Review: Fourth-Generation Honda CR-V

The fourth-Generation Honda CR-V (Photo: Adrian Wong)

The latest CR-V—the fourth generation to be introduced since the first emerged in the late 1990s—comes with an improved look and better fuel efficiency, among others in the upgraded list of convenient and useful features.

I've always had a curiosity to find out what the acronyms in a car model name mean, and in the case of the CR-V, it means Comfortable Runabout Vehicle according to Honda Japan. I cannot think of a more fitting description for this crossover SUV. With the wider array of features in the CR-V, the meaning behind its name just became more apt.

Sporting an aesthetic redesign inside and out, the new CR-V takes on a more aggressive form from before, with a touch of futurism in its fluid lines. The CR-V's internals come with a choice of two engine variants—the 2-liter base model and the 2.4-liter which we test drove here. Matched with a five-speed automatic transmission, the higher-spec CR-V has paddle shifts that you can work the engine with.

Driving the CR-V was a rather quiet affair, as good insulation of the cabin kept the road noise where it should be—outside of the car. Responding swiftly to my right foot, the CR-V was quick on the get-up and smooth on the go.

Performance figures stand at a maximum of 190bhp at 7,000rpm and 222Nm at 4,400rpm. Put the pedal to the floor from a stationary stance and you should get to 100km/h in about 10.8 seconds, but that's not something I would do often with the CR-V as I prefer to cruise along and enjoy the ride.

The extensive list of features of the CR-V 2.4 makes the drive a lot more convenient. First, you get into the car with the Smart Key System (just walk right up to the car and it will automatically unlock when you pull on the door handle upon detecting the key on you).

Next, start the engine with the push start button, then get yourself comfortable in the 10-way power driver's seat before adjusting the auto-dimming rear view mirror. As a result of the flexibility in being able to find the most suited sitting position, driver visibility is great and it helps to see farther ahead so as to spot obstacles better.

On the five-inch Intelligent Multi Information Display screen, key in the address of your destination using the Honda Navigation System, which comes with Bluetooth, DVD player and a USB port for your own playlists. Open the sunroof if you want some natural light and air in its roomy cabin, or set the cabin atmosphere with the dual-zone climate control and you are pretty much good to go.

Move off after releasing the foot brake and engaging your gears with the gear lever that is intuitively sitting on the center console just below the audio system so you need not reach down but simply reach across. Then there is the reverse camera which will be a great help in getting you out of tight parking lots or narrow spaces.

During the drive, you can use the cruise control via the buttons on the steering wheel to set the car at a pre-determined speed so you can give your right foot a short break. This is something I don't use very much during the day due to traffic congestion.

Headlights and rain-sensing wipers are automatically activated in accordance to the weather, which is very useful in unpredictable tropical climate that is prone to unleashing sudden rain without warning. Should you need more space, there is a new one-pull lever, a folding mechanism that gets the rear seats down quicker and easier.

Honda's new Eco Assist (short for Ecological Drive Assist System) is also found standard in both engine variants of the CR-V. It serves as a guidance to help you boost fuel economy by working with the engine, cruise control, transmission, heating and cooling systems. Basically, while you are driving, the bars to the sides of the speedometer will change colors—blue or green—according to how you drive. To make it easier, just remember having it green is best as that means you are driving economically!

With its brilliant mix of driver-friendly attributes and comfortable cruising abilities, the new CR-V is well-poised to give its rivals a run for their money. Do note that the 2-liter base model comes with a slightly shorter list of features—for example, the Honda Navigation System is only in the 2.4-liter CR-V—but at no less the driving experience.

Technical Specifications — Honda CR-V
Engine: 2,354cc DOHC i-VTEC 16-valve inline-4
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Max Power: 190bhp at 7,000rpm
Max Torque: 222Nm at 4,400rpm
0 — 100km/h: 10.8 secs
Top Speed: 190km/h
Price: Ask your local Honda dealer

Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a prominent automotive blogger based in Singapore. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.

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