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Honda CR-V goes upmarket

Created on 13/11/2018 @ 10:45

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Honda just took the CR-V upmarket and it’s hard to imagine that the improvements will not produce bulging order books.

The latest arrival is bigger, more comfortable, better connected, drinks less fuel and even comes with a seven-seat option.

The CR-V is an important model for Honda. It’s a best-seller in the States and the boardroom suits at Honda would like to see that success duplicated in the UK. That presents a big challenge though, with the British market already awash with SUVs from just about every manufacturer. 

Honda has a good chance of success though because the new CR-V has a fresh and sophisticated exterior design, with broader, muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters, as well as the latest Honda family ‘face’ with its signature headlight graphic.

The bar has been raised when it comes to interior quality too, with improved ride quality, steering response, body control and NVH management.

Bigger exterior proportions, longer wheelbase and wider stance help provide more interior space with ample room for five on-board. And there’s also a wider and deeper boot space, two-position boot floor and a new hands-free power tailgate.

Clever features make the new CR-V easier to use every day. For example, the height of the tailgate when opened can be programmed to avoid contact with low ceilings, while cabin flexibility is boosted by a three-mode centre-console storage, and new single-action ‘dive down’ 60:40 split-fold second-row seat backs that enable faster, easier loading.

The platform design incorporates Honda’s exclusive next-generation ACE™ (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure, which employs a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly.

In addition, standard across the range is Honda Sensing, among the most comprehensive suites of active safety and driver-assistive technologies in the class, combining radar and camera information to assist the driver.

We tested the 1.5T VTEC EX AWD CVT and the first things to note were the improved interior, particularly the leather-styled dashboard, complete with wooden inserts and the comfortable driving position.

Finding the right instruments proved comfortable enough with most of the controls available through an easy-to-use seven-inch central touchscreen – how did we manage without them?

There’s nothing pretentious about the ride. Honda has rather sacrificed any excitement or handling finesse for a softer option, meaning the CR-V offers a comfortable option in both town and country.

Performance is acceptable if not too impressive. With all wheel drive and an upgraded CVT automatic box the test car had a top speed of 124mph and 0-62mph in 9.3seconds, combined with average fuel consumption figures of just under 40mpg on the combined cycle. CO2 figures are 162 g/km.

For those needing to stay in touch while behind the wheel there’s good news, the second-generation Honda Connect software in the new CR-V offers seamless smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Drivers can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music from the touchscreen or by voice using Apple’s Siri commands. Supported features include Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, music and numerous other popular apps, depending on the market.

Safety highlights include emergency calling, traffic sign recognition, speed limiter, brake assist, collision mitigation, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and front and rear curtain airbags.

Prices for the new CR-V start at £26,000 but the model on test checked out at £36,455 with an extra £550 for pearlescent paint taking the bill to £37,050.

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