When the original Honda CR-V (which means Compact Recreational Vehicle in full) debuted in the late 1990s, its mission was simple; to offer a distinct alternative to more mainstream mid- and full-size large SUVs. With its car-based design, economical four-cylinder engine, saloon like ride and handling, the first Honda CR-V was an instant hit. Priced competitively as well as offering plenty of passenger room and cargo capacity for most people’s needs, the Honda CR-V continues to enjoy strong sales numbers and loyalty from consumers.
In 2011, Honda introduced the fourth-generation model, which continued the past models’ successive history. More than 4 million units have found homes across the world since the CR-V was introduced. The fourth-generation model has sold more than 50,000 units all over the world. Time has come for an all-new fifth generation model to take its place. The fully redesigned and reengineered all-new CR-V is the fifth generation of Honda’s immensely popular five-passenger compact SUV.
Slightly longer, wider and taller than the previous-generation CR-V, the new model is the ideal size to lead the compact SUV segment. Although the new vehicle’s silhouette is reminiscent of the previous Honda CR-V, its details clearly, define it as the next generation. The all-new CR-V styling heads in a fresh new direction with an aggressive attitude, thanks to crisper and sharper front-end design elements, aggressive stylized headlights surrounded by a wing-shaped LED DRL (daytime running lights) array on all models, and wide, muscular fenders. The long hood, longer wheelbase, short rear overhang and new dual exhaust outlets give the SUV a more sophisticated and athletic presence.
The CR-V cabin form is wind-tunnel tested for minimal aerodynamic drag, and features flush glass, significantly narrower A-pillars, and precisely shaped and tailored mirrors. The airflow separates cleanly off the rear of the vehicle via a spoiler positioned above the backlight. Emphatic character lines on the body sides and an increase in wheel sizes to 17 and 18 inches further add to the vehicle’s appeal.
The large tailgate opening allows easy loading and unloading of even bulky items. Finally, bright LED taillights, arranged in Honda’s characteristic wing design, help distinguish the fifth-generation CR-V at a glance. Adding convenience is a Honda-first available Hands Free Access Power Tailgate, which allows opening and closing the tailgate simply by kicking a foot to activate a sensor under the rear of the vehicle. Completing the rear design are sporty dual exhausts.
With a choice of a powerful 2.4-liter or an all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line 4 units, the all-new CR-V offers exceptional fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive performance. Both engines are paired with Continuously Variable Transmissions and are offered in front-wheel drive or with reengineered Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System for all-weather performance and control.
With Real Time AWD, engine torque (up to 40-percent) is sent to the rear wheels, based on the driving conditions. The result is improved performance in low traction conditions when AWD comes into play. The driver can simply step on the accelerator and let the system maximize use of available grip and climbing capability. System operation is completely automatic and virtually transparent in smoothness.
The 2.4-litre inline-4 power unit has an output of 137 kW (184 hp) and 245 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption for the unit is rated at 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres when equipped with AWD and 0.3 less on a front wheel set up.
The all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected inline-4 engine with dual variable timing control that is the most powerful engine ever offered in the CR-V. The engine is rated at 141 kW (190 hp) and 243 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is a reasonable 7.8L/100 km when equipped with front wheel drive and 8.1 litres when equipped with AWD.
Every CR-V is equipped with a green ECON button located on the centre console near the shift lever. Activating ECON mode helps improve fuel efficiency by modifying throttle mapping. The all-new CR-V’s standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) offers smooth and predictable gear ratio transitions and excellent acceleration.
The all-new CR-V’s chassis has evolved to provide more agile and confident handling, greater refinement, additional ground clearance, and superior overall versatility. Increased front and rear track widths combined with front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension with specially tuned low-friction dampers and tubular front and solid rear stabilizer bars promote responsive turn-in and flatter cornering. A new dual-pinion, variable gear ratio Electric Power Steering (EPS) system also contributes to the CR-V’s direct and satisfying steering feel.
All trims include fluid-filled suspension bushings for improved ride quality and isolation from road noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control and a 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, and a new electric brake booster (EBB) add to the CR-V’s capability.
Straight Driving Assist reduces steering effort when driving on sloped or crowned roads, while Agile Handling Assist uses the brakes to improve both turning response and cornering ability. An Electric Parking Brake (EPB), Automatic Brake Hold and Hill Start Assist add convenience in traffic or on hills.
The all-new CR-V interior features high-quality premium touches and upscale materials. Highlights include a soft-touch instrument panel upper surface and soft door upper panel. Fit, finish and materials have received close attention, and soft leather seating is standard. There is new instrumentation, and a full-colour 7-inch Driver Information Interface (DII) display, and 7-inch colour touchscreen Display Audio system with a clean and sleek appearance.
Critical used systems and controls in the CR-V are positioned within easy reach of the driver. Frequently used controls for the systems are conveniently positioned on the steering wheel. The main instrumentation is an easy-to-read analog design, supplemented with digital and graphic displays.
The interior has a wide range of storage features including the newly designed center console. With the CR-V’s new Electric Parking Brake, there is no need for a traditional manual parking brake handle on the center console, which opens up a considerable amount of space.
The front bucket seats are designed to provide welcoming support for a wide range of body types, along with secure lateral support for aggressive cornering. To help improve the forward view and create a feeling of openness for rear seat passengers, the front seatbacks have a narrow upper profile and compact headrests.
For superior rear passenger comfort and cargo carrying versatility, the all-new CR-V has an all-new one-motion dive-down 60/40 split-rear seat design. The design also allows a single motion to return each side to the upright position. With supportive padding, 2-position reclining seatbacks, a nearly flat floor with added toe room under the front seats, and an increase in legroom of 2.1-inches, the SUV’s backseat offers a new level of passenger comfort.
When cargo carrying is a priority, the seats can be quickly lowered to provide a large, flat cargo deck. Each side of the split-folding seat is operated independently via an easily accessible release lever, one on each side of the cargo area. For easy loading, the CR-V has a lift-in height that is among the lowest in the class. Underfloor storage is available just behind the rear seats; for maximum cargo capacity, the rear cargo floor can be set in a low position to open up even more space.
The outgoing CR-V was still selling at a class-leading clip, so there was no pressing reason to change course. Everyone would have understood if Honda made some superficial design tweaks and called it a day. Instead, the fifth-generation CR-V, a redo from the ground up, decisively parts ways with its competent but conservative predecessor. The styling has gone from anonymous to awesome. Honda Kenya, an affiliate of Trans Africa Motors, is the place to visit for everything Honda. The firm is located along Mombasa Road in the outskirts of Nairobi. Pricing for the all-new Honda C-RV will be confirmed once the model lands on Kenyan shores.
Quote: With a choice of a powerful 2.4-liter in-line 4 or an all-new 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line 4 the all-new CR-V offers exceptional fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive performance.
What we like
- Great design
- Powerful and economical engines
- Proven reliability
What we dislike
- Some extras are expensive
- The 2.4 litre unit struggles compared to the turbo unit.
- CVT can lag when ECON mode is switched on