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Honda debuts its all-new mid-size SUV in an ultra-competitive segment...

Honda's CR-V has, at various times, been in the top tier of its class. Previous versions were multiple winners of CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys awards, and rightly so; the CR-V has had all the qualities that appeal as a family vehicle in its segment. Lessons learnt from the previous CR-V have led to Honda SA offering a streamlined range and there are just two engines to choose from: a 2,0-litre, naturally aspirated, inline-four; and the version tested here, a new 1,5-litre turbo. Both are petrol-fed units, with the former available only in front-wheel-drive guise and the latter only in all-wheel drive. Due to low demand, says Honda, there will be no turbo-diesels. Both engines are mated exclusively with CVT and the derivative on test here is the lower spec of the two turbo versions.

The previous CR-V was a well-rounded proposition, although we found the styling a bit middle of the road. The blocky rear-end, in particular, was a bit ungainly, but it did result in plenty of boot space. The design of this replacement model, on the other hand, is far from boring. The façade is dominated by lashings of chrome and oversized, rakish headlamps similar to those of its Civic sibling. To some members of the test team, this frontal view looks particularly American. In profile, it is far more cohesive than its predecessor, hiding its generous size with more balanced proportions and tidier lines. At the rear, there are L-shaped, wrap-around taillamps that sit proud of the bodywork – a unique execution in this segment – while black cladding on lower sections of the body add an air of ruggedness.

Inside the cabin, the new CR-V continues to impress. Soft-touch materials abound, including a padded rest on the transmission tunnel for the driver’s left knee, something that will be appreciated on longer trips. Vinyl and leather are the materials of choice, the latter covering the comfortable seats. Executive models have electric adjustment on both front chairs and, from these pews, the driver views a colour screen that serves as the primary information display. Included here is a bar-type rev counter, digital speed readout, remote audio info and trip computer. Another nice touch is a convex mirror inside the roof-mounted sunglasses case to help keep an eye on little ones on the rear bench.

The CR-V range boasts impressive standard specification, which includes dual-zone climate control, one-touch electric windows all-round, a multi-function steering wheel and cruise control. Executive derivatives add keyless entry and start, as well as a proximity locking function, a full-length panoramic sunroof with opening panel above the front passengers, LED headlamps and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment interface that features Android Auto and Apple Car- Play connectivity.

There is plenty of space for occupants seated in the front or rear. Rear passengers enjoy more than 750 mm of kneeroom, which is class-leading. Despite the aforementioned sunroof, headroom is also plentiful. As befitting a family car, there is an abundance of storage spaces, including cupholders, a deep storage bin between the front seats, and boot volume that is unrivalled at 408 litres, and that’s with a full-size spare wheel tucked under the floor. Utility space is a cavernous 1 328 litres, which should swallow a pair of mountain bikes quite easily with the rear seats stowed. There are also multiple power points for charging mobile phones and other electronic mobile devices along with four USB ports, two each for the front and rear.

The 1,5-litre turbopetrol motor performs well, both from standstill and on the move, although it isn’t quite as spritely as the 140 kW/240 N.m figures suggest. This is likely blunted by the 1,6-tonne mass, as well as the CVT (more about that later). Acceleration numbers were class-competitive, but braking times were exceptional. The best stop – 2,59 seconds – registered by our VBox data logger was as good as the best sportscars manage in testing and the average over 10 runs was under 2,8 seconds. As mentioned earlier, there is only one transmission on offer in the new range. A CVT is the CAR team’s least-favourite transmission type because of the pervasive sense of “clutch slip”. Small throttle openings send the revs soaring, which makes the engine feel strained, although there is good punch higher up in the range if you keep your foot buried long enough.

The CR-V’s ride quality, though, is generally excellent and, from the first bumps we encountered, it was clear Honda’s engineers have struck a commendable balance in the ride comfort stakes. Those high-profile tyres shoulder some of the credit and thankfully Honda has chosen not to fit oversized wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber that’s become the norm.

Although this version boasts all-wheel drive, we didn’t subject the new CR-V to any off-roading adventures. In rainy conditions experienced during the test period, we did find the four-wheel-drive system provided a welcome added safety net without calling on the ESC system to curb a loss of traction on slippery roads. On motorways, the loping ride quality makes for a relaxed driving experience, with occupants well isolated from the road surface. The sensation is highlighted by excellent NVH properties and a quiet cabin that registered one of the lowest in-cabin sound measurements at idle we’ve recorded.
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 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
FRANSCHHOEK, Western Cape – When the first-generation Honda CR-V hit the global market back in 1995, it didn't have much in the way of direct competition. Indeed, while this compact SUV was perhaps not the very first on the scene, it was indisputably one of the pioneers of the segment.

Fast-forward some 22 years and that once unpopulated, dusty SUV landscape has transformed into a slice of tarmac-covered terrain positively cluttered with capable contenders, with the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan leading the charge in local monthly sales.

Where did that leave Honda's fourth-generation CR-V? Well, the local arm of the Tokyo-based automaker sold an average of just 78 units a month across South Africa in 2016, with that figure plummeting to a mere 23 units per month in the first half of 2017 (admittedly compounded by the brand quietly running its stock dry in the second quarter).

Now, Honda Motor Southern Africa has seen fit to introduce the all-new, fifth-generation CR-V. Revealed in late 2016 in Detroit, the newcomer rides on Honda's latest modular platform – shared with the new Civic – and is available with a turbocharged engine for the very first time.

Streamlined range...

This 1,5-litre, forced induction four-pot is also common to the Civic, but in this latest application its peak figures have been boosted to a healthier 140 kW and 240 N.m (from 127 kW/220 N.m in the sedan), and mated exclusively to all-wheel drive. While the naturally aspirated 2,4-litre petrol mill that topped the outgoing range has been culled, replaced by this new turbo-petrol VTEC unit, the entry-level, free-breathing 2,0-litre has been carried over virtually unchanged, available in front-wheel-drive form only (with 10 mm less ground clearance than the AWD model, at 192 mm), as before. No diesel derivatives are on the cards.

Manual and conventional automatic gearboxes are no longer offered locally, with each of the four derivatives in the rationalised range now employing a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as standard. It's a strategy that Honda has adopted in South Africa over the past few years, with all self-shifters (bar a pair of automatic Brio variants) in its local line-up favouring the CVT over a traditional torque converter or dual-clutch transmission.

Still, there are worse examples of the much-maligned CVT around, and it’s only under heavy throttle applications that the infamous "droning" rears its aurally ugly head. Drive as calmly as you would (or should) in everyday situations and the stepless transmission goes about its business with little fuss, making the most of the turbocharged mill’s pleasingly flat torque curve (peak twisting force is on offer from 2 000 r/min through to 5 000 r/min). Interestingly, Honda has stipulated surprisingly short, 10 000 km service intervals for the new turbo-petrol, while the familiar 2,0-litre sticks with 15 000 km gaps.

Comfort over dynamics

While rivals such as the CX-5 and Tiguan are more dynamically adept than one might expect of typical SUVs, the CR-V places its emphasis unashamedly on comfort. But the general lack of a sporting bent is by no means a bad thing, as it allows the CR-V to take an increasingly rare, traditional approach to family motoring.

Indeed, the big Honda's ride has clearly been tuned with comfort chief in mind, and the MacPherson front and redesigned multilink rear suspension setup absorbs road imperfections with aplomb, while the high-profile rubber adds yet more cushion. Sure, there's some body roll round fast corners, but this is a proper family focused SUV, after all, and the plush ride – as well as impressive noise insulation – is entirely in line with the vehicle's character.

This penchant for comfort and practicality continues inside, where Honda has included all manner of handy hidey-holes. In fact, with the gear lever sited on the lower section of the facia, there's even space for a roomy, configurable storage compartment in the centre console, capable of swallowing anything from a tablet device to a moderately sized handbag.

Although the fifth-generation CR-V is actually a mite shorter than its predecessor at 4 591 mm, its axles have been pushed some 40 mm further apart, with the occupants of the second row enjoying the bulk of this extra space (as well as dedicated air-vents and a pair of USB charging points, to complement the two up front). In fact, knee room back there could be described as borderline excessive, even for lanky passengers. The luggage compartment, too, is generous (a claimed 522 litres), despite the welcome presence of a full-size spare. Drop the split-folding rear bench flat and this expands to a claim of well over 1 000 litres.

Four trim levels on offer

While the base Comfort model with the 2,0-litre engine seems moderately equipped (with its highlights being dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera and 17-inch alloys), the sweet-spot Elegance specification adds items such as leather trim, electrically adjustable (and heated) front seats, a seven-inch touchscreen display (with Apple CarPlay functionality), parking sensors fore and aft, column-mounted paddles and rain-sensing wipers. This variant seems likely to be the volume seller.

Move up to the turbocharged derivatives and the Executive model featured here furthermore adds 18-inch alloys, a full-length sunroof, keyless entry/start, LED headlamps and active cornering lights, while the flagship Exclusive boasts a powered tailgate, tyre pressure monitoring, satellite navigation, LED foglamps up front and a suite of driver assistance systems (from road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control to lane keep assist and an automatic high-beam function). All models, though, feature six airbags as standard.

Pricing starts at R422 900 and runs through to R626 900, with the model featured here coming in at a fairly dear R584 900. That means it's positioned right at the top of its group of direct rivals, where it faces exceedingly tough competition from the likes of the cheaper Tiguan 2,0 TSI 4Motion Highline (R550 900) and Tucson 1,6 Turbo AWD Elite (R534 900). Peugeot's charming new 3008 could also offer stiff opposition, although the French crossover is available locally with drive sent to the front wheels only.

Will Honda's decision to offer its new CR-V exclusively in CVT guise impact local sales? While it seems likely to put off some potential buyers, the brand's South African arm will argue that a similar approach with the smaller HR-V hasn't hampered uptake in the slightest, with local customers still facing lengthy waiting lists (although Honda SA does import the HR-V in fairly limited numbers).


Ultimately, buyers searching for a well-engineered, exceedingly spacious family vehicle that majors on comfort and functionality will be left largely impressed with the CR-V as a package. Indeed, once it builds up some momentum, Honda seems likely to hit its fairly modest local sales target of 150 units a month – despite the somewhat steep asking price and lack of transmission choice – with the brand's five-year/200 000 km warranty and reputation for reliability certainly sweetening the deal.

In what has become rather a crowded local segment, the new CR-V finds itself fighting for a far smaller slice of the pie than it was back in the mid-1990s. But don't let its diminished market share fool you: this is one of the best family haulers around…

Look out for a full road test of the new CR-V in the September issue of CAR magazine...

Latest Resutls for Honda CR-V

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Leather upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 5
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: front + rear
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Heated ventilated seats: front heated
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6
  • Attention assist rest assist break alert: Standard
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Approach home safe lighting time delay park headlights: Standard
  • Directional turning headlights: Standard
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: emergency-brake flashing hazard lights
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: eco
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • USB port: 2 front + 2 rear
  • Powersocket 12V: 2 front
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Sun roof: panoramic
  • Panoramic roof: Standard
  • Electric seat adjustment: driver + partial front passenger
  • Memory for electric seat adjustment: driver
  • Daytime driving running lights: LED
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Xenon headlights: LED
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Park distance control PDC: front + rear + rear camera
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: petrol
  • Fuel range average: 814 km
  • Driven wheels: all
  • Driven wheels quantity: 4
  • Gearratios quantity: V
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: CVT
  • Gear shift paddles: Standard
  • Electromechanical parking brake: Standard
  • Front tyres: 235/60 R18
  • Reartyres: 235/60 R18
  • Spare wheel size full: std alloy
  • Length: 4591 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1855 mm
  • Height: 1679 mm
  • Wheel base: 2662 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 202 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 11.8 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 522-1084 L
  • Load volume / capacity: 1084 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1577 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 2200 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 600
  • Towing capacity - braked: 1500
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 57l
  • Fuel consumption average: 7.0 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 167g/km
  • Power maximum: 140 kW
  • Power maximum total: 140 kW
  • Power peak revs: 5600 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 89 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 240 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 2000-5000 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 240 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 152.2 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 9.3s
  • Maximum top speed: 200 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 1498 cc
  • Engine size: 1.5l
  • enginedetailshort: 1.5T
  • Engine + detail: 1.5 turbo
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Variable camvalve timing: Standard
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 5
  • Warranty distance (km): 200000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 5
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Roadside assistance time: 3
  • Service interval (distance): 10000 km
  • Brand: Honda
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 25078100
  • MMintrodat: 2017-07-01
  • Introdate: 2017-08-11
  • DuoportarecordID: HondCR-V4e3

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Honda CR-V 1.5T Executive AWD for sale in Kwazulu-Natal from one of's apporoved car dealerships
Used CR-V 1.5T Executive AWD availbale from the following auto dealer:
Fury Honda Pietermaritzburg used car dealership located in: Kwazulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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