.5/5
The CR-V has come a long way and has improved a lot in many areas. It also is an easier car to maintain and drive. At a starting price of AED 92,500, it is way cheaper than its rivals in terms of the technology, features, comfort and performance offered.
Should you consider this? Yes, I strongly suggest you put this into your shortlist and make sure to give it a test drive. This is definitely more car for less money.
You can watch a detailed video review from below:
You can also read the Volvo XC40 review detailed review from this link.