The compact crossover segment is a tricky one. It is where every contender is pushing the limit to outgrow the segment itself, while keeping the price grounded. It is where one-upmanship shows up in gadgetry borrowed from the executive segment and legroom seems to grow twice as fast as the vehicle dimensions. It is the pi (chart) everyone wants the largest slice of, and the Honda CR-V in its fifth generation seems ready to claim more than its regular share!
THE DIMENSIONS: L X W X H 4586 x 1855 x 1678 Wheelbase: 2660 Curb weight: 1521 – 1618 kg, 17” and 18” wheels, Cargo volume: 1100 L, Ground Clearance: 199 – 210 mm
THE SPECS: 2.4L, 184 hp @ 6400 rpm, 244 Nm @ 3900 rpm, Mixed test fuel efficiency: 10.0 km/L
SAFETY: Most of the specs are standard. Read Family Drive segment in the review for more info.
THE PRICE: LX: AED 89,900 LX Plus: AED 99,900 EX Plus: AED 113,900 Touring: AED 125,900
UPSIDE: Excellent storage, Elegant cabin, Driver assistance features as standard, Premium convenience, Improved Telematics
FLIPSIDE: Stiff ride, Limited off road capability, Rear styling
Continue reading the review or watch the One Minute Drive on YouTube or the Video Window of our home page.
The Honda CR-V has take ahead its snazzy styling to a more masculine manifestation of itself. The bonnet is longer and rises sharply with some hunk to show on both sides. Most people will agree the front looks good, and definitely better than the rear. The rear is still more or less spine-shaped, like the previous model, but this time there is a stronger backbone too – I mean the new 2017 CR-V drives better, streamlines power and grips the ground better! Honda’s designers have been giving particular attention to the wheels. The 2-wheel drive versions (LX and LX Plus) have 17” wheels while the All Wheel Drive models (EX Plus and Touring) get 18”.
As I drove along, through the side view mirrors, for a moment I thought Spiderman was clinging on to the rear, grabbing both C-pillars with his vacuum-cupped hands. As it turned out, they were the quirky red bumps of the new tail lamp units!
Honda CR-V 2017 looks good in 9 exterior colours and ivory interiors. Black interiors are available only with gunmetal-coloured exterior. By the way, I am yet to see another cabin that makes hard plastic look like wood without being cheesy!
The new CR-V maintains the same 2.4 L engine with direct injection that yields 184 hp and 244 Nm of torque. But to most drivers, the CR-V drive has improved by the modification of Honda’s CVT with something they call G-shift control.
I feel sad for the CVT but it’s drivers who are to blame for this chant from automakers: “The CVT that doesn’t feel like a CVT!” On a lighter vein, they are trying to redefine CVT – as in, the ‘continuous’ drone of the transmission is interrupted to keep it ‘variable’ by dropping a bit before picking up again – mimicking the pattern of gearshift in a regular automatic! That said, the drive is unhurt – only better! And good news: the typically Japanese fidgety rawness of the shifter has mellowed a lot.
Apart from equipping the vehicle with an AWD, nowhere has Honda said this is a vehicle that will guide you through the perilous paths of adventure. For whatever it is worth, there is 4 cm more ground clearance while a flatter fuel tank helps to keep the Centre of Gravity low. The steering is engaging and even though the ride retains its stiff feeling, bumps are smoothed over nicely!
There is an ECO mode and a Sport wedge you can draw your gear into. But there is no real difference and I don’t mind that. Saving a little with no loss in driving comfort is a good thing after all. And together with the tweaked low-friction dampers and stabliser bars, the corners are quicker and the sport mode satisfies you with unhesitant power, even while climbing! As for those who start twitching about the natural drone at Wide Open Throttle, well… behave, and it will behave, too!
The brakes in the new CR-V are designed to be more consistent. They now have an Electronic Brake Booster (EBB) instead of the usual vacuum brake booster. In hydraulically assisted braking, frequent braking might not restore the vacuum quickly enough; so much so that it would sometimes feel like you are pushing against a wall. New electronics keeps things consistent.
Cabin and Controls
The Honda cabin has outgrown the time when the most exciting thing you could do was changing wallpapers. The new CR-V has less buttons but more functions that make driving easier, and more enjoyable.
The most striking thing is the absence of the dual screen. The 7” touch screen guided me through a host of functions, and when I flicked on the right indicator, the right lanes lit up on the same screen, clear and bright. That is Honda’s now familiar LANE WATCH function – available in the EX Plus and the Touring versions. Besides, key functions of your smartphone, including smartphone powered GPS navigation and voice controlled search capabilities can be integrated with the touch screen using Apple CarPlay™ and AndroidAuto™ platforms.
New for the Driver Information Interface is the option to customize and choose only what you wish to see. Here, you can see the graphic rise of torque sent to the wheels – just an affirmation that up to 40% of torque in the new CR-V is relayed to the rear wheels while accelerating. New for 2017, the Driver Attention Monitor reads steering inputs after 30 minutes of driving, and gives a vibration alert if things get sloppy – available in the two top trims. The navigation is simple and uses vivid, Garmin-like graphics. That sort of attention doesn’t seem to go to audio and radio experience in the CR-V.
A 180º multi-view camera view with guidelines is standard, supplemented by rear parking sensors in all except the base version. Power adjustment for seat positioning, along with lumbar support, is available only in the Touring version.
The Honda CR-V 2017 has one of the most spacious cabins in the compact crossover segment – for passengers and even more so for cargo. Rear AC ducts would have been terribly missed had they been absent. Dual zone AC and remote engine start help the CR-V to keep its cool even in the heat of June. This cabin might not be the quietest, but it has benefited from the ‘active noise cancellation’ that cuts out irksome vehicular sounds while cruising. The front seats have been sculpted to afford more visibility for rear passengers. Good thinking, Honda!
Growing by 3 cm doesn’t mean much till you realize that 5 cm of legroom and 43 L of cargo room have been added! The side pockets have space for bottles, but the bins are shallow. One-touch fold flat seats (60-40) add to the ease of stowing and storage, and so does the automatic tailgate that can be programmed to open only as high as you want.
57% of the steel used to build the CR-V is of ultra high strength, so you might want to close the doors after children. They are lethargic – the doors, not the children!
Safety standards are higher and they are standard, mostly. Except for the side and curtain airbags available in the Touring grade and Driver Attention Monitor in the top two trim levels, everything else is available on every Honda CR-V 2017. ABS with EBD, Vehicle stability assist with traction control system, Hill start assist, tyre pressure monitor, Agile handling assist, brake override, ECU immobilizer and driver and passenger airbags. (Agile handling assist applies brakes lightly on the inside of the wheels for more accurate turn in.)
Other useful standard features are electric parking brake, auto brake hold, hands-free telephone and headlight auto-off timer, besides the statutory Daytime Running Lights. This sort of progress, I like!
Touring model only: Navigation, Leather seats with electrically powered adjustments for seat and lumbar support, auto headlights, rain sensing wipers, side and curtain airbags
The Essential Honda CR-V 2017
The fifth generation of Honda’s not-so-compact crossover does have enough to warrant a generation milestone. The AWD versions are a purposeful investment, not only because of better traction, but also because most of the premium features are available in them.