Honda CR-V: big in stance, big on features

2016-08-24 06:00
 Changes to the exterior have given the Honda CR-V a bolder look and it is slightly wider and longer than the previous model.                                  Photo: SUPPLIED

Changes to the exterior have given the Honda CR-V a bolder look and it is slightly wider and longer than the previous model. Photo: SUPPLIED

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IN the fiercely competitive SUV market, Honda is packing a punch with its CR-V range – which offers high specs in even the bottom of the range models for those who like to own an SUV with plenty of comfort features while having to consider the budget.

The range, which has models priced from R388 200 to R608 400, also caters for those who love high-tech features and can afford it.

The CR-V was upgraded in the middle of last year. The improvements range from a bolder exterior design, to enhanced levels of standard equipment and improved ride with lower noise levels.

Express on Wheels spent a week with the automatic version of the entry-level CR-V (priced from R403 600) and took it on the mom’s taxi route as well as a daytrip to Grahamstown for a school sports day.

Even this bottom-of-the range model is loaded with features and is a big car, with big features for those without the big budget. Let’s face it – many people who would like to buy an SUV cannot afford the top of the range models - and while all the high-tech features offered in these top of the range models are “nice” to have, they certainly are not a necessity.


Changes to the exterior have given it a bolder look. The changes to the front and rear bumpers have resulted in a shape that is slightly wider and longer than that of the previous model.

In my opinion the CR-V has a look that would appeal to both men and women – it stands out in the parking lot with its big frame but it is not too bulky or muscular.

Modern touches to the front include LED daytime running lights and prominent fog lights.


One of the stand-out features of the interior is the spaciousness. The simplicity of the layout of the dashboard and instrument panel gives it an understated and uncluttered look, while the many stowage spaces give it practicality in bucket loads.

Controls on the steering wheel help one to have the audio system as well as trip computer info at one’s finger tips.

Women, especially, will like the high seating position. To ensure that gear changing is still done comfortably, the gear lever is positioned high up.

This positioning of the gear lever also creates a lot of space between the driver and passenger seat for clever storage spaces in the centre armrest.

The handbrake is also a foot brake – so this doesn’t take up space there either. The footbrake did, however, take some time to get used to. Fortunately – with the CR-V automatic model being equipped with hill start assist there was no rollback when stopping on inclines, so the foot handbrake only had to be used when parking the car.

In the back there is also ample leg and headroom for the passengers – who have a fold-down armrest with cupholders at their disposal.

Seats can be folded down using one hand only.

The boot is a decent size and its floor is protected with a durable material which can simply be wiped down in case of spills. Adding to this practicality in the boot are plenty of clever little storage spaces for smaller article that you don’t want rolling around. There is also a bootcover to hide your cargo.

Model range

The revised Honda CR-V range consists of six models offering four trim levels and two engine choices (2.0 and 2.4 litre), as well as manual and automatic transmissions.

Even the entry-level Comfort version gets features such as a six-speaker sound system with USB connection, electric windows and mirrors, dual-zone automatic air conditioner, cruise control and rear parking sensors.

The Elegance version comes with leather trim, electric-adjustable, heated front seats, adjustable armrests and the 7-inch touchscreen display for the infotainment system.

There are also retractable side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera linked to the touchscreen display.

Executive models have 18-inch alloys and high-intensity discharge headlights with active cornering lights, a sunroof, smart entry and keyless stop-start.

The new range-topping Exclusive has in addition features such as adaptive cruise control, lane assistance and collision-mitigation braking.


While not the smallest car around, it certainly does have a car-like ride with the added advantage of its high seating position. Clever design has also resulted in good all round visibility.

According to Honda, the CR-V’s suspension has been upgraded as well as the steering for sharper turning and manoeuvrability.

The noise insulation is very good. The CR-V offers a smooth ride with great handling and precise steering.

On the trip to Grahamstown, the automatic gearbox was at times a bit of a challenge while trying to overtake on the uphills.

Overall, however, on the day-to-day commute and straights the gear transitions were smooth and the ride fuss-free and enjoyable.

The CR-V features an Econ mode, which helps to achieve maximum fuel efficiency.

Honda states the 2,0-litre engine’s combined cycle fuel consumption is 7,7 litres/100 km for the manual transmission version and 7,6 litres/100 km for the automatic version.

During the road test the CR-V realised fuel consumption figures of 9.7 litres/100km on average on the open road on the Grahamstown trip, while the fuel consumption after a week of driving in town was 10.7 litres/100km.

Safety and security

Standard across all models are ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Emergency Brake Assist.

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), emergency stop light system, front and rear fog lamps and LED daytime running lights are also standard, while the automatic transmission models also have Hill Start Assist (HSA).

The flagship 2.4 Exclusive also adds Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) to the already extensive list.

Security features include an alarm/immobiliser, remote central locking, automatic speed-sensitive door locking and selective unlocking, keyless tailgate unlocking and a lockable glove compartment.


Prices include a three-year/100 000 km warranty, while a five-year/90 000 km service plan is included. A one-year AA roadside assistance package is also included. Services on all models are at 15 000 km intervals.

Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort FWD Man R388 200

Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort FWD Auto R403 600

Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance FWD Man R440 800

Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance FWD Auto R456 200

Honda CR-V 2.4 Executive AWD Auto R568 100

Honda CR-V 2.4 Exclusive AWD Auto R608 400

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