Building on excellence
JIMS 2008: HONDA CR-V Building on excellence
- Latest CR-V model range builds on current success
- 2,4-litre i-VTEC petrol engine boosts performance and tractability
- Uprated specification across the range
- Premium-quality interior improved even further
- Class-leading turbodiesel engine retained
- Real-time 4WD allows go-anywhere versatility
- Car-like dynamics, thanks to refined ride and handling prowess
Honda's CR-V all-terrainer has surpassed all expectations since its 2006 debut in South Africa.
Despite a softer new car market, the CR-V rapidly became SA's top-selling compact SUV, thanks to its combination of stylish looks, luxurious interior, refined performance and exceptional value for money.
However, in line with Honda SA's ongoing quest to offer its customers best-in-class products across its model ranges, the CR-V range was updated in 2008 to enhance its appeal even further.
Some of the improvements were specifically developed for SA conditions, and were introduced here as a direct result of customer feedback. Indeed, the close communication between Honda SA and its customers was a core component of the upgrade package.
The CR-V, now in its third generation, has emulated and even exceeded the popularity of its predecessors, and with good reason. Successfully mixing car and SUV characteristics, the CR-V fulfils the motoring and leisure needs of a broader motoring audience than ever before.
The CR-V has a ‘cab-forward’ design, including a coupé-like tapering side window profile. But the most obvious visual characteristic is the bold, prominent front. The vertically opening tailgate’s curved screen and sculpted lower panel add further distinction.
Clever hinge construction and geometry, as well as lightweight components, ensure that little effort is needed to open or close the tailgate. In order to keep down the centre of gravity, the full-size spare is under the cargo floor.
At 556 litres with the rear seats in place, the cargo bay is generous, and expands to 955 litres with the rear seat tumbled forward.
Convenient storage areas are easily accessible and include a 6,9-litre glove compartment. Above it is a lidded passenger tray with a capacity of 3,1 litres. The driver’s seat has a seatback pocket, while capacious door bins front and rear can accommodate a 500 ml bottle. Cup holders abound.
The cabin blends efficient ergonomics and clever storage integration with contemporary architecture and premium materials. The front bucket seats are generous and comfortable, while the gear lever is usefully located at the base of the centre stack to create a roomier floor area.
Comprehensive instruments employ a mix of analogue dials and digital graphs, further underlining the CR-V's fresh character. Generous glass areas make for an airy, bright ambience, while allowing good, all-round visibility.
Equipped with many of the luxury and refinement elements usually associated with a D-segment luxury saloon, the CR-V is also a safe SUV: multiple airbags join ABS brakes with EBD, active head restraints, self-tensioning seatbelts, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) and selective central locking are all included.
The CR-V is four-star safety rated by the Euro-NCAP authority, and also received a four-star pedestrian rating.
The CR-V's Real Time 4WD system automatically engages only when required. But once operational, it continues to offer excellent on-road traction in slippery conditions and good ‘grass and gravel’ terrain capability.
The system automatically transfers torque to the rear wheels when needed, and significantly improves stability during start up and cornering on slippery surfaces. It also helps reduce engine and road noise.
The CR-V’s handling characteristics are car-like, using MacPherson struts at the front and reactive link double wishbones at the rear. A wider track and 17-inch wheels contribute to the Honda's confidence.
Steering response is fast and direct and body roll is reduced, while the agility of the vehicle makes for an entertaining driving experience normally associated with a passenger car rather than a SUV.
All CR-Vs are equipped with ABS brakes for optimum performance, boosted by Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist. Electric power steering is standard.
Static bending stiffness is also up by 32 percent, while better balance between the front and rear lateral stiffness delivers greater handling stability and response to driver inputs.
All CR-V models are now equipped with 225/65 R17 tyres on alloy wheels. Low rolling resistance tyres contribute to the excellent fuel economy.
New For 2008
The most important improvement for 2008 was the fitment of a more powerful 2,4-litre engine to the CR-V's petrol-powered range.
It increases maximum power from 110 to 122 Kw. at 5 800 r/min. The torque peak figure now comes to 220 Nm at 4 200 r/min, up significantly from the smaller power plant's 190 Nm. The larger-capacity mill significantly improves the CR-V's usability and tractability for more effortless cruising and improved towing prowess.
As a result, the manual CR-V 2.4 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9,6 sec (11,2 sec for the automatic transmission), while top speed is 190 km/h.
Buyers of the new 2.4 RVi and RVSi models still get to choose between a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic gearbox, while the CR-V's sophisticated four-wheel drive system also remains in place, operating seamlessly to provide optimum traction on and off the road.
The advent of the new engine also heralded a number of detail changes to the interior specification and standard equipment levels. Again, these were introduced as a result of customer feedback.
The RVi specification list now includes items such as steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and benefits from enhanced safety equipment. Six airbags are standard, as are active head restraints and Isofix child seat mountings. Both automatic locking and selective locking have been included in the RVi's features list, too.
The upmarket status of the RVi is underscored by new, scratch-resistant chrome door handles, while the exterior mirrors are colour-coded in the interests of a smarter, more cohesive appearance.
The dearer RVSi models share the same, comprehensive list of standard features, but a full leather interior, an electrically adjustable driver seat and an electric glass sunroof are added to the array of luxuries, while rain-sensing windscreen wipers are also standard.
Advanced i-CTDI turbodiesel
The much-anticipated i-CTDi turbodiesel-powered CR-V model joined its petrol-engined siblings in June 2007, and has established itself as the most refined and car-like turbodiesel SUV on the market.
Its advanced turbodiesel engine is already renowned for its quiet operation and smooth refinement, while it shares the distinctive styling, intelligent all-wheel drive system and spacious versatility of the petrol model.
The unit is a common-rail design, and links a useful 103 kW of maximum power to a crunching 340 Nm of torque at 2 000 r/min. It is offered in conjunction with a six-speed manual gearbox only, while the petrol versions can be had with a six-speed manual, or a five-speed auto 'box.
Compared to the 2.4i petrol version, the i-CTDi model gets to 100 km/h from rest in 10,6 seconds, with an identical 190 km/h top speed.
Of course, the i-CTDi is the more fuel efficient of the two models, with a combined-cycle diesel consumption of only 6,5 litres/100 km. Even so, the 2,4-litre i-VTEC engine suits the CR-V like a glove, and achieves a consumption figure of 9,5 litres.
For 2008, Honda has increased the standard specification levels to match and even improve on the top-end RVSi petrol version.
While the initial i-CTDi model featured cloth upholstery, this latest version offers leather as standard, while the driver's seat is electrically operated. Again, a glass sunroof is also included.
Other items added to the i-CTDi's standard features list are rain-sensing windscreen wipers and a full-size spare wheel, while the central locking system has an auto-locking and selective unlocking mode.
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