Long-term test (Introduction): Honda CR-V 1,5T Exclusive AWD CVT

My wife sees cars a little differently to me – she favours family-focused functionality – so when she gave this Honda her approval within the first few kilometres that we spent behind wheel, I knew that the CR-V ticked a number of important boxes.

This 1,5T Exclusive is the top model in the CR-V range and its standard spec is an impressively comprehensive one. It includes a powered tailgate, LED front foglights and auto high beam, along with a host of advanced driver-assist systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning.

Like the other models in the CR-V range, this iteration has a continuously variable transmission and, whereas I’ve never been a fan of this type of transmission, I am beginning to see some of its benefits. When frugal fuel economy is your main aim, this gearbox is in its element; however, if you work the engine hard and use the upper part of the rev range, it does blunt the engine’s performance.

Especially given my 70 km commute, the CR-V’s interior is an appreciably comfortable space in which to spend time, with comfortable leather seats and a well-laid-out cabin trimmed in faux-wood strips that, while not to everyone’s taste, do provide a contrast to the cabin’s darker tones.

One feature that has impressed me is the number of USB and 12 V ports in the car – there are two of the latter in front, two USB slots (1,0 and 1,5 A) and an HDMI socket, as well as two 2,5 A USB charging sockets in the rear. This makes it possible to charge more than one device and, in terms of security, three of the four sockets can be hidden with the removable cover on the centre console. Convenience comes at a price, though, and at R626 900 this CR-V steps into the premium territory occupied by the Germans and Swedes.

On the open road, the adaptive cruise control is a delight to use, easily maintaining a consistent distance to the car in front, while also issuing a warning should you straddle any lines. From behind the wheel, you get the sense of driving a large SUV.

But visibility is excellent and the entire bonnet is in sight despite the sides of the fenders running higher as they approach the A-pillars; you are never in doubt where the four corners are. Next up for the Honda is gravel-road driving during a long-weekend away.

After 1 month
Mileage now:
1 334 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
8,20 L/100 km
We like:
spacious cabin; ride quality
We dislike: pricey compared with rivals

Long-term test (Update 1): Honda CR-V 1,5T Exclusive AWD CVT

I’ll admit that, like most people, there are few things that I despise more than sitting in traffic. One piece of tech in the CR-V that comes in handy should your mind wander during the drudgery of bumper-to-bumper traffic c is forward collision warning.

It’s come to my aid a number of times, pointing out that the car in front of me has come to a stop or lowered its speed quicker than I had anticipated.

Not only does it sound an alarm, but a warning flashes in the instrument cluster.

During rush hour, I also enjoy streaming podcasts through a test car’s Bluetooth system; in or out of traffic, it makes the journey a more pleasant experience. I am, however, struggling a little with the Honda’s infotainment system.

This month, I tried to connect my Huawei smartphone via the Honda’s Android Auto system (it also offers Apple CarPlay). This entailed downloading the Andriod

Auto App to my phone, followed by connecting my phone via the cable to the Honda’s 1.5 A USB socket. However, no matter what I tried, I simply couldn’t pair the two devices. I tried the same exercise with our Ford Kuga long-term vehicle and, within seconds, it was up and running. I’ll have to investigate what I’m doing wrong, if anything.

These frustrations have been countered by the CR-V’s term-best fuel-consumption average of 7,65 L/100 km. This was achieved on mostly quiet secondary roads but it’s still an impressive fi gure for an SUV weighing 1,6 tonnes. After spending time in a range of test cars every month, it’s always a relaxing experience getting behind the CR-V’s wheel. It’s low-stressed powertrain rarely revs higher than 2 500 r/min, which, of course, further aids its overall fuel consumption.

After 7 months
Mileage now:
11 886 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
8,38 L/100 km
We like:
forward-collision warning; low fuel consumption
We dislike: Android Auto connection patchy

Long-term test (Update 2): Honda CR-V 1,5T Exclusive AWD CVT

The Honda’s mileage has been steadily building and it’s now passed the 20 000 km mark; it arrived with around 2 500 km on the odo, meaning we’ve completed a whole 18 000 km in the past nine months.

As this car needs servicing every 10 000 km – intervals that are shorter than those of its main rivals – I booked the CR-V into Mekor Honda at Cape Town’s Foreshore hub of dealerships, not too far from CAR’s offices.
It was a positive owner experience: firstly, because the service centre was able to accommodate me within two days of calling; and, secondly, it offered me a drive back to the office (not always a given, evenwith premium brands).

I asked the service team to grease the doors and reset a faulty tyre sensor, and the CR-V was vacuumed before the car was picked up. I do, however think they could’ve cleaned the rest of the cabin, too, especially since serviced cars are not washed anymore owing to the Cape’s water restrictions.

After recently swapping long-termers with CARmag.co.za editor, Ryan Bubear (who drives the fleet’s Audi SQ5), he had the following feedback: “The continuously variable transmission didn’t bother me, mainly because the car as a whole is such a relaxing experience. This means that you rarely feel the need to rev the engine out.” I can only concur with his remarks and this is partly the reason the CR-V has been clocking such impressive fuel-consumption figures.

Although the CR-V is no serious off-roader, I undertook an easy excursion to Atlantis Dunes outside Cape Town. After all, this CR-V is all-wheel driven and should be able to cope sand driving. More on that next month.

After 9 months
Mileage now:
18 069 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
8,42 L/100 km
We like:
consumption; service experience...
We dislike: ...they could have cleaned the interior