In the second half of the 90s some small to medium four-wheel drives came onto the market and we were on our way to Sports Utility Vehicles. One of the earliest was the Honda CRV.
No clearer indication than the move away from the bush bashing image was the CRV’s all-wheel drive system which operated mostly in front-wheel-drive mode and gave power to the rear wheels only after the car sensed that you needed it to overcome slippage which horrified the purists.
Honda has now launched their 5th generation CRV to the market. The all new Honda CRV comes in 5 model variants, both 2WD and AWD, but with one engine and transmission combination.
The previous Honda CRV ‘s have been very successful with over 9 million sold worldwide and over 170,000 sold in Australia. The 5th generation CRV is totally new with 0 % carryover.
CRV exterior is more evolution than revolution. It has a longer bonnet and short rear overhang that makes it look modern without going over the top with too many graphic design features.
The nose is part way between a strong SUV and a sedan, the side and back of the vehicle are quite plain with most of its character coming from the shape of the windows. The rear window has just enough of a slope to avoid looking like a square, soulless station wagon.
The increase in dimensions include wheelbase 44 mm, length 11 mm and width 35 mm. They have improved ground clearance with the all-wheel-drive versions 10 mm higher. Honda claims it to be the most aerodynamically efficient vehicle in its class which they achieve with narrow A-pillars, flush mounted glass, hidden windscreen wipers with flat bands and sealed hinges.
Once you step inside the overall impression is of space. Honda have maximised the internal space. Honda has designed an alternative dash that has digital readout and a host of information. It is unusual but easy to read and clear to understand. Stalks for the indicators are clear of the steering wheel spokes so are easy to see and access.
The steering wheel houses what has now become familiar controls. Honda’s continuing decision to mount the transmission lever on the centre stack allows a flexible and large centre console storage area. There is ample room for bottles in the door pockets and rear doors as well.
The black/grey interior with silver trim doesn’t jump out at you but equally it didn’t look cheap. One key feature is that the ‘A’ pillars are resigned to provide more visibility through roundabouts and corners etc. Visibility through the rear is pretty good, but another key feature is the reversing camera, which has three modes and provides excellent clarity. T
he general seating and driving position was extremely comfortable and there was good legroom in both the front and second row of seats. Visibility is also improved. And there is a fold down centre arm rest for drinks and two USB ports for the kid’s electronic gadgets. The rear doors open 90 degrees to allow ease of access. One failing for a family vehicle is the fact that child seat tethers are at the roof in the rear not on the seat backs. This severely restricts the flexibility of the vehicle and is a major flaw.
The rear seats also fold flat to give a rear boot area some 1.83m in length with plenty of volume as well. The cargo space with the second row of seats raised is 522 litres which is 34 litres less than the previous model. It would also be good to see some hooks or other restraints so your shopping doesn’t float around in the luggage area.
In the cargo area there were two half-decent lights, one on each side which is better than nothing. The boot area has an adjustable height rear door that has a safety sensor if someone’s fingers are in the way or standing behind the door when it opens. The load area is lower and overall space is voluminous. There is a full size spare alloy as well.
There is a 7-inch touch screen which is a little small but fortunately it has Apple CarPlay® and Android® Auto. The Advanced Display Audio system offers most popular audio formats, including AM/FM radio, Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming, digital radio (DAB+).
Other features include smart keyless entry, an 8-speaker sound system, electric parking brake with automatic brake hold, LED daylight running lights, 18 inch wheels, a power tailgate, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors and dusk sensing headlights.
Continue with a sunroof, heated front seats and an electrically operated driver’s seat. Top of the range specific features are LED headlights and active cornering lights, privacy glass and auto dimming rear view mirror.
Drive and Engine
The VTEC turbo in line 4-cylinder engine provides 140 kW/240 Nm running through a new CVT and has either 2WD or Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™ available. The CVT doesn’t like outright acceleration, but is responsive and with a flat torque delivery.
The 5th generation CRV is a quiet, enjoyable ride and the handling has also been improved significantly. It holds the road well and turns in to corners with confidence. The steering is helped with a new dual-pinion, variable gear ratio Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering system.
Manoeuvring the vehicle is made easier and safer with a reversing cameras and Honda’s LaneWatch. This provides a camera to give a broader view of the passenger-side roadway with a real-time picture on the centre navigation screen when you put your left-hand blinker on or you can switch it on all the time.
There are a number of new safety features on the CRV including: LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, driver attention monitor, tyre pressure monitoring system and trailer stability assist, front and rear parking sensors and rain sensing wipers.
VTi-LX specifically features the Honda Sensing Suite of driver assist technologies which includes: adaptive cruise control with low speed follow; forward collision warning; collision mitigation braking system; lane departure warning; road departure mitigation system; and lane keeping assist system.
Also Look At
- Cavernous internal space
- Standard features
- Value for money
Not so Good Bits:
- No diesel option
- Noisy CVT
- Child seat fixing points
The Honda CRV hits a sweet spot between conservative and exciting. The CRV VTi-LX AWD SUV has an almost unbeatable combination of practical use of very large internal space, comfort, ease of use and AWD capability, stacked with features and safety and excellent value for money. Honda is back and the VTi-LX AWD SUV is a worthy nominee in the awards
FACTS AND FIGURES: 2019 Honda CRV VTI-LX AWD
- Engine: 1.5 L 4Cyl Petrol producing 140kW/240Nm
- Transmission: 6 Speed CVT AWD
- Warranty: 5 Yr./ Unlimited km plus 5 Yrs. Roadside Assist
- Safety: 5-star
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $44,290 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.