2019 Honda CR-V Detailed Review

Honda CR-V
2019 Honda CR-V AWD Touring

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.

Exterior:

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.

Front

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?

Rear

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.

Tailights and Badging

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.

Interiors:

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.

Interiors

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.

Leather Seats

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.

Safety System:

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.

Instrument cluster

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.

Conclusion:

To sum up here are my ratings for the CR-V based on different parameters:

Exterior: 3.5/5
Interior: 3.5/5
Practicality: 4/5
Drive & Performance: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Safety: 4/5
Overall: 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.

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Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design In-Depth Review

Which car brand comes to mind when I talk about safety? I’m quite sure for most of you the first thing that popped in your head was Volvo. The brand itself is so strongly associated with safety and quality that it is impossible to NOT think about them when you’re thinking of which car is more likely to save your life in case of an accident. Well, the Swedish do have high standards when it comes to safety. They have set the bar in safety quite high which means other car manufacturers have been forced to reconsider safety as a key feature while designing their cars.

Now, the car we are talking about today is one of the best mid-sized SUVs that are currently available in the overcrowded market – The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design. And that is why I was very excited when I was loaned the car to review it. Volvo has had a turn of fortune with the XC40 and quite rightly so as it has been awarded the best compact SUV in 2018 in Europe and the most loved SUV too.

Volvo XC40

For the start, the XC40 looks completely different from its elder siblings the XC60 and XC90. It looks and feels more stylish, urban, utilitarian and youthful. Compact yet enough space to accommodate all that you need. How does it manage to do all of that?

Exteriors:

To start, the exteriors have been designed completely from scratch. The model I had was the top of the line R-design version. R-design is an in house design studio from Volvo that focuses on the comfort and aesthetic features of the cars from the Volvo lineup. And so the XC40 comes with a specially designed front grill that makes it look more aggressive than the standard version. It comes with LED headlights (which bend during the turning) and tail lights. The fog lamps are LED too but I think they look too small and unnoticeable at times. The bonnet has a tricky lever placement to open it. So where the Volvo logo on the grill meets the top right side of the bonnet, that’s where the lever is to unlock the bonnet.

Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design

The XC40 comes in a two-tone colour combination with the black exterior roof as standard on all the models. The build quality is incredibly sturdy and it is built to last till your grandchildren are born and even they may be driving it too. Other standard features include the remote-operated boot door (or tailgate), keyless entry & panoramic sunroof.

18-inch alloy wheels adorn this black and silver design that enhances the look of this car. At the back, you get twin tailpipe with chrome tips; However, the gap between the tips and the actual pipe is quite noticeable.

In addition, you get the R-design black coloured plates mounted on both sides just above the rear doors to remind you that Volvo has put in a lot of effort to design this car. The rear doors have an angular design that tapers at the end of the door to meet the roofline, slightly reducing the view from the rear passenger windows.


Interiors:

Nothing brings me more joy than to share that the quality of material used for the interiors is top-notch and very Volvo-ish. Inside you get soft-touch plastic everywhere from the door cards to the dashboard. The XC40 comes with R-Designed front and rear sport seats with dual material (leather & nubuck), perforated with white stitching. The steering is also covered in the leather with white stitching and makes it feel rather premium. But, the seats are too sporty in the sense that they are hard and uncomfortable if you plan to go on longer journeys.

Volvo XC40 Seats

The front seats are electronically adjustable in every possible way and also come with lumbar support and a cushion extension feature to support your thighs during longer journeys. The rear seats are positioned quite well in a way that the shoulder of the door does not hamper your visibility and essentially would not make you feel claustrophobic. The rear seats are not collapsible but only the hand rest provided can be folded down to accommodate your golf bags or your skis. The rear seats can easily fit 3 people with the roofline high enough to not hit the head of even the tallest of the passengers.

For an SUV this small, you may presume that the boot space must surely be compromised. But it is not! It comes with enough boot space to put two big bags and two small bags. The floor of the boot space is foldable and has these cool bit of hooks to hang in your shopping bags so I am impressed by the clever thinking from Volvo to include the hooks.  Plus after lifting the floor you still have enough space to stuff in some more luggage. Also, you get the scruff plating on the rear bumpers so you do not damage the paintwork while loading or unloading the luggage.

Volvo Xc40 Technology

Surrounded between the very long, stylish but unconventional looking AC air vents is a huge portrait styled 9.0 inches iPad-like infotainment screen. As a result, the dashboard has a very classy minimalist design. But unfortunately, the infotainment system is not the easiest system to use.

First of all, the glass on the screen is glossy meaning it is a fingerprint magnet. But do not worry, Volvo has you covered on that front and it gives you a premium cloth to clean the screen. The infotainment screen lets you swipe between menus to change anything, pinch, tap, zoom on the user-friendly maps and also has a conventional home button so you can quickly come back to the main menu. The address can be either written in letters on the screen or entered using an on-screen keyboard.

Under the screen, you would find a single row of media controls as well. But what concerns me more is that the air-conditioner is controlled from the infotainment screen itself. If the screen stops working you may be left without air-conditioning. Let’s be honest, we can live without the music system but not without an AC. The XC40 comes with a healthy eight-speaker music system with a 250W output. 

You also get a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display screen. You can see the details on that and also change the finer settings in the car from there. It displays your trip details, let’s you flick between conventional dials or a large map display for sat-nav and speed limit notifications using the 360 degrees five-camera system. You can also see the cameras on your infotainment screen as well.

In terms of storage, you can store a big bottle of water in the door bins on all the doors, cup holders are in the centre console, hand rest, glove box and one under the infotainment screen which also happens to be a wireless charging port. The XC40 comes with wireless charging, standard 12V socket in the front and back, USB and auxiliary port.

The gear stick on the XC40 is unconventional in every way. It is short and most of the times I managed to miss the gear stick. It takes a little getting used to before you know where the gear stick is and it also has a very minimum throw too. An issue with the gear stick itself is that if you want to go from the Parking mode to Drive, you will have tap the stick twice. The same goes when you are in Reverse mode and want to go into the Drive. It takes two taps to go into Drive. If you miss a tap and go into Neutral instead of the Drive or Reverse and you may end up rolling down if you are on a hill. To change the gear manually using the stick, you have to shift it sideways to change the gears up or down. All of this leads to a slightly annoying experience using the gear stick.  Oh! And the parking mode is button operated after you are done understanding how the shifter works.

Volvo XC40 Interiors

The steering wheel is adjustable, has adaptive cruise control and media control mounted on it and the paddle shifters which are plastic which ruins the feel of the steering wheel in some way.

Safety System:

No Volvo review is complete without discussing its safety system. The XC40 comes with its own ‘Intellisafe system’ which is used in lane assist, emergency brakes, adaptive cruise control and on-coming lane mitigation. It also comes with 7 Multistage Intelligent Airbags: driver, passenger, sides and curtains. The other safety systems include 360-degree cameras, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), EBA (Electronic Brake Assist), Hill Start Assist and Automatic Brake Hold system.

However, while these systems are remarkable, they tend to be frustrating as well. In particular, if you keep the lane assist feature on, the car is going to interfere on occasions even while you consciously try to change the lanes. It vibrates vigorously and corrects the steering wheel forcefully as if you were going to put the car in a ditch. Luckily you can reduce the interference from the system by going into the settings from your complicated infotainment system. Good luck figuring that out.

Overall it is a good system considering that the roads in UAE have faster average speeds of 100 km/hr and if you take into account the driving habits of some people here, this car is going to teach you how to drive safely again.

The Drive:

The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-design comes with a T5 2.0L4 Cylinder Turbocharged engine which produces 247 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. This engine is coupled to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The car weighs around 1700 kgs and comes with an AWD (All Wheel Drive) system. This is an SUV that does not try to over-deliver on anything, perfectly balanced on all points.

volvo xc40 exteriors

The power delivery from the engine is quite smooth and the short throttle response times make it feel very sporty. Although there is a certain amount of turbo lag till 2500rpm. Also, the engine becomes a little noisy once you cross 3500rpm. But the NVH levels are well maintained all the time. The gear shifts are crisp and if you use the paddle shifts, the lag from the system is minimal while changing gears.

The steering wheel feels pretty light to drive, pointy and the XC40 manages to disguise its weight quite well. Although, the weight distribution on the XC40 is pretty even. It also comes with the Pirelli continental tyres and that’s probably another reason for the smooth handling and comfortable ride. The suspensions are stiff due to which the XC40 has a bare minimum body roll.

The XC40 comes with four different driving modes: Comfort, Dynamic, Eco and Off-Road. Put it in dynamic and the setup becomes stiff, sporty and the throttle response becomes sharp. However, even though its an SUV, it will not handle any and all off-roading that you throw at it EVEN when you put it in the Off-Road mode. I tried to take the XC40 onto the beach but it did struggle with the traction once the sandy surface started to become lose and dense. It was a sign not to push it more.

The XC40 comes with four disc brakes and the most enjoyable part about it is the brake pedal. Usually, manufacturers give you a very sensitive brake pedal meaning as soon as you step on it, the car suddenly comes to a halt. But in the XC40 things are different. The pedal has a heaviness and longer travel, hence it takes more than the usual force to hit the brakes.  

Conclusion:

While the XC40 T5 AWD is in direct competition with the Range Rover Evoque and the Audi Q3, it still is a very good match compared to the competition. The flaws in this car are so minimal, you should not even consider it. The XC40 surprised me in many areas with its upgrade and improvement in the build quality, infotainment system, ride quality, lavish interiors and its ability to perform like an SUV ticks all the boxes. Priced at AED 150,000 ($41,000) this car is a bargain compared to its rivals. You get the safest car you can possibly imagine with a robust design. My advice is you should check out the T5 rather than the T4 version as it offers an AWD option.

It is no doubt one of the best SUVs in the market and rightly deserves all the accolades. It is sporty, youthful, stylish, urban and utilitarian. But, most importantly it’s a complete package which is a delightful surprise.

You can watch a full video review of the Volvo XC40 T5 AWD R-Design from below.

You can also read a detailed review of Honda CR-V from this link.

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