September 22, 2014 @ 02:15 PM

Honda CR-V 2.4 - more SUV than before

Honda should have started the ball rolling with this CR-V first. Oh well, better late than never. Says Chris Ng

Honda-CR-V-(6)-800x450.jpg

Words & Photography: Chris Ng

Whenever I see the new Honda CR-V on the road, which is fast becoming too frequent, I am reminded of the first CR-V that hit our roads. It was a rugged chap that wasn’t scared to hang its spare wheel of the rear. Yes it may look as if its designers were inspired by stacking up boxes but it does give off that go-anywhere vibe that most SUVs of that generation used to do. I am also reminded how much smaller the CR-V used to be.
 
The first CR-V also proved that Malaysians were hungry for a vehicle that can carry more things and still retain some level of dignity when pulling into the parking lot of an upper class restaurant. Do recall that the only vehicles that could carry plenty of things and people at the same time were either the HiAce or the Vannette usually with a stepladder tied down to the roof; not the classiest of vehicles. Then came the CR-V; it proved to be the new honey pot for Honda. 
 
Here is the fourth generation CR-V that has shed all of the ruggedness of the first generation. Blame it on urbanisation and the fact that no one in their right mind would take it off-road but what we have now is something that wouldn’t look at home in the rough. Boxy lines have given way to slinky curvature. The lights are now fixed within stylised housing. It even looks broader and bigger despite the new CR-V is actually shorter than the previous generations. In essence, the CR-V has turned into an executive sedan with larger dimensions.
 
It has the proper interior for it. Our test unit is the top-shelf variant with the 2.4-litre engine. Apart from the Modulo bits, this one comes standard with all the tricks and trinkets sprinkled with a light dusting of luxury. The leathers are all there – on the seats and the door cards, the driver’s seat is eight-way power adjustable, paddle shifters exist as part of the steering and the CR-V starts with a button push. And a touch-screen with navigation replaces the knobs and buttons of the stereo in the differently-equipped 2.0-litre version.
 
The interior comes in a style that you’ll notice immediately, mainly because the large surface is quite flat and devoid of any sort of striking characteristics. Only the air vents and dials break the monotony of the dashboard. With that said, the open areas increase the impression of space, like everything is pushed outwards so that humans – five adult ones – can have space to be comfortable. You wouldn’t mind the large glass also. Not only it makes the interior more airy than it really it, you’ll also be able to see more of the world zipping by.
 
You won’t be blazing down the highway, mind you. In spite of the 10.6 seconds the CR-V needs to get too 100kph from standstill, you will feel all of the 1,560kg endeavoring to build momentum. You’ll get there of course, and with a dose of satisfaction too, I might add. It is actually quite pleasant to rev the life out of the 2.4-litre engine.
 
With all that going on, you won’t notice that it is actually a five-speed automatic that’s distributing the horses to all four wheels. No complaints, the ratios are spaced in a way that the CR-V is always in the right band. This means no sudden kicking down of the gears just to retain decent momentum going uphill or even during overtaking.
 
What impresses the most is how well sorted the chassis is. The CR-V is well damped and seems to know what to do in different situations, like how not to bounce upon hitting a pothole or upset the passengers when the driver thinks he is driving an NSX up a winding hill.  
 
To be completely honest, the 2.4-litre CR-V mirrors the 2.0’s, albeit with a more powerful engine and putting on some of the tech bits. There isn’t much to complain about the SUV. Honda didn’t break the mold or propose any sort of risky off-tangent idea. Instead, they played it safe and improved on the existing mold. So in a sense, this vehicle won’t attract much controversy and will do what it is expected of it. 
 
By the way, the 2.4-litre CR-V comes with additional side curtain airbags bringing the total to six versus the four in the 2.0-litre. That should make your choice easier, doesn’t it?

See more pictures here.
 
TO THE POINT
 
Love
The bigger engine that makes it much easier to get a move on 
Hate
The vast emptiness that is the dashboard and the lack of excitement it brings
Verdict
A safe bet to put your money on; should not cause controversy later in life

 
 
SPECIFICATION

Price
RM165,187.60
Engine
2,354cc, DOHC 4 cyl, i-VTEC, 190bhp@7000rpm, 222Nm@4400rpm
Gearbox
Five-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Performance
10.6sec 0-100kph, 190kph
Weight
1560kg
On Sale
Now

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