With cumulative global sales of 9,0-million units in more than 150 countries, the fourth-generation Honda CR-V is the world’s best-selling SUV. The fifth-generation CR-V is making its South African debut this month, and this all-new variant looks set to extend that success even further. According to Honda, this latest version is the most advanced, most spacious and most sophisticated iteration of the popular compact SUV to date.

From a local perspective, it builds on a successful track record stretching back over more than 20 years, when the CR-V pioneered the compact SUV sector in South Africa.

Completely redesigned and re-engineered from the ground up, the new Honda CR-V features a striking exterior design, and a more spacious, quieter cabin with extended rear legroom and an expanded cargo compartment. As has become the Honda norm, the latest CR-V’s pricing adopts an all-inclusive strategy, ensuring strong value, too.

The cabin execution is even smarter than before, with enhanced ergonomics and materials, while ease of entry and exit is best in class. The CR-V’s two-mode floor allows the interior to be configured in a variety of different ways to reflect individual requirements. In addition, the infotainment systems have been upgraded with extended functionality.

The drivetrain offering includes the option of a high-efficiency turbocharged engine for the first time on CR-V. The four-cylinder, forced-induction engine delivers exceptional power and torque output across a broad rev range, benefiting performance and tractability, while also achieving impressive economy figures.

The new CR-V is based on a completely new platform architecture, allowing the newcomer to achieve significant gains in overall ride quality and refinement, as well as crisper steering response, enhanced ride comfort, and more composed handling. The result is a vehicle that’s more polished, and more engaging to drive.

STYLING

The new Honda CR-V is a real head-turner that is both strikingly different while remaining unmistakably Honda. The styling cues mirror the more extrovert approach of the latest Civic, but also create a distinctive, SUV-specific appearance that expresses the newcomer’s bolder aesthetics.

Central to the bold front-end appearance are the curved, slimline headlights which frame the broad-barred grille, and feature integrated daytime running lights. The bonnet’s pronounced contours meet the base of the slim A-pillar for a neatly integrated appearance that emphasises the Honda’s streamlined look.

Below the main grille, dual air intakes with a dark meshed finish split the colour-coded bumper, while the top model gains both LED headlights and front LED fog lamps. A metallic scuff plate underlines the new CR-V’s SUV identity.

Viewed in profile, the CR-V’s aerodynamic shape is even more apparent, thanks to the smooth roofline with its smoothly integrated roof rails, the subtly curved waistline, the narrow side glass aperture and the raked rear screen.

The rear appearance is equally arresting, thanks to the inverted LED taillight clusters, linked by a chromed garnish strip, and positioned high up on a tail gate that extends all the way down to bumper level. The rear scuff plate is home to a pair of prominent exhaust tailpipes on 1.5T models, adding a sporty touch.

Contrasting protective cladding applied to the lower sections of the new CR-V’s body panels, together with pronounced wheel arch extensions, introduce an element of ruggedness, while new-design alloy wheels add further visual class.

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INTERIOR

The new Honda CR-V boasts a cabin that is significantly more spacious, thanks to a significant increase in wheelbase, as well as wider front and rear tracks. The result is a meaningful increase in total interior volume.

Rear passenger legroom has been boosted by a full 9 cm, and there is more shoulder room both front and rear. The 60/40 split rear bench seat can be folded flat to expand cargo capacity, creating a completely flat loading floor in the process.

The interior execution is also even more sophisticated than previously, thanks to the use of upgraded materials and finishes. Soft-touch surfaces, matt alloy accents and finely crafted stitching add to the upmarket ambience.

Ergonomically, one of the key interior highlights is the introduction of a full-colour TFT driver information interface, which replaces the previous model’s conventional analogue dials. Located in a dedicated binnacle directly ahead of the driver, the display is dominated by a graph-type rev counter, accompanied by a digital speedometer.

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Depending on model, a centrally located 5″ or 7″ display provides user-friendly access to the new CR-V’s infotainment system. The centre stack also houses the controls for the dual-zone climate control system, and extends to the selector lever for the Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT), which is standard across the range.

The overall dashboard design is clean and uncluttered, adding to the impression of elegance that permeates the entire cabin. The centre console includes a lidded binnacle that also acts as a centre armrest, while dual cupholders are provided in an open storage box in front of the armrest.

The front bucket seats are contoured for comfort and support, and all models except the entry-level Comfort version feature electric seat adjustment and even seat heating as standard.

Rear accommodation is generous, with best-in-class rear legroom. The rear bench seat has a fold-down armrest and is split 60:40. Folding down the rear seat backrest creates a large, flat-floored cargo space.

With the seats in place the CR-V offers 522 litres of luggage space, extendable to 1 084 litres with the seatbacks folded down.

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DRIVETRAIN

The new Honda CR-V is offered with a choice of two drivetrains. The 2.0 Comfort and 2.0 Elegance models are powered by a refined version of the 2,0-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine employed in the previous CR-V.

The normally aspirated unit is equipped with variable valve timing and programmed fuel injection, and has a rated maximum power output of 113 kW at 6 500 r/min, combined with a torque peak of 189 Nm at 4 300 r/min.

The 1 997 cc engine is linked to Honda’s highly regarded Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift control logic, which provides all the convenience of an automatic gearbox, but optimises the drive ratio for the particular driving circumstances. The gearbox also offers pre-set steps for manual selection. Drive is to the front wheels.

The 1.5T Executive and 1.5T Exclusive models break new ground for the CR-V by offering turbocharged power for the first time. The 1 498 cc turbo engine is equipped with programmed, direct fuel injection, variable valve timing to deliver 140 kW of maximum power at 5 600 r/min, together with 240 Nm of maximum torque in a broad band between 2 000 and 5 000 r/min.

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The new turbo engine is again accompanied by Honda’s CVT gearbox, but is linked to an intelligent Real Time AWD system that seamlessly transfers power from the front to the rear wheels when additional traction is required.

The system has undergone significant improvements for the new CR-V, including a substantial increase in maximum rear wheel torque delivery, and a new intelligent control system for improved overall performance, without having to wait for the front wheels to slip before proportioning torque to the rear.

The all-wheel drive system delivers the efficiency and economy of front-wheel drive on normal surfaces, but offers additional traction, composure and peace of mind when travelling on compromised surfaces such as wet roads or gravel tracks.

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PLATFORM AND SUSPENSION

The fifth-generation Honda CR-V employs an all-new platform offering significant gains in torsional rigidity. This in turn benefits handling and refinement.

This latest CR-V also incorporates Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which ensures the highest available level of collision safety by efficiently dissipating impact energy and retaining the integrity of the passenger safety cell.

Like the previous model, the new CR-V combines a MacPherson strut-based front suspension with a multilink rear configuration. However, the entire suspension has been revised to optimise its application here.

This includes the use of liquid-filled bushings and special, low-friction dampers, while new, tubular stabiliser bars in front and solid stabiliser bars at the rear ensure improved turn-in response and more composed cornering.

The dual-pinion, variable-ratio electric power steering has also been recalibrated to enhance steering precision and feedback.

MODEL LINE-UP AND FEATURES

The new Honda CR-V range consists of four models, comprising a choice of two engines and four specification levels. All four models feature Honda’s latest-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). There is also a choice of front-wheel drive and intelligent all-wheel drive.

Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort FWD

It may represent the entry point to the new Honda CR-V range, but the 2.0 Comfort is anything but entry level, offering an extensive offering of standard comfort, convenience and safety features.

Combining the proven 2,0-litre petrol engine with a CVT gearbox and front-wheel drive, the 2.0 Comfort offers swift performance and high levels of efficiency. Top speed is 192 km/h, while the combined-cycle fuel consumption figure is 7,3 litres per 100 km (in line with the 93/116/EC standard).

Distinguishing exterior features include aluminium-look front and rear scuff plates, and brushed aluminium roof rails, while the vehicle runs on new 17″ alloy wheels, shod with 235/65 R17 tyres.

The 2.0 Comfort is equipped with halogen main headlights and striking, inverted LED daytime running lights, while low-mounted fog lights are also standard. The rear taillights incorporate bright LED technology.

Inside, the spacious cabin features an upmarket execution with smart cloth upholstery and metallic accents, a soft-touch instrument panel featuring an innovative digital driver information interface instead of conventional instrumentation, and an extensive list of comfort, safety and convenience features.

The dashboard is also home to a 5″ full-colour display that acts as an intuitive interface for the CR-V’s infotainment system. It allows set-up and control of the four-speaker audio system, as well as use of Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free telephony and music streaming.

A USB port and AUX input are provided for external sources, and there are two 12V accessory power sockets: one in the instrument panel and the other in the centre console box.

The CR-V 2.0 Comfort’s list of convenience features includes dual-zone climate control with rear-mounted air vents, rear park distance sensors, and electrically operated front and rear windows. The exterior mirrors are also electrically adjustable, and an electric parking brake is standard.

A multi-function steering wheel ensures safe access to and control of the audio system, cruise control and hands-free telephony. The headlights are automatically activated in poor ambient light, while the hazard lights will automatically start flashing under heavy braking.

Talking of safety, the CR-V 2.0 Comfort offers a raft of active and passive safety features. Passive systems include dual front and side SRS airbags, while curtain airbags are standard, too.

Three-point inertia reel seatbelts are fitted front and rear, with a pre-tensioning feature for the front belts, along with ISOFix child seat anchors at the rear. Automatic brake hold, a feature usually associated with premium-segment models, is standard.

Active safety systems include ABS anti-lock control, augmented by electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) for the all-disc braking system, as well as Honda’s proprietary Agile Handling Assist (AHA), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Hill Start Assist (HAS) systems.

Also included is a Driver Attention Monitor that measures driver attention and delivers audible and tactile alerts. The system continuously monitors and assesses driver behaviour behind the wheel.

It uses data from the electric power steering to measure the frequency and severity of the driver’s steering inputs, and then determines awareness in four steps. A bar graph and coffee cup icon are used to display the determined level of awareness.

When driver awareness drops, the system prompts the driver to take a break via a message on the Multi-Information Display. If the driver persists in driving, and the awareness level drops further, the system sounds a beeper and vibrates the steering wheel as audible and tactile prompt to take a break, or to pay closer attention.

The system is standard across the entire Honda CR-V range.

Remote central locking with speed-sensitive auto door locking and selective unlocking, and immobiliser with integrated alarm, are among the CR-V 2.0 Comfort’s security features.

This model also offers ample storage options, including a glove compartment, a centre console box, seat back pockets for both front seats, and an overhead storage case for sunglasses. The front and rear door panels also incorporate storage binnacles with integrated bottle holders.

Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance FWD

The CR-V 2.0 Elegance is technically identical to the more affordable Comfort model, including the same drivetrain and exterior execution. But the Elegance does offer a further enhanced package of interior features.

Immediately noticeable is the standard leather upholstery, which adds an additional level of luxury to the CR-V’s cabin. Equally prominent is the larger, 7″ Display Audio interface that offers easier access to the vehicle’s infotainment features.

The system offers enhanced functionality, including Apple CarPlay, which allows seamless integration of iPhone features and functions, such as the iDevice’s own GPS navigation, voice-controlled search capability, and selected apps.

The audio capability has also been enhanced, and features no less than eight loudspeakers: one mid/bass unit in each door, as well as a pair of tweeters front and rear. An additional USB connection is provided in front, while rear passengers get a second pair of USB sockets. There’s also a HDMI connection.

The front seats offer eight-way electric adjustment with a memory function in the case of the driver’s seat, and four-way power adjustment for the passenger seat. Front seat heating is standard.

Park distance control is offered both front and rear, while the electric rear-view mirrors gain a heating function. The left exterior mirror tilts down when reversing for easier parking. The multifunction steering wheel is leather-trimmed, and now features gear shift paddles for manual CVT operation. The Elegance model also gains auto-sensing windscreen wipers.

A wide-angle conversation mirror is included below the sunglasses holder, while the vanity mirrors are illuminated.

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Honda CR-V 1.5T Executive AWD

Honda’s first ever turbocharged CR-V is offered with all-wheel drive only, and adds even more comfort, convenience and technology to this latest-generation compact SUV.

The 1.5T Executive is powered by Honda’s powerful and efficient force-induced, 1,5-litre petrol engine, delivering 140 kW of maximum power and a torque peak of 240 Nm. Like the other CR-V models, a seamless CVT gearbox is standard.

The CR-V makes full use of its intelligent, Real Time AWD system to reach a top speed of 200 km/h. Fuel consumption is 7,0 litres/100 km (in line with the 93/116/EC standard), and an associated CO2 emissions level of 167 g/km.

The exterior design of the 1.5T Executive shares all the key features of the 2,0-litre models, but gains 18-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/60 R18 tyres. The headlights are full LED designs, complete with matching, inverted LED daytime running lights.

Inside, the 1.5T Executive has the same, sophisticated combination of leather upholstery, the Digital Driver Information Interface and the 7″ Display Audio infotainment system as the 2.0 Elegance.

Active Noise Control, an advanced noise cancelling system that actively combats ambient noise in the cabin, ensures that occupants of the new CR-V can enjoy the audio system’s performance to the full.

The comprehensive features list of the Elegance is further expanded by the addition of a panoramic sunroof, auto-levelling for the headlights, and a start/stop button instead of a conventional ignition key, while the remote central locking system includes keyless smart entry.

Honda CR-V 1.5T Exclusive AWD

The flagship of the new Honda CR-V range is the 1.5T Exclusive. Mechanically, it is identical to the Executive model, combining the same 1,5-litre turbo engine with a CVT gearbox and intelligent all-wheel drive.

The Exclusive also benefits from the same 18″ alloy wheels. In fact, the only exterior feature distinguishing the Exclusive from the Executive model is the use of three-element LED front fog lamps.

Inside, the luxurious ambience created by the leather upholstery and metallic accents remains, as does the sense of space, and the user-friendly ergonomics, thanks to the TFT-based Digital Driver Information Interface.

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A key benefit offered by the Exclusive model is the integrated satellite navigation system, incorporated into the Display Audio system and offering full-colour mapping and turn-by-turn instructions. This further enhances the comprehensive infotainment suite offered by the latest CR-V.

Another stand-out feature is the electrically operated tailgate, with programmable opening height. Tyre pressure monitoring is another useful feature that provides early and immediate warning of a loss of tyre pressure.

In line with its range-topping status, the 1.5T Exclusive is the only CR-V offered with Honda’s comprehensive set of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) — a comprehensive array of active systems aimed at assisting the CR-V driver to safely deal with hazardous driving conditions.

Collectively known as Honda Sensing, they comprise Collision Mitigation Braking (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed following (LSF) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS).

Additional new driver-assistive technologies include Lanewatch (Blind Spot Monitoring – BSM) and Auto High Beam (HSS) headlights.

COLOURS

The new Honda CR-V range is available in a choice of six colours: White Orchid Pearlescent, Passion Red Pearlescent, Lunar Silver Metallic, Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and Dark Olive Metallic.

PRICING, WARRANTY AND SERVICE PLAN

The new Honda CR-V goes on sale through Honda’s national dealer network at the end of August 2017. Recommended retail pricing at launch is as follows:

CR-V 2.0 Comfort                        R422 900

CR-V 2.0 Elegance                      R477 900

CR-V 1.5T Executive                    R584 900

CR-V 1.5T Exclusive                    R626 900

The range is backed by a comprehensive five-year or 200 000 km warranty, as well as a five-year or 90 000 km service plan.

Also included is a three-year AA Road Assist package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals for the 2.0-litre models, and 10 000 km for the 1,5-litre turbo variants.

In other motoring related news, Volkswagen recently announced that it is launching a limited edition Beetle R-Line model with only 50 units being made available to participating Volkswagen dealerships.