- Decent technology
- Handles like a house
- Still a bit unexciting
Cat Dow reviews the 2015 Honda CR-V, which boasts improved styling, a new 1.6-litre diesel engine, nine-speed gearbox and better technology.
Honda’s got a bit of a task on its hands. On the one hand, the CR-V is one of the best selling SUVs on the market – selling some 750,000 units in Europe alone, with 225,000 of them in the UK. On the other hand, it’s up against some stiff competition in a growing market where style, efficiency and economy are all key factors in success. But can 2015 Honda CR-V compete?
While the design of Honda CR-V remains largely unchanged, customer feedback has inspired some tweaks to the popular SUV. Wider front bumpers are outlined in chrome trim and the rear lamps have been reshaped. Honda has also supplied a choice of new alloys, which add a small but not insignificant touch of style, like adding a grey silk handkerchief to the breast pocket of a tailored suit.
“The new alloys add a small but not insignificant touch of style, like adding a handkerchief to a suit.” Inside the cabin, the chrome trim theme continues but subtly so. Typical of Honda’s high quality approach, there’s nothing particularly offensive about the dashboard, which has been finished in higher spec materials to reduce cabin noise by a noticeable six per cent. In an ideal world, the top of the centre console would have been moved into a tidy head-up display, which would have allowed for a bigger infotainment screen.
The previous CR-V isn’t especially sexy on the exterior, but while it doesn’t have a wild side that’s not to say there isn’t room inside for extracurricular activities. Or luggage. There’s an impressive 589-litre boot, which grows to 1,648 litres of room with the seats folded down – enough fit two mountain bikes easily into the boot, standing upright. The seats fold easily, too.
In the cabin there are loads of cubby holes, cupholders and fast-folding seats that make the CR-V easy to live with if you have a family.
Performance & handling
The CR-V is a vehicle that rewards conservative driving. It’s available with the choice of 2-litre petrol, 2.2-litre diesel or a new 1.6-litre diesel, which Honda claims offers the best power to fuel consumption ratio of any engine on the market. This one pushes 158bhp and gives 350Nm of torque, so it feels muscular, with 0-62mph coming in 10 seconds flat.
“It feels muscular, with 0-62mph coming in 10 seconds flat.”Almost as importantly, Honda has introduced a nine-speed automatic transmission option which offers silky smooth gear changes and improves efficiency, though it’s only available on diesel models – the petrol gets the old five-speed auto box. A choice of two or four-wheel drive is available.
The driving position is comfortable with plenty of visibility providing a clear view of the road ahead and your immediate surroundings. The ride quality is impressive, too. The new car gets a new front suspension and a tweaked sub-frame, which provides a soft ride, comfortable ride.
“Throw it into a bend enthusiastically and it will lurch alarmingly.”The CR-V has plenty of confidence-inducing grip. There’s no disguising its size, however. Throw it into a bend enthusiastically and it will lurch alarmingly, the gentle tug of the electronically-readjusting seat belt tensing up in the off chance the fancy electronic stability control system is overwhelmed by your idiocy.
The CR-V is as safe as houses. Euro NCAP gives the 2013 model a full five stars, with a 93 per cent adult occupancy safety rating. Its child occupancy score of 74 per cent was less impressive, but only due to the fact it isn’t especially straightforward to install some child restraints. Once they’re in properly, your kid is well protected.
Environment & economy
“The new 1.6-litre engine helps deliver an 11 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.”The new 1.6-litre engine helps deliver an 11 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions with that nine-speed automatic transmission – down to 134g/km. Specced up with manual transmission, that can go as low as 129g/km joining the rapidly growing sub-130g/km club. Membership includes a free tax disc for 12 months, lining your pocket with £110.
Honda claims 57.7mpg, though we achieved between 6.9 and 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres, which roughly calculates to 40.9 miles per gallon. Your mileage may vary.
Equipment & value
The new CRV-’s price is still unconfirmed – Honda expect it will start from around £24,000 – and once you start tacking on extras, that figure starts to compete with more luxury models. That’s where Honda could run into trouble, but if you’re willing to splash out there’s lots to tart it up with.
One of the highlights of the new CR-V is the highly responsive, Android-based seven-inch touchscreen display. Though its size is a little disappointing, it boasts a more intuitive menu than many of its peers, using swipe, pinch and tap gestures in line with what you may expect from a mobile phone.
It’s about as responsive as a mobile, too, with remarkable accuracy and satisfying sensitivity making it easy to use. What’s more, the Garmin sat-nav helpfully shows “photo-realistic” images of junctions and slip roads when you are due to take an exit, so you don’t miss your turn.
“Honda has also introduced an ‘intelligent’ adaptive cruise control, which anticipates vehicles cutting in front of you on the motorway.”The Honda Connect infotainment system can connect via a mobile dongle or through a connected smartphone device and a vast range of audio can be accessed through the ‘aHa’ location-based app, including nearby restaurants, global radio stations and audio books. Of course you still have Bluetooth and USB connectivity with your smartphone to play tracks directly from those.
Honda’s ‘Sensing’ package incorporates a host of safety features, such as Collision Mitigation Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Depart Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition and Blind Spot Warning.
Honda has also introduced an ‘intelligent’ adaptive cruise control, which anticipates vehicles cutting in front of you on the motorway. Rather than accelerating to close the gap (as some humans may be inclined to do) the computerised system gently slows the car using engine braking, letting lane changers safely in front.
The CR-V has always ben smart buy, and this new model has even more going for it. The marketplace may be more competitive now, with a host of excellent rivals, but the current CR-V is still a compelling package.
It may be a little uninspiring to drive, but as a large family vehicle, it’s an attractive proposition. It offers predictably high quality, lots of comfort and space, low running costs decent technology and attractive styling, therefore ticking all relevant boxes.
|Engine||1.6-litre turbo diesel|
|Torque||258lb/ft (350Nm) from 1,250rpm|
|Acceleration||0-62mph in 10 seconds|
|Emissions||134g/km of CO2|