The fifth generation of the Honda CR-V is set to make its debut in late September. With both visible and hidden changes, this new model proves to be a game-changer. Honda has made the decision to completely eliminate diesel engines for this SUV, offering only a gasoline engine at launch. However, an eagerly anticipated hybrid version is expected to hit the market in early 2019. Externally, the CR-V embraces a more contemporary style with its rounded edges, while internally, it boasts improved quality and spaciousness. And for the first time ever, the CR-V comes with an optional 7-seat configuration.
Enhanced Interior Quality
The CR-V’s overall build quality has significantly improved, and every interior element is meticulously crafted. The best example of this can be seen in the modular central console. Made up of multiple parts and a movable hard plastic tray, this area is prone to creaking and vibrations. Surprisingly, this is not the case here, as the console’s construction is flawless. The quality of the other materials has also improved, delivering a satisfying overall experience. However, the design can be somewhat confusing, especially towards the middle of the dashboard where there are numerous cuts and angles. The CR-V also comes with a range of additional features and functionalities that can make the overall ergonomics feel a bit overwhelming. For instance, the steering wheel is adorned with multiple complex buttons, while the 7-inch central touchscreen display is not very legible when it comes to navigation, as it tends to display too much information, leaving less space for the actual map. We were also not impressed with the positioning of this screen, as it could have been better integrated into the dashboard. On the other hand, for models equipped with the head-up display, we appreciated the convenience of having a single easily accessible button to manage the system, located conveniently to the left of the steering wheel.
Another standout feature is the improved spaciousness. The impression of space is significant, providing passengers with ample room to stretch out. The seats offer good comfort and decent support. Thanks to the increased wheelbase of 4 cm (the distance between the front and rear wheels), the cabin benefits from an extra 5 cm of legroom, making the CR-V a true reference in this regard. Rear passengers are provided with sliding rear seats, allowing for an additional 15 cm of legroom in the 7-seat version. However, while the rear seats are highly appreciated, the same can’t be said for the third-row seats. As is typically the case with vehicles like the Renault Scenic or the Peugeot 5008, these seats are quite restricted and are not well-suited for taller individuals. Nevertheless, accessing them is fairly convenient thanks to the sliding rear bench, which can also be tilted forward. It’s worth noting that the rear doors open almost 90 degrees, providing ample space for getting in and out of the vehicle.
Finally, although the glove compartment is ridiculously small and impractical due to its shape, the CR-V’s cargo capacity has significantly increased. The trunk is also incredibly easy to load, thanks to its cubic shape, leaving minimal wasted space. The new CR-V offers an impressively long maximum loading length of 1,830 mm (250 mm longer compared to the previous model) or 1,800 mm in the 7-seat version.
Behind the Wheel Experience
The new CR-V marks the end of the era of diesel engines, offering only one option: a four-cylinder 1.5 VTEC gasoline engine (also found in the Civic and Jazz in different power levels). In the CR-V, it delivers 173 hp at 5,600 rpm when paired with a six-speed manual transmission, and 193 hp for CVT models. The maximum torque reaches 220 Nm between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm, and 243 Nm between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm, respectively. Regardless of the configuration, the engine is extremely pleasant to use and provides a smooth driving experience. Acceleration is satisfactory, and the SUV performs flawlessly on all types of roads. We particularly appreciated the quietness during operation and the responsiveness of the engine. One minor drawback on CVT-equipped versions is that when accelerating strongly, the engine takes a moment to return to its regular RPM, giving the unusual sensation that it’s “locked” at higher RPM. The advantage, however, is that it offers immediate power when required to accelerate again.
On the road, the overall noise insulation in all versions of the CR-V is excellent. Only the models with four-wheel drive produce slightly more tire noise, but it’s not a deal-breaker. The comfort of the ride is even more enjoyable due to the well-performing suspension, striking the right balance between comfort and handling. While the CR-V may not exhibit truly sporty behavior, it handles well on winding roads and minimizes body roll. Even on rough surfaces, the suspension absorbs all road imperfections, providing optimal comfort for passengers.
During our test drives, regardless of the mechanical configuration, we recorded an average fuel consumption of around 7 liters per 100 km, which is quite reasonable for a vehicle of this type.
In urban environments, the overall visibility is average. The prominent shape of the hood restricts the driver’s side view, while the sloping roofline and narrow windows limit the rear three-quarter view. Parking aids are essential here. Fortunately, the CR-V has a small turning radius and responsive steering, making maneuvering easy.
The new platform used in the CR-V incorporates a new generation of ultra-high-strength steel, guaranteeing better mechanical performance. Furthermore, innovative assembly techniques enhance rigidity and effectively control noise and vibrations. Safety is also enhanced through the introduction of new safety and driving assistance systems by the new CR-V. Examples include the advanced 4×4 transmission management, collision warning, lane departure warning system, and intelligent adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the set speed based on road sign indications. These features make Honda confident that the new CR-V will receive a 5-star rating in EuroNCAP crash tests.
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