2012 Honda CR-V | road test

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

Quick Review

GoodGood Quality, space, fuel economy
BadBadDull engine, TFT screen resolution
SpecsSpecs2.4-litre inline-4; 188bhp, 221Nm
PricePriceAED 125,000
RatingEditors Rating Four Star

Every time a new version of a popular car is launched, our phones are inundated with calls from eager buyers waiting to know everything about it. The frequency of these calls is directly proportional to the car’s popularity, especially if it’s an economical nameplate. Obviously, the CR-V is one of the most popular cars in the Middle East and the questions just kept on coming. So, what is the fourth generation all about?

In terms of external dimensions, it’s almost similar to its predecessor. The overall length has reduced by 25mm and the height has gone down by 35mm. The new version is also 36kg lighter and the wheelbase is identical at 2,620mm. Honda claims over 60 per cent of parts have been designed ground up for the new CRV. Changes have been made to the chassis, suspension and the drivetrain to improve performance, rigidity and reduce fuel consumption.

The engine is the same 2.4-litre i-VTEC that has been around for ages albeit with a few improvements and a slightly increased power and torque output. Honda claims a 5.4 per cent reduction in internal friction and a more efficient alternator. Maximum power is 188bhp at 7,000rpm compared to 180bhp at 6,800 rpm of the older version. Maximum torque is 221Nm at 4,400rpm, which is mere 3Nm more than it’s predecessor. Transmission is a reworked version of the existing 5-speed automatic and a six speed would have helped in increasing the overall mileage.

The Honda CR-V was never known for its straight-line performance and the newer version is no different. It was always aimed at being a frugal commuter and that’s what it does best. We got an overall fuel efficiency of 11.6kmpl in mixed driving conditions and that is impressive considering our restless driving style. With maximum torque and power delivered at a rather high rpm, the CR-V does feel a bit sluggish. The engine takes its own time to deliver power once you floor the pedal and acceleration is modest at best. One troubling factor is the loud whine from the engine that penetrates the cabin while you accelerate. This car needs some more noise insulation, which is for sure.

The older hydraulically controlled all wheel drive system has now given way to a more advanced electronic system. This all-new Real Time Intelligent Control System as Honda likes to call it debuts on this new CR-V. Compared to the previous 4WD system, the electronically activated AWD system is claimed to offer a faster, more intuitive initial response when a loss of traction is detected.

Driving around town, the CR-V feels right at home. It’s easy to understand why this car has been the popular choice among families around the world. It has all the right credentials of an easy to drive, practical and economical car. The electronic power steering is effortless and the ride is well cushioned. It’s a well thought after product and over the years Honda has found out ways to make this car even better.

The EX Leather variant, which we drove, had Bluetooth connectivity, reversing camera and dual zone climate control. These features are standard on the EX variant as well while the base LX variant gets a regular air conditioner and no centre mounted screen.

Compared to the previous-generation, the new model takes on a more aggressive stance. The all-new styling is certainly refreshing with the sleek front-end design and the whole treatment it receives around the D pillar. Overall, the new Honda CR-V looks modern and I think it looks better and more balanced than its predecessor. Honda has also tried to make it appear more rugged with the side skirting and the chunky skid plate.

The interior is top notch for a car in this segment. The quality and the feel certainly don’t leave anything to complain about. The only thing I think could have been better is the resolution of the dashboard-mounted 5-inch TFT display. It does the job but the text and the graphics appear straight out of first generation Nokia colour display phones. The redesigned instrumentation cluster is the main highlight of the new Honda CR-V. The multi-layered look and the design is unquestionably one of the best among its rivals and it isn’t complicated to read out either.

The new Honda CR-V is equipped with standard safety features such as dual-stage airbags for the front passengers while top of the line EX variant gets side and curtain airbags. Hill start assist, traction control, ABS and EBD also come standard on all models. Camera assisted reverse is available in the EX and the EX Leather variants.

The Honda CR-V with its low ownership cost, car-like handling and adequate comfort guarantees to be a satisfying package for most customers who need a good family car. The new 2012 Honda CR-V doesn’t offer anything significantly more than its predecessor and stays true to the tradition of being one of the best crossovers you can buy today.

Specifications

Price as tested: AED 125,000

Price range: AED 105,000 – AED 125,000

Drivetrain

Engine: 2.4-litre inline-4 i-VTEC
Layout: Front engine, permanent all wheel drive
Max. power: 188bhp @ 7200rpm
Max torque: 221Nm @ 4200rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Dimensions (mm)

Length: 4550
Width: 1820
Height: 1685
Wheelbase: 2625
Curb Weight: 1595kg
Fuel tank capacity: 58 litre
Seating capacity: 5

Tyre size: 225/60R18

Competitors

Toyota RAV-4, Ford Escape, Mitsubishi Outlander

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