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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Honda CR-V 1.5T VTEC SR 7-seat AWD CVT

Click to view picture gallery“Go with the flow is sound advice
  when it comes to choosing a car.
  If it’s a crossover-cum-SUV you’re
  after then the flow is definitely to
  Honda’s CR-V, the world’s best-
  selling SUV, now fresh out of the
  box in its 5th incarnation...”


AND THE ALL-NEW CR-V is decidedly good — at least as good as the best of its rivals. So, pretty damn good then. Highlights include five- or seven-seat packaging, a choice of two- or four-wheel drive, and new 1.5-litre petrol engines partnered with manual and automatic transmissions. There's also a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid that's a genuine 50+mpg performer.

It's got presence, this latest CR-V with a bonnet that sits level with your breastbone and broad, muscular wheelarches, it's a pleasing blend of can-do ruggedness dusted over with just enough rakishness to lend it urban appeal along with an I-can-take-care-of-myself air that bodes well for tackling the terrors of the school run as much as hauling a horse-box or caravan across a muddy field. Finished off with quality chrome detailing to the grille, glasshouse, door sills, and tailgate, the CR-V stands out from the crowd and, thankfully, not a twinkle of bling in sight.

Around the houses
the turboed 1.5-litre
is quiet and well-
mannered; make full use
of the accelerator pedal
and you’ll find it’s
gutsy and ever-willing:
0-62mph is done and
dusted in ten seconds
dead but at any speed
the CR-V’s unruffled
performance makes
driving a breeze...”
As mentioned above, this new-gen CR-V will offer two powerplant choices: a 1.5-litre turboed four-pot petrol and a non-plug-in, petrol-electric hybrid. For obvious reasons, demonised diesel is no longer on the menu. A six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT automatic are transmission choices, with the auto getting 20bhp more to play with than the 170bhp manual.

The CR-V's continuously variable autobox has simulated ratios that can be directly accessed via paddles-shifters behind the wheel for manual overrides useful when towing or for a full-on overtake.

Officially, the CVT manages 39.8mpg on the Combined Cycle. Our hard-driven test average came out at 34.9mpg perfectly acceptable for a 4.6-metre-long, seven-seat, all-wheel drive, automatic SUV. Regular drivers should do better by pressing the Eco mode button, particularly as our test figure was achieved in Drive and Sport modes for the record, park the selector in Sport to garnish your driving with some real verve.

Around the houses the turboed 1.5-litre engine is quiet and well-mannered; make full use of the accelerator pedal and you'll find it's gutsy and ever-willing with 0-62mph done and dusted in ten seconds dead, but at any speed the CR-V's unruffled performance makes driving a breeze. Maximum speed is an autobahn-friendly 124mph.

Climb aboard there are sleek non-slip side-steps although most people will find it an easy move to reach their chosen seat thanks to doors that open to ninety degrees and you immediately feel well-cosseted and totally at home. The shapely, pleated leather seats offer support in all the right places (including under your knees); the bolstering is effective without being trackday unyielding; and there's loads of room in all directions in the airy cabin, including a generous fist+ of headroom.

Three-stage heating for the front seats is standard along with power-adjustable lumbar support. Both front occupants enjoy expansive views out thanks to chairs set high off the floor and the driving position is commanding with widescreen views to the sides as well as down the bonnet. If you like life's luxuries, going for the next trim level up, the range-topping EX, will get you a heated steering wheel plus full power seat adjustment with a handy two-setting memory recall for the driver along with a head-up display, a panoramic glass sunroof, heated outer rear seats, and a powered handsfree tailgate.

What’s nice about the
cabin is how well
everything has been put
together; combined with
quality trim materials
(that includes matte
honey-coloured wood
veneers) the cabin
ambiance is sportily
smart while at the same
time managing to be
restful...”
What's also nice about the cabin is how well everything has been put together; combined with quality trim materials (that includes matte honey-coloured wood veneers on the fascia, central tunnel console, and doors), the cabin ambiance is sportily smart while at the same time managing to be restful.

Comms are bang up to date with the expected touchscreen sited dead centre of the ergonomic fascia. A seven-incher, the display offers a full infotainment and navigation system with crystal clear imagery and graphics. Immediately beneath the screen are the dual-zone climate controls; if you prefer, on-screen fingertip operation is there for the using. Just below that, and within easy reach of the driver, sits a buttressed console that's home to the selector lever as well as the electric parking brake (with auto hold) and Eco mode switches.

The SatNav is a first-rate Garmin system all you need to know is that it's a doddle to use with foolproof destination input and pin-sharp 3D mapping. Connectivity-wise, the indispensable Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with Internet radio and browsing plus Aha app integration, are all present and correct. A nine-speaker (plus subwoofer) audio set-up accompanies a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

Other essentials such as traffic sign recognition are on hand with the posted speed limit displayed on the mapping as well as alongside a digital road speed readout in the main instrument panel. Talking of which, the digital instrument display ahead of the driver is delightfully uncluttered (Honda really do know how to KISS Keep It Simple, Stupid) and easily readable night and day.

Finishing off the driver-friendly features is a three-spoke leather-wrapped wheel that feels good in your hands. It is, of course, comprehensively multifunction with easily differentiated controls for voice, phone, driving data, media, audio, safety assists, speed limiter, and cruise. All switches are designed to be non-distracting to use while you're driving they work flawlessly and do exactly that.

For a high-riding,
off-road-capable, full-on
family-friendly machine
the CR-V rides very well,
with marked composure
over poorly maintained
blacktop, even rolling
on the optional standout
19-inch alloys wrapped
in 235/55 profile rubber.
You and your passengers
will find the CR-V smooth
in town and smooth
on the cruise...”
In-cabin storage is up to the challenge of a seven-seater most useful is the ingenious storage box underpinning the sliding armrest between the front seats that not only holds a heap of stuff but in a jiffy can be reconfigured to provide several different storage solutions (it also houses a HDMI and two USB ports plus a 12-volt power socket).

The big door bins also hold tall bottles, the dual-usage siamesed cupholders are usefully deep, there's a real-world-sized glovebox, a large open tray under the centre stack and a drop-down glasses case with a secret it cleverly incorporates a wide-angle mirror so you can keep an eye on youngsters strapped-in behind you. Added to that, everything you touch feels reassuringly solid and built to last.

Kit-wise the CR-V has all you're ever realistically likely to need. We've mentioned much of it in the relevant sections but here are some of the basics: keyless entry and locking with press button Start, rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, heated and powerfolding door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic dip/main beam switching, all one-shot electric windows, ambient cabin lighting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto lights and wipes, privacy glass, and a set of 18-inch alloy wheels.

Honda take safety as seriously as Volvo and the CR-V comes with a comprehensive package of active safety systems (detailed in the handling comments) as well as things like adaptive cruise control to take the strain out of long trips, an intelligent speed limiter, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressure monitoring, height-adjustable seatbelts, a full suite of airbags, windscreen wiper de-icer, LED headlights with active cornering lights, LED daytime running lights, a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating, and an Emergency Call system.

An unexpected bonus are back doors that also open to a full 90-degrees not only do they make entering and exiting effortless but fitting and removing child seats (and their occupants) is also hassle-free. The rear cabin is lounge-like with space to spare, particularly for your head, plus plenty of stretch-room for legs and masses of room for feet. Increasing legroom or boot space (when seats six and seven are folded away into the floor) is easily done because the 60:40-split second row seat sections can be individually slid forward or back by up to six inches.

The CR-V’s 4WD system
might be a silent partner
but it’s one worth having
— the moment extra
traction (either on
slippery surfaces or
when cornering) is
needed, up to 60% of the
driving torque can be
sent to the rear wheels.
It’s totally self-governing
so all you’re aware of
is the confidence-
inspiring grip...”
Boosting your rear passengers' comfort are adjustable backrests, a large drop-down centre armrest with built-in cupholders, dedicated air vents, big bottle-holding door bins, pouches on the front seatbacks, and a pair of USB charging sockets.

Three sitting side-by-side in the middle row is perfectly doable but in the CR-V, assuming you've ticked the box for the seven-seat model, that still leaves room for two more.

The 50:50-split third row seats (with adjustable backrests and outer armrests and cupholders) are billed as 'child-friendly' and they're definitely that. However, with the second row seats slid forwards by a few inches, the rearmost pair can be used by slimmer adults. However, owners with a four-legged family member will likely find that 'Mr Pooch' will enjoy lolling across the third row which has the advantage of leaving the large boot free for luggage.

For a high-riding, off-road-capable, full-on family-friendly machine the CR-V rides very well, with marked composure over poorly maintained blacktop, even rolling on the optional standout 19-inch alloys wrapped in 235/55 profile rubber. You and your passengers will find the CR-V smooth in town and smooth on the cruise.

The CR-V's 4WD system might be a silent partner but it's one worth having the moment extra traction (either on slippery surfaces or when cornering) is needed, up to 60% of the driving torque can be sent to the rear wheels. It's totally self-governing so all you're aware of is the confidence-inspiring grip. Given its 200mm ground clearance, body lean is well controlled, and the steering is progressive, well weighted and turns in keenly.

Pleasant and easy to drive both in the city and out in the sticks, the CR-V is as chuckable or as relaxing as you want it to be. Pootle if you please or thread it along some twisty B-roads, the result is the same: a self-assured ride and predictable handling, reassuringly backed up by strong, drama-free braking.

If you’ve got a family or
a buccaneering lifestyle
that sees you gearing-up
for outdoor pursuits at
the weekends, then the
size of your boot (not
your boots) is important
— and the CR-V’s 472
litres will definitely be
big enough. Drop all five
rear seats and you’ll
have 1,509 litres to play
with...”
While the latest CR-V benefits from a competent chassis set-up, it is also equipped with 'Honda Sensing' a suite of technologies and driver assists, including Honda's Agile Handling Assist that delivers safer, smoother, and more predictable handling dynamics, for instance, when cornering or changing lanes. Naturally also included are Forward Collision Warning and a Collision Mitigation Braking System to warn of a possible collision and, if necessary, autonomously emergency brake. You'll also find lane departure warning and lane keep assist, blind-spot and cross-traffic monitoring, plus vehicle and trailer stability assist.

If you've got a family or a buccaneering lifestyle that sees you gearing-up for outdoor pursuits at the weekends, then the size of your boot (not your boots!) is important and the CR-V's 472 litres will definitely be big enough. Drop all five rear seats and you'll have 1,509 litres to play with. Even if you're running in seven-seat mode there's still 150 litres behind the pair of third row seats. For extra versatility, you can fold away either just one or both of the them.

The loadbay floor is flat and seamless with unrestricted access either through the large tailgate opening or the big, wide-opening rear side doors. There's also a handy repositionable two-level shelf-cum-boot floor panel and overspill underfloor storage areas. Towing? No problemo the 1.5-litre CR-V will happily haul a braked 2,000kg.

People want SUVs like the CR-V. And why wouldn't they? Practical and versatile, it will tackle the school run with panache then at the weekend tow a horsebox or trek to out-of-the-way locations for some active lifestyle action. In seven-seat guise it's comfortable, spacious, refined and classier than your average SUV. Super-easy to live with, once you've driven a CR-V you'll wonder how you ever managed without one. ~ MotorBar
.
Honda CR-V 1.5T VTEC SR 7-seat AWD CVT | 33,445
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 10 seconds | Test Average: 34.9mpg
Power: 190bhp | Torque: 179lb ft | CO2: 162g/km

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