2018 Honda CR-V Road Test

Introduction

Carmakers in India tend to exploit the phrase ‘all-new’ but when it comes to the latest iteration of the Honda CR-V, it is appropriate. This 2018 model is the biggest generation change yet for the SUV, and it’s a stronger proposition than ever as a result. The CR-V, in fact, now has a completely new look inside-out, a new platform and for the first time, a diesel powertrain. It is safe to say that it represents Honda’s best effort yet at competing in the premium SUV segment, led as ever by the Toyota Fortuner and now the Ford Endeavour and the Skoda Kodiaq. Here we have sampled the diesel-automatic version for the full-on road test treatment and other than the cramped third row and the rather ordinary infotainment system, there is plenty to like about the ‘all-new’ CR-V. Here’s how it fares.

Design and Style

There is no doubt that the new CR-V cuts a striking form. It is, subjectively, a looker in a segment where road presence and visual cues are the norm. Slightly longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, the 2018 model has what it takes to be visually appealing. Firstly, there’s the crisp front-end with the all-LED headlights and fog lights that we like – they are bright and look great when lit. What’s more, the aggressively styled headlamp units with the wing-shaped daytime running lights and the flared wheel arches give the CR-V that much needed muscle. The CR-V looks noticeably wider than the old car and that’s because of the strong shoulder line that tapers upwards towards the rear. At the back, you no longer get a split-tailgate arrangement, however, we are glad the CR-V still maintain its low loading lip.

At 4592mm in length, 1855 in width and 1689 in height, the CR-V is fairly big but it’s nowhere as tall or long as big ladder-frame SUVs like the Fortuner or the Endeavour. That said, it matches the Fortuner for width and also, the 2660mm wheelbase is rather impressive for a soft-roader.

Interior

Inside, the CR-V continues to impress. A big departure from the old-school look of the previous gen CR-V, the cabin is both spacious and well laid out with some cleverly placed storage bins that not only lend it an air of plushness, but also make for a practical daily driver. The build quality is right on the money and barring the plasticky steering mounted buttons, nothing in here feels cheap or badly put together. In fact, the cabin design and layout is a big highlight of this car, given its in here the owners will spend time, it’s a big draw card for choosing it over the rivals. The dash for instance is all black with shiny gloss black trim pieces whereas the door pads are a mix of beige, wooden inserts and gloss black trim pieces. Somehow, this amalgamation of materials works well to create a soothing ambience. All in all, the cabin has got character for sure and though it’s not quite as contemporary as the Kodiaq, it certainly looks and feels better than the Fortuner.

The new CR-V leaves a good impression when you set yourself into the front seat. Even though you tend to sink deep into the seat rather than that ‘on it’ feeling you get from some of the rivals, the space in here is great for a mid-size SUV. The front seats are snug and supportive and foot well is generous as well despite the wide centre console. Visibility, too, is excellent thanks to the huge glass area and a driving position that’s set high enough to provide good all-round vision. But if that’s still not enough, there is a segment-first camera based system which enhances driver’s view of side traffic. Honda calls it ‘Lane Watch Camera’ and this system uses a camera on the passenger-side mirror – the driver can have a live feed of the traffic in the car’s blind spot, on the infotainment screen. All said and done, it really works and offers a lot of convenience on our often jam-packed roads.

Space in the second row is good for this segment – there is plenty of legroom and the rear seat itself is nicely contoured and offers adequate thigh support. The seat back and the base are properly bolstered although it’s best to have two occupants for that cocooned feeling. What’s not so impressive is the third row accommodation – there is no legroom for adults when the sliding second row is set far back. Also, the rear most occupants (presumably kids) would be forced to sit in the knees-up position due to the high floor and the low seat height although to be fair the CR-V isn’t a proper 7-seater. It’s more of a 5+2 offering where the third row is ideal only for short distances. We would like to add that the 7-seater configuration is available only in the diesel version (the petrol version seats five only). Overall, the third row can only accommodate short occupants and you might want to line the passengers up by height and relegate the shortest in here.

[“source-ndtv”]