CR-V is practical and unpretentious

Comment on this story
IOL mot mar8 honda crv a The more exciting design of the fourth-generation CR-V is more car than SUV.

QUICK TEST: Honda CR-V 2.4 Executive AT

The Honda CR-V was one of the early pioneers in the so-called 'softroader' market; it has been mounting suburban kerbs around the world ever since 1995.

Not that you see too many on the roads in South Africa - the CR-V has never really been a fashion statement in the same way as the original Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail, or the latest Kia Sportage for that matter.

Instead the Honda has been focusing on the more sensible side of the business, fulfilling its role as a very practical family vehicle.

Click here for more pics

The thing that surprised me most about the previous CR-V was just how roomy and comfortable it is inside and I'm glad to report that the new (fourth-generation) one you see here offers the same deal despite slightly smaller external measurements.

IOL mot mar8 honda crv b The new CR-V is a refined choice.

I did the standard sit-behind-my-driving-position test in this new Honda and was once again amazed by how much rear legroom it has - you can really stretch out properly and taking a nap on long journeys is also within the realm of enticing possibility thanks to the rear seatbacks that recline slightly.

Sure, there is no seven-seater option on the menu but as far as five-seaters go, this Honda is really the business. The CR-V's generous dimensions and five-person limit also ensure a gigantic boot, with 589 litres at your disposal.

At R444 900, the 2.4-litre Executive that I drove is on the steep side of the pricing continuum, but it does offer the necessary luxuries like comfy leather seats, dual-zone climate control, rear ventilation, cruise control, a premium sound system and a parking camera.

Only trouble is, it doesn't feel like a luxury vehicle from the helm. The dashboard design is utterly forgettable and many parts of it have hard and scratchy surfaces. Sure, I'm nitpicking but if I was spending almost half-a-bar on a vehicle, I'd expect the interior to shine through. Besides, the Accord shows that Honda can put together a nice interior and the VW Tiguan proves that it can be done within this segment.

Honda's designers have at least done a good job on the outside of the vehicle. Like its predecessor it's totally unpretentious in that it's not trying to look like a rough off-roader. The new CR-V gets a sportier visual personality, even if it's a little too Volvo-like at the back - and the 18-inch alloys fitted to the Executive model actually make it border on purposeful.

They do make the ride just a tad firm, though. Look, I never felt uncomfortable in the CR-V but it doesn't have the magic-carpet ride that I'd hope for in a family cruiser like this.

IOL mot mar8 honda crv c Cabin is practical and ergonomically sound, but needs more tactile fizz.

The rest of the driving experience is rather nondescript but that's really not a bad thing in a vehicle like this. It's quiet on the road; its 140kW/220Nm 2.4-litre engine feels flexible enough and serves up adequate performance; the five-speed automatic gearbox never makes a fuss.

The CR-V really just gets on with its business without really ever giving you reason to think about it. Exciting it's not, sensible it is.


The CR-V 2.4 Executive is a well equipped and practical choice, but if you find the R444 900 price tag too steep and can live without the permanent all-wheel drive and a few luxury items then the R299 900 2.0 Comfort model is worth serious consideration.

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines