ROAD TEST: Honda CR-V one of the most underrated SUVs
THE Japanese brand's mid-size SUV may not match its rivals on the sales charts, but it is well ahead in other areas.
The VTi-LX is the most dressed up of the CR-V family. As such the seven-inch (should be eight) infotainment display will handle smartphone mirroring along with in-built satnav and digital audio, pumped in the cabin via eight speakers. Leather highlights and heated front seats are standard, as is a panoramic sunroof, tinted rear windows and LED lights all around. The five-year/unlimited km warranty is welcome. Service intervals are 12 months/10,000km and the first four trips are capped at $295 each.
There are 522 litres of boot space in the CR-V contained by a height-adjustable powered tailgate. Leg and headroom is OK for four adults, though the sunroof does use some headroom for taller types in the back. Finding a comfortable position in the Honda isn't a hassle and the look is classy without being class-leading. The ride is better composed than in previous models while still leaning towards comfort.
Active driving aids, from autonomous emergency braking to lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control, are only found on the VTi-LX. That puts the rest of the range at a disadvantage over some key rivals, who have it as standard or in option packs. ANCAP rated the CR-V a five-star car when it was assessed last year, earning a score of 35.76/37 points.
The VTi-LX is powered by the same 1.5-litre turbocharged four cylinder found in the Honda Civic. In this case it sends 140kW/240Nm to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. If slip is detected, it can transfer 40 per cent of the that urge to the back wheels. The CR-V steers well and handles OK for a family people mover. It's basically not the sharpest tool in the mid-sized SUV shed but it one of the better all-purpose products. Claimed combined fuel use is 7.4 litres/100km, rising to 9.3L/100km around town.
Hyundai Tucson Highlander
The top-spec Tucson ups the ante with an eight-inch touchscreen and a torquier 2.0-litre turbo but doesn't have the cargo area at 488 litres.
Mazda CX-5 Akera
Mazda's updated CX-5 has the shiniest and smartest interior of this group and handles well. On a more pragmatic front, it cedes some versatility to the CR-V in terms of cargo space at 442 litres.
Nissan X-Trail Ti
The X-Trail has the passenger and cargo space to out-rate the Honda but the price isn't sharp enough to overlook the CR-V's five-year warranty.
The new CR-V has a sharper look than its predecessor but the packaging is smarter still, making this a favourite multi-tasking machine, be that for people or cargo.
Honda CR-V VTi-LX
SAFETY 5 stars, 6 airbags, AEB, lane-keep assist
ENGINE 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo, 140kW/240Nm
TRANSMISSION CVT AWD
THIRST 7.4L/100km (91 RON)