The benchmark compact SUV...
The fourth generation British built Honda-CRV was launched in the UK in September 2012, and follows on from a line of popular predecessors first introduced in 1995. The Mark III model this one replaces was introduced in 2007 and has done very well for Honda.
There is a choice of four trim levels ‘S’, ‘SE’, ‘SR’ and ‘EX’; priced from £21,395 for the entry level petrol ‘S’ model with two-wheel-drive.
At the time of this test there were two engine options, a 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol and a 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel but they will shortly be joined by a 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel which is only available as a two-wheel-drive model, a first with the CR-V. The petrol 2.0-litre has the option of front-wheel or four-wheel drive where the 2.2-litre diesel is only available as a four-wheel-drive model both can be specified with manual or automatic transmission.
What we tested
We tested the top-of-the-range petrol Honda CR-V 2.0i-VTEC EX 4WD Manual with ADAS which at the time of testing was priced at £31,150 plus £500 for the Crystal Black Pearlescent paint finish.
Driving and Performance
We tested the 2.0-litre (1997cc) i-VTEC manual which is powered by a four-cylinder 155 PS 2.0-litre petrol engine, maximum power is delivered at 6500 rpm, with 192 Nm of torque at 4300 rpm- which makes it capable of 0-62 mph in 10.2 seconds with a top speed of 118 mph.
The 2.0-litre i-VTEC is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox with the option of a 5-speed automatic transmission – you do have to rev the engine to get the maximum out it – which means you do have to work the gearbox if you want to make rapid progress.
Honda claim that the 2.0-litre i-VTEC we were testing is capable of 30.1 mpg urban, 43.5 mpg extra urban and a combined figure of 37.2 mpg (NEDC figures) – we were achieving around 31 mpg touring, rising to 38 mpg on the motorway. CO2 emissions are recorded at 177 g/km.
When we tested the Mark III petrol 2.0-litre i-VTEC and diesel 2.2-litre i-DTEC models back to back in 2010– we found in a real world urban environment taking in the school run and shopping trips – the diesel had an advantage of about 8 mpg over the petrol model, but bearing in mind the purchase price, maintenance, and the added cost of diesel – it may make more sense to opt for the petrol model if you are doing low mileage and like more refinement. On the manual car there is stop/start technology which automatically switches the engine off at rest in traffic – powering it back on when pulling off, it helps to save fuel and reduce emissions. There is also a green ‘Econ’ button which when engaged mutes throttle responses and retards the air conditioning to save fuel –plus the CR-V indicates when it is the optimum time to change up or down a gear.
Honda has never said the that CR-V is a real off-roader so don’t expect the CR-V’s 4x4 system to take you too far off road, it is great for on-road re-assurance during inclement weather or up a farm track but you would soon get stuck - as you have no real control over the four-wheel-drive system – i.e. you cannot lock it into four-wheel-drive but it is more advanced than its predecessor with electronic torque distribution rather the mechanical system on previous models.
As standard the EX petrol model we were testing runs on 18” alloy wheels with 225/60R18 profile tyres; we found the suspension is compliant and the ride is good. But the steering is over assisted and where that might suit some it doesn’t give enough feedback to make for spirited driving. Body roll is pretty much kept in check on all but the most demanding of roads, but then you wouldn’t expect hot hatch handling from an SUV.
In summary the petrol engine is refined and is a proven reliable unit, the only real issue is fuel consumption which can be on the high side, if you work the engine hard which is the case if you need to make rapid progress.