Showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo, Honda Car India (HCIL) has had fans excited about the return of the Civic. Alongside it was the new CR-V that is poised to make its way to Indian roads. And that moment has finally arrived, with the Honda CR-V’s India launch just around the corner. But this time around Honda has come up with a completely different game plan. The new CR-V will feature a diesel mill for the first time as well as third row seating. Off course, that alone may not be enough to fetch the numbers; so we dig in deeper to see just how competitive the new Honda CR-V is.
For long the Honda CR-V has been championing the drive for petrol-powered SUVs in India. But with its fifth generation model, Honda will be bringing in a 1.6 l diesel-powered version mated to a traditional torque converter automatic transmission. The new Honda CR-V is butch, boxy & futuristic, carries a distinct road presence and comes with some segment-first kit. On the technology front, Honda has added ample tricks and has neatly tucked away conventional convenience features. With the Japanese stalwart adding a third seating row, it may just attract a new set of buyers and drive reasonable volumes for Honda. We take a closer look at how well this package comes together.
DESIGN & INTERIORS
At first sight, some may just end up confusing the new CR-V with a concept car of the future. But Honda’s radical design language has ensured that the CR-V will remain contemporary for many years to come. At first glance, the LED headlamp cluster will draw you in and its space age-like looks blend well with a massively chiselled bumper. A heady dose of chrome has been added on the grille along with a fat slab, housing the Honda logo. LED DRLs adorn the lower section of the bumper and neatly complete the look upfront.
Moving over, the sides are distinctly Honda. A beefy shoulder line and seamless belt line define the profile. Unique character lines down below with a reasonable amount of chrome, ensures the modish design language is carried forward. The roofline is more or less flat and compliments the CR-V’s butch appeal. The newest offering is backed by large 235/60 R18 tyres with chunky five spoke rims. However, the CR-V’s rear section seems to tell a different tale and is quite busy with ample design lines. A smart strip of chrome housing the Honda logo in the rear adds to this SUV’s premium appeal. While the previous model CR-V had a broader looking rear end, the new model seems to have lost the fat and looks more toned.
Honda has carried its new-fangled design language over to the interiors, especially the dashboard and front section set-up. The dashboard comes in black leather-like finish with beige tones around other parts, adding class to this colour. Honda has used wooden inlays, glossy silver accents, matt black and piano black in parts around the dash, adding to the CR-V’s upmarket feel. The instrument cluster for the driver is a digital unit, which makes one feel as though they were at the helm of a space ship. Split in three sections, the digital multi information display is a one-off in this segment.
FEATURES & DIMENSIONS
The Honda CR-V seems to be loaded with ample kit to make it compete with a segment above. Regular features such as cruise control, voice commands, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, power adjusted and power retractable ORVMs are all on offer. Honda has also added a power adjusted driver seat, a seven inch infotainment unit, which now gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The front passengers get access to neatly tucked away USB charging slots and HDMI power. Honda has also added two 12 V charging sockets upfront with two USB charging points for rear seat occupants.
Apart from automatic climate control, Honda is offering a dual zone climate set-up with a sync function. While driving in Delhi, I noticed that the CR-V is equipped with a small camera under the passenger side ORVM, which improves blind spot visibility by displaying an enhanced view of the SUVs left hand side every time the driver indicates a left turn.
In terms of dimensions, the new Honda CR-V is 4,592 mm long, which is roughly 47 mm longer than the outgoing model. The new model’s width stands at 1,855 mm, making it 35 mm wider than the previous gen CR-V. Honda has also made the new CR-V 4 mm taller than the previous model, with height now set at 1,689 mm. The new CR-V’s wheelbase measures 2,660 mm.
THE NEW POWERTRAIN
At the heart of the new Honda CR-V is a 1,597 cc, turbocharged diesel mill. While Honda is offering a variant with a twin-turbo set-up globally, India will only get the single turbo diesel model. This four cylinder oil burner has been rated at a 120 hp, belted out at 4,000 rpm. Torque figures stand at 300 nm coming in at 2,000 rpm. Before I got behind the wheel of the new CR-V, the biggest question in my mind was if this humble sounding 1.6 l engine would do justice to the size and stature of the CR-V.
As automotive journalists, we are always looking for a bigger motor and more power. But from a practical standpoint, that is not always required. This is where the new CR-V makes perfect sense. It is a product for the mature buyer, someone who has a family that includes children and grandparents as well. The CR-V is meant to be a daily driver, just like most of the Hondas out there.
While the engine may not offer an out there, in your face performance, it is smooth and linear. This is perhaps also due to the fact that the diesel mill comes married to a nine speed traditional torque converter provided by ZF. To say this unit is smooth would be an understatement and Honda’s engineers have done a fantastic job at making motoring in the CR-V a jolt-free experience.
Another aspect that Honda has tweaked is the functionality and look of the gear selector. Instead of a stick, you have buttons for drive, sport, neutral, reverse and park. This layout does take a while to get used to but feels comfortable in the long run.
Honda has added ample features like ABS with EBD, hill hold and descent control functions, six airbags, but one feature that caught my attention was the motion adaptive electronic power steering. This set-up makes the steering light at city speeds or slower, while on highways or at faster speeds, the steering feels well weighted. The new Honda CR-V’s all disc brake set-up makes braking progressive. At no point does it feel hurried. The suspension set-up of a McPherson Strut and a multi-link ensure premium comfort for cabin occupants.
The new CR-V has all the makings of a worthy soft-roader and has ample space in the first two rows, with adjustable seats on offer. More cabin space can be created by folding down the third and second rows too. Despite the smaller-sized motor, the Honda CR-V felt adept at taking on real world conditions. When driving in a mature manner, not once did the word ‘underpowered’ cross my mind. The overall package looks enticing, but its design and technology is what really set the CR-V a cut above the rest. With its launch right around the corner, one can only wait and watch in anticipation. As with most products, pricing would be critical to the success of the fifth generation Honda CR-V in India.
Text & Photo: Joshua David Luther