by: Aman Sundher
To most people, the Honda CR-V is the iconic grocery getter. The typical family’s number one choice to drive the kids to school and pickup milk from Superstore. And for good reason too, the CR-V has always been the benchmark in its class. Over 215,000 Honda CR-V’s have been sold since 2008 in Canada alone. It has become so popular that other manufacturers have followed suit with their own SUV’s and now the even smaller SUC’s. Honda has managed to build a substantial reputation among all the other automakers as an extremely reliable manufacturer with an excellent retail value, and to me, that speaks volumes.
Ever since the HR-V came out last year, it seems like the CR-V has had a point to prove. The CR-V still had to prove it’s the older, more sophisticated brother. Honda did a great job updating the exterior styling with the LED daytime running lights and 18” alloy wheels on the touring option. All in all, though, why change what isn’t broken. Even though the CR-V only had a subtle facelift, it still looks great. Nice crisp body lines with just the right amount of chrome accenting. I’m not too sure about the color choices though, they may have gone a little overboard with the Kona Coffee and Mountain Air. Thankfully they kept the standard black, blue and silvers.
Once you’re inside the CR-V, the real reason behind its popularity becomes obvious. The Honda CR-V has the best visibility I have ever seen! I felt like I was in a glass box with wheels. A simple shoulder check quickly cleared any minuscule blindspots from the mirrors and the blind spot camera on the right-hand mirror is an added bonus. The seats are wrapped in soft leather available in 3 different color options, but only with certain exterior colors. The rear seats have plenty of leg room, and they fold completely flat. I’m still not sold on the power lift tailgate, it’s quite slow and clunky. I’m sure there’s a sensor to stop it from hitting something if you park to close, but I’d personally rather just stand back there and open it myself. Unfortunately, the CR-V still hasn’t lost that budget feeling to it. On the highway, the tires made quite a bit of noise and the wind noise was a little ridiculous. The door cards are made of a hard plastic that bends against my knee, and the console felt very cheap and flimsy. I’m not sure what Honda was thinking with the adjustable cup holder design seems like something that will be lost or broken within a few months of owning it.
Honda is boasting 9.1L per 100km in the city and 7.2L per 100km on the highway with their 2.4L engine and CVT transmission. I don’t doubt that at all, but I do doubt the logic behind having 188hp in a 3600lb sport-utility vehicle. The CR-V feels like it struggles to get up to 50km/h, let alone highway speeds. I found myself merging embarrassingly at 85kph on the highway with plenty of run up room, and for all that effort the engine was unbearably loud. Fortunately, the CVT actually does a really good job masking the fact that it is actually a CVT. I honestly didn’t even realize it until I read up on the specs a few days into driving it.
The Real Time AWD system seemed to work well, that being said I only really tested it on a few gravel paths and dirt roads. I did learn that the CR-V does like to get sideways, though. Despite all my complaining the CR-V seems like it’s retained its bullet proof driveline. The engine and transmission always felt solid and the suspension did a great job absorbing any bumps in the road.
All in all, it seems like Honda is being Honda. They have definitely stepped up the style and class in the new CR-V but have done it without ruining the foundation of building reliable, affordable cars for the everyday person. At this rate, I doubt the CR-V is going to lose its throne at the top of the SUV market anytime soon.