2017 Honda CR-V Middle East Launch – First Drive Impressions
The family-friendly Honda CR-V is now setting the new standards.
It’s a known fact that SUVs are outselling the sedans. No surprise here as SUVs are more capable than orthodox sedans as they can go beyond where sedans just can’t. Thanks to its boxy wagon design, SUV’s can carry more cargo without hitting the ground due to their raised height. Above all, their presence is more felt on the road than the sedans. So these probably are the fundamental factors to form a business case for a manufacturer to have an SUV in its portfolio.
Checking all the above boxes Honda introduced a Compact Recreational Vehicle concept in 1995 based on a then Honda Civic platform (code name RD1-RD3), which went straight to the production line as CR-V. It instantly grabbed the attention of the public and was universally liked due to its compact size, lightweight, and ergonomically designed interior. Today CR-V moved into the 5th generation with a legacy of 5 million sales worldwide. Even though design wise its roots can be traced back to the 3rd gen CR-V, however, a lot has improved: from technology to hardware and a refreshed design displaying a premium outfit and smart technologies for added safety.
The all-new 2017 Honda CR-V is recently introduced here in UAE. Honda chose Ras Al Khaimah to invite media for the regional launch and as the test drive location. Probably to recluse from the towering urban jungle of Dubai and to experience the scenic and wildered Ras Al Khaimah. The driving impressions are based on the restraint convoy-style-drive, yet there was enough time experience the all-new 5th generation 2017 CR-V.
Attractive Design – 8.5/ 10
From the highly recognizable front end that now incorporates striking LED headlights (in our Touring model) that define Honda’s Wing-Design philosophy, which actually gives expanded yet sleek look. The newly design front end boasts aggressive looks thanks to the wider fender and the larger wheel arches completes the SUV’s bolder stance. The rear also follows the same design philosophy with the all-new tall and wide taillights and tube LED glowing inside the larger reflector casings. Gleaming chrome accents minimal yet all-around the CR-V accentuates the premium look with contrasting black lower body valance and front grill enhances the sturdy and sporty character.
Inside, the cabin continues to have the CR-V patent legacy design since 2005. the speedboat style gear lever up close to the steering and center console which actually allows freeing up the space between the driver and the passenger seat for more important stuff like placing your drinks and enjoying them during the drive in a hassle free manner. that’s just one element of the Honda’s attention to detail in terms of excellent ergonomics. The dash design now itself follows the exterior wing-like front design. hence what you see is an easy-on-eyes widespread leather covered dashboard with clutter-less easy to access dials for HVAC.
New to 2017 CR-V is the fully configurable digital instrument cluster which allows the driver to personalize the available menus as per his driving needs right from the steering wheel. Our top-trim Touring model also benefited from Honda’s 7-inch LCD touch screen Display Audio – is simultaneously compatible with Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto platforms. I believe its a must for any customer these days shopping for a car.
The best perks are gained in terms intelligently designed interior space. The 2017 CR-V now has an additional 250 mm on cargo space behind the driver seat. the rear door also proves a complete 60-degree wide opening access into the cabin making the egress and ingress breeze for the rear occupants. Honda also highlighted the ample availability storage bin that each door has which can easily accommodate not just water bottles but also the tablets and umbrellas as well.
The Drive – 7.5/ 10
The appearance and the design are the single most important factor that pulls the crowd to the showroom floor. However, the first test drive would let the customer decide to place the order. Like the trim level, performance does matter. Some like it hot and some like it cold! Yet manufacturers are trying to find a sweet spot to satisfy both types of customers. Unlike other markets where CR-V is offered with a turbocharged 1.5l 4- cylinder for spirited driving. here in UAE, the 2017 CR-V is equipped with Earth Dreams 2.4-litre DOHC, direct injected i-VTEC engine mated continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Honda G-Shift control logic. The 2.4. naturally aspirated engine produces an industry standard 184-horsepower @ 6400rpm and a torque of 244NM @ 3900rpm.
It provides a linear acceleration which does not raise the heart beat nor creates any drama. Even though paddle shifters were added to our 2017 CR-V to prove its sporty intention, the engine only delivers a sober drive. However, the smooth shifting CVT with sporty mode emulates high Rpm shift points. This setup returns the best in class fuel economy 15.5Km/L for 2WD and 14.7 Km/L for AWD models.
Our test drive session was a restraint and in-convoy type so we never had a chance to test the AWD functionality over rough terrains. However, Honda confirmed that the new 2017 CR-V features an advanced Real Time AWD system. This allows 57% more torque shift to the rear wheel to keep the balance all wheel rotation and all weather traction. Honda has also introduced a new platform to provide dynamic and agile handling. A flatter fuel tank is placed to increase the low center of gravity and a floating subframe with liquid compliance bushes on all ends transmits lesser NVH into the cabin. Class leading larger disc brakes all around ensure best-in-class braking performance.
Safety – 9.0/ 10
Honda is one of the leading automakers in terms of setting the new standards in safety. Honda’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. 2017 CR-V achieves the highest available collision safety ratings, including an NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Other than structural safety, CR-V here is blessed with the best safety features. From four stage driver attention monitor that constantly measures the driver fatigue by sensing the steering angles provides timely alerts to the driver to stay focus on the course. otherwise, from stage three onwards a constant vibration is sent thru the steering wheel and then at the fourth stage, a steaming Coffee cup appears on the instrument cluster asking the driver to take a break and refresh himself. Also unique is the Honda LANEWATCH feature in EX and Touring grades, uses a camera located in the passenger door mirror to display a clear image of the vehicles in the right-side lanes on the 7-inch Display Audio screen.
Active-safety features such as Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control Systems (TCS), Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), Electronic Brake Distributor (EBD), Agile Handling Assist, Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), Brake Over-Ride System and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Rear Parking Sensors are present in LX, EX and Touring grades.
Buyer’s Guide to the Galaxy – 8.0/ 10
It’s clear that what matters the most to the Honda CR-V customers. Hence Honda has answered and provided a quality package. The driving impressions have improved as now the driver can enjoy the pleasant ride thanks to the added next level safety features which Honda refers to it as Honda Sensing introduced in 2016 Accord Coupe. Besides, the Honda Sensing suite, the Our tester came with a Remote Control Engine Starter, Walk-away proximity Locking. A panoramic sunroof, 8 Way Power Driver Seat & 4 Way Power Lumbar Support. i-Dual Zone Air-condition. An exclusive sound system with 8 speakers. HDMI Jack, and USB Jack x2 + Rear USB Jack x2 (for charging only). Power Tailgate with adjustable height feature to name few.
The 2WD only base LX starts at an 89,900 and LX Plus adds another AED10,000 to the base price. AWD EX comes at 113,900. Customers can choose from 9 exterior colors and 2 interior colors. This crossover compact SUV segment is quite tight and hardly provides any breathing space. Honda knows how to stay ahead of its competitors like Ford Escape which comes with a powerful engine, Volkswagen Tiguan ensuring high German quality, Toyota RAV4 and the twins Hyundai Tuscon and Kia Sportage. Customers who prefer the peace of mind and aware of Honda’s legacy can enjoy the treat. Our fully kitted Honda CR-V in Touring trim is available for AED125,000.
Image Credits: Honda UAE