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Honda CR-V 1.5 Turbo AWD EX: Sensible, spacious and smooth

By Ghaith Madadha - Jul 09,2019 - Last updated at Jul 09,2019

Photo courtesy of Honda

Following early car-based off-roaders like the Lada Niva, Matra-Simca Rancho and AMC Eagle, the Honda CR-V first arrived in 1994 and became the defining model in what was then referred to as a “soft roader” but now known as the ‘crossover’ segment. 

A trendsetting early adopter to the now highly popular automotive segment, which since spanned many competitors of different sub-categories, the CR-V has itself grown slightly bigger and become more advanced and overtly aggressive in design, yet has retained its practical daily drive sensibility.

Not quite as bigger than the original CR-V as its bulging body suggests, the fifth generation CR-V is, however, decidedly more aggressive in design, and now sports a big hexagonal grille, muscular bumpers, protruding wheel-arches, pronounced sills and scalloped bonnet.

Contrasting to earlier models in overall aesthetic effect, the CR-V long ditched the first two generation models’ big upright glasshouse in favour of a low arcing window profile, higher waistline and smaller glasshouse for a hunkered down aesthetic most pronounced in the latest generation.

 

Prodigious and efficient

 

Behind its chunky upright grille and under its ridged clamshell bonnet, the latest CR-V is powered by an entry-level naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre engine or a more powerful, efficient and downsized turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder unit coupled to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for all-wheel-drive versions.

Producing 190BHP at 5,600rpm and 179lb/ft torque throughout a broad 2,000-5,000rpm band, the CR-V’s prodigious 1.5-litre engine carries its 1,598-1,705kg mass through the 0-100km/h benchmark in a reasonably quick 10-seconds and onto 200km/h, and can return restrained 7.1l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

Quick spooling and responsive, with scant little turbo lag from idling, the CR-V’s engine well reconciles a flat, broad torque curve with progressive power delivery that makes it feel that there’s more on offer. Despite peak power arriving somewhat low, the CR-V’s engine nevertheless has a peaky and free-revving feel compared to most turbo engines. Its CVT transmission is meanwhile well-tuned to match its revvy engine and more readily allows it to reach for redline than most CVTs, and has a less elastic feel through ratios.

 

Smooth and eager

 

Smooth and efficient in managing engine speed and ratio changes, CVT transmissions aren’t usually the sportiest or most rewarding, but the CR-V’s system is one of the better such systems, and in sport mode, takes a more aggressive and responsive profile. A rewarding drive by usually uninspired mid-size crossover standards, the CR-V’s high rev engine noise has a slight but pleasant rasp. Meanwhile its electric-assisted steering is quick, direct, sharp and tidily eager into corners with a quick flick of the wrists and little under-steer.

Driving the front wheels under normal conditions and kicking power to the rear as needed to maintain traction and stability, the CR-V, however, proved agile for its segment. Happy being hustled along at brisk pace through switchbacks, the CR-V well controls body lean for a high-riding vehicle and is eager to shift weight to the outside rear wheels to tighten a cornering line, if asked to through tight fast corners. Smooth and stable with good grip, the CR-V is settled over crests, dips and road imperfections.

 

Generous quarters

 

Reassuring at speed and well-refined from road noise and vibrations, the CR-V rides comfortably with its unexaggerated 235/60R18 tyres in higher EX specification, but would be more supple over sudden sharp bumps with the lesser LX specification’s higher sidewall 235/65R17 tyres. 

Comfortable inside, the CR-V’s highly adjustable driving position offer commanding front views spacious and space, with its low console storage area allowing for an airy ambiance and good horizontal knee room. Meanwhile its infotainment screen menus and controls are user-friendly, and its instrumentation clear.

Particularly noteworthy is the CR-V’s generous second row seating, with roomy legroom and headroom for tall passengers, and wide rear door swing angles for easy access. Boot space meanwhile expands from 561-litres to 1,756-litres with rear seats folded. 

Pleasant in cabin design and using good materials and plenty of soft textures, the CR-V EX specification is well-equipped with safety and convenience features, including particularly useful reversing camera, parking sensors and blindspot warning, and dual-zone climate control, sunroof, and 8-speaker sound system with 2 USB ports and 7-inch screen.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

 

Engine: 1.5-litre, transverse 4-cylinders

Bore x stroke: 73 x 89.5mm

Compression ratio: 10.3:1

Valve-train: 16-valve, direct injection, DOHC, variable valve timing and lift control

Gearbox: Continually variable transmission (CVT), four-wheel-drive

Transmission ratios: 0.405-2.645

Reverse/final drive: 1.265-1.859/5.641

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 190 (193) [142] @5,600rpm

Specific power: 126.8BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 118.9BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 179 (243) @2,000-5,000rpm

Specific torque: 162.2Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 152Nm/tonne

0-100km/h: 10-seconds

Top speed: 200km/h

Fuel consumption, urban/extra-urban/combined:8.6-/6.2-/7.1-litres/100km

CO2 emissions, combined: 162g/km 

Fuel capacity: 57-litres

Length: 4,600mm

Width: 1,855mm

Height: 1,689mm

Track, F/R: 1,601/1,629mm

Luggage volume, min/max: 561-/1,123-1,756-litres

Unladen weight: 1,598-1,705kg

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Steering ratio: 12.3:1

Lock-to-lock: 2.34-turns

Turning Circle: 11.4-metres

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multilink double wishbone

Brakes, F/R: Ventilate discs/discs

Tyres: 235/60R18

Price, starting from/as driven: JD32,500/JD36,500 (on-the-road, third party insurance)

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