Expert Review - Honda CR-V RW (2017-Present)
20 March 2018
For a long time, especially with the third-gen, this one pretty much defined the mid-size Japanese SUV segment. Then, competitors caught up and overtook it, and it wasn't until the fifth-gen arrived last year that the Honda CR-V shot back to the forefront. It has been right up there since, and it's easy to see why - it's a wonderfully packaged offering that gets everything right in all the relevant places.
The introduction of the automaker's 1.5 litre turbocharged engine sets the tone for things in good fashion. The previous complaints of the CR-V being sluggish are well gone with the new mill on board. There's plenty of pace, the unit being even nippier than the old 2.4 litre motor. The partnering CVT is responsive, smooth and behaves like an automatic, but traces of associated transmission whine are detectable.
Ride & Handling
The CR-V has always been a good machine to drive, if not the most exciting, and this one doesn't alter things radically. Steering response and tracking precision are well up, and ride/handling aspects have improved, keener and leaner being an apt summation of what's available. Not quite Mazda CX-5 territory in terms of dynamics and agility, but it drives well and will more than meet most drivers' expectations.
Proof that you don't have to overhaul things to inject class into things - the cabin is a far nicer place to be than in the fourth-gen, both from a trim/materials and layout point of view. Comfort levels are high, and everything simply feels better to touch and sight. However, some competitors like the Peugeot 3008 do have a plusher, more sophisticated interior feel.
The ASEAN NCAP five-star rated CR-V is comprehensively equipped on this particular front. All variants - even the baseline 2.0 NA - feature six airbags (dual front, side and side curtain) and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), which is now supplanted with Agile Handle Assist (AHA), and the inclusion of a Honda Sensing active safety suite places the CR-V makes this one a class leader here.
Interior volume has always been a CR-V strong point, and the fifth-gen continues to project this aspect very well. Its cabin is class leading for space, most noticeably from a second-row viewpoint. Compared to rivals, rear legroom is an absolute champ, and there's no shortage of storage solutions right through. Cargo considerations are also well taken care of, and the powered boot on the range-topping model is a boon.
It's getting to be a very crowded and competitive field, but the new Honda CR-V is an example of how to neatly blend what's needed to come up with a winner - from features (common across the model range at that) to performance and safety, the result is a whole lot of car for the asking price.