Review: Honda CRV holding its place firmly in the SUV market
Truth be told, many persons loved the front half of the previous model CRV but felt a bit indifferent about the C pillar to the trunk, it just seemed out of place. Now Honda has addressed this problem and has redesigned this flub, which now makes the vehicle looks like a masterpiece. From a design perspective, it is one of the best-looking compact SUVs on the market.
The angled grill at the front and the chiselled pronouncements on the sheet metal, give it a very agile yet robust look. It emits this perception that it is a city vehicle but can also go off road whenever it chooses.
At the front are LED fog lights and Halogen headlights that are complemented by daytime run lights. It's also hard to miss the 18" rims, which helps to give the vehicle a very smooth ride. Between the wheels on both sides is a stepping rail that gives the vehicle a nice look but reduces the 8.2 inches of ground clearance.
At the top are roof rails, which for the average Jamaican seems to be an ornamental preference. However, they can be very useful when carrying lumber or any other large item that cannot fit in the vehicle. Below these rails is a panoramic moon and sunroof, an addition I was very pleased to see, given the fact that very few vehicles now come with it.
A major design change is at the rear of the vehicle, where the lights now extend from the side panel to the truck, forming an 'L' shape. As for the lower half, there is a dual-chrome exhaust system that gives the vehicle a nice aggressive sound when accelerating.
The model I got was the RVSi, it's one level down from the highest spec model, the Touring, so cosmetically everything looks impressive. The overall theme of the interior is a simple and elegant one, there is leather with pronounced stitching almost everywhere and woodgrain accents throughout the cabin.
Where the buttons are concerned, Honda took a minimalist approach with the centre console, which consists of two rows of buttons sandwiched by two climate-control knobs. These are all dedicated to the dual-climate control functions which allows you to set different temperature for both the driver and passenger.
Immediately below these buttons is the gear lever, which has a nifty 'Brake Hold' button to the left of it. This comes in very handy, especially when you are on an incline and want to give your foot a rest. Simply press the button and the vehicle brakes automatically. This can be disengaged by pressing the gas pedal or the button.
The placement of the gear lever creates a larger storage space for the 'in-between' console that has multiple-sized compartments, depending on how the partition is configured.
Around the back is space galore, especially on the floor where there is no protruding transmission tunnel. Consequently, this will make the ride very enjoyable for the middle-seat passenger.
There are also touches of convenience throughout rear, like overhead lights that are directly above the rear-seat passengers and not at the centre of the ceiling like other vehicles. In the trunk, the rear seat pull-down levers are located on the side panels which can be easily accessed.
I remember driving the previous model from Kingston to Irish Town and the firmness of the chassis was very noteworthy. Somehow, they found a way to improve this with the chassis feeling noticeably lighter and more flexible. In fact, the overall weight of the vehicle is 185 lbs lighter than the previous model and ultimately gives it a more efficient ride.
This time around, I took it on St Mary's Junction road to see how it handled the sinuous turns. This also gave me the opportunity to check out the Agile Handling Assist feature - it's a responsive steering dynamic that increases the turning capacity with each rotation of the steering. This simply means I was able to hug corners better as well as swerve away from potholes in a more responsive manner.
Given the more flexible chassis and the suspension set-up, the overall ride was very comfortable, and the same can be said about the manoeuvrability of the vehicle.
As it pertains to the 1.5-litre turbo engine, it was a pleasant surprise in terms of power and gas consumption. There is a slight turbo lag, but nothing that will hinder the driver from doing a quick overtake.
The initial acceleration comes on very convincingly and it can reach its top speed very quickly; however after this point, it will taper out. This made it a very impressive experience for a vehicle that weighs 3,583 lbs with this size engine.
While on my way back to Kingston it started raining and the wiper sensors detected how heavy the rain was falling and adjusted the intensity of the wipers accordingly. At the time it seemed very simple, but its function was very convenient, especially when I was constantly steering around corners.
WHAT I LIKE
- Rear a/c vents
- A very comfortable ride
- Front and rear sensors
- Very spacious interior.
- Name tags must be pre-recorded for voice dialing to work.
- Back seats can't recline.
- Engine: 1.5-litre turbo engine, AWD
- Horse power: 188
- Torque: 177
- Train valve: 16-Valve DOHC VTEC
- Tyres: 235/60R18103H
- Type: compact SUV
- Fuel tank: 57 litres
- Nissan X Trail
- Toyota Rav 4
- Suzuki Vitara
- Cruise control
- Tilt and telescopic steering
- Ambient lighting
- Multi-angle rear-view camera with guidelines
- Front, front side and side curtain airbags
- Driver's seat with 12-way power adjustment, including four-way power lumbar support.
Vehicle Provided by
ATL Honda, (876) 960-8500, 1 888-285-778.