Apart from an uprated 4WD system and higher specification, the new CR-V costs less than its predecessor.Apart from an uprated 4WD system and higher specification, the new CR-V costs less than its predecessor.
The CR-V has traditionally been regarded as a softroader because, although it offers on-demand four-wheel drive, it does not have a low range gear. There’s also the matter of limited ground clearance, those boutique looks and the fact that Honda’s SUV is often seen carting kids to schools in early-morning traffic.
But the new CR-V seems more adept on the rough stuff. It has been fitted with a limited slip differential and an uprated dual-pump Real Time four-wheel drive system, which incorporates two hydraulic pumps located in the rear differential. One is connected to the front wheels via a transfer gear and propeller shaft, and the other to the rear wheels via the differential. Hydraulic fluid circulates between the two pumps, and as long as the front and rear wheels rotate in unison, the pressure in both pumps is the same. However, as soon as the front wheels lose grip, and start to rotate at a higher speed than the rear, more pressure is generated in one pump than the other.
The surplus pressure actuates a multi-plate clutch that almost instantly engages the prop shaft to transfer some of the engine torque to the rear wheels, which then begin to drive the car to restore traction. The amount of torque fed to the back wheels is proportional to the degree of slip in the front and, as soon as equilibrium is restored (and the pump pressures equalised), drive reverts to the front wheels alone. But, compared with the system on the previous CR-V, the new model’s four-wheel drive mode activates noticeably more quickly.
For those interested in infrequent off-road activity (the majority of potential buyers, one would have to say) the new CR-V’s biggest drawcards will probably be the reduced price and higher specification, including standard automatic climate control systems, front, side and curtain airbags, cruise control, and handsome 16-inch alloy wheels.
From an aesthetic point of view, the new CR-V’s front end is characterised by a more prominent bumper and new foglamps. The headlamp clusters now have three-beam projector-style lights, and there’s a new grille with two chrome-trimmed bars. At the rear there is a new bumper, and the high-mounted rear light-clusters now have clear indicator covers and larger reverse lights. Other detail changes include a hard spare wheel cover, new door handles, reworked sill and B-post trim, revised arch protectors and revamped front and rear mudguards.
The models are still powered by a 110-kW 2,0 litre DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, mated to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission, but the unit is fitted with a drive-by-wire throttle, which Honda claims results in smoother responses to accelerator inputs, particularly when pulling away from standstill.
The CR-V’s brakes have been uprated across the range, with 300 mm diameter ventilated discs at the front and 305 mm solid discs at the rear. In addition, the maximum towing weight (braked) of the 2,0-litre automatic has been boosted to 1 500 kg to bring it into line with manual transmission models. Maximum trailer nose weight across the range is now 100 kg.
The interior also receives a makeover, with new seat and trim materials. The colour theme is either titanium – applied to seats, roof lining and door panels – with black fascia and carpets, or a dark grey and black contrast. Seats are trimmed in soft, fine-weave material with tricot bolsters.
The main instrumentation, similar to that of the Accord, now appears as a darkened panel with the ignition off, transforming to a bright display when the doors are unlocked, and a higher contrast one when the ignition is switched on, due to the use of backlighting.
A criticism of the previous model CR-V was the driver’s view rearward, but Honda has introduced “teardrop” shape rear seat headrests that can be retracted fully when not in use. Both models come equipped with double pre-tensioners on front seatbelts, three rear three-point seatbelts, Isofix child seat mountings (on outer rear seats) and whiplash-reducing front seats.