There’s no surer way of really getting to know a vehicle than by spending long hours behind its wheel over an extended period. So when Honda Australia offered us a CR-V for two months rather than the usual rushed week we grabbed the opportunity.
Little did the lady at Honda know that we were planning to move house during that two month period and that her beloved CR-V would become a miniature truck, indeed we soon referred to it as our ‘mini workhorse’. It wasn’t used as a full-on removalist vehicle and asked to carry heavy stuff like fridges or wardrobes, but carried cardboard boxes by the dozen. Many of these boxes that contained my beloved collection of motoring books. (Bit sad, isn’t it?)
The fourth generation Honda CR-V is less of a 4WD than ever before, being unashamedly aimed at on-road use by those wanting a spacious compact wagon. So it has a ride hight that’s about halfway between that of a car and an SUV. This results in a mini workhorse with its load area at just the right height to make it easy to get our endless array of boxes in and out.
OK, so not many will use a Honda CR-V for endless removing runs, but those who do want to cart the paraphernalia that goes with modern families it will find it just so right.
In the current warfare on the Australian car market that sees prices being stripped to the bone, the Honda CR-V has a price list that start with the base model 2WD six-speed manual VTi at just $27,490. Ours was the same vehicle but with an automatic transmission and carried a tag of $29,790.The top CR-V 4WD automatic VTi-L with Honda’s Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) comes in at $45,790.
The windscreen has been moved forward and the length of the bonnet reduced to give the driver a clearer view forward.
Inside, the cabin is designed to give a feeling of openness. With the two front seats further apart than before, there is more shoulder room. In the back there is legroom to suit two adults, three without too much squeezing.
When it wasn’t carting our seemingly endless belongings we did take our CR-V on a couple of country trips to clear our minds. Cabin quietness thanks to engine and road noise has been increased by improved sound insulation in the floorpan, rear door and wheel arches, door frames, front bulkhead and bonnet.
Ride quality is good, but handling and steering, while safe enough, aren’t really a strong point in the CR-V as it’s softer than we like. Then again, the revhead nature of we motoring journalists is probably out of kilter with the preferences of the typical owner of this handy Honda.
The 2.0-litre fitted to the VTi two-wheel drive test vehicle produced maximum power of 114 kW and 190 Nm of torque. This is likely to be enough for most owners, but a 2.4-litre is there as an option in some models.
Fuel consumption was generally in the nine to ten litres per hundred kilometre range when we were working the little Honda hard, this dropped to an efficient seven to eight litres in country running.
Honda’s Eco Assist system helps the driver by providing arcs of light around the speedo that glow green if a certain level of throttle is exceeded, turning to white during heavy acceleration.
Further savings can be gained by engaging the Econ Mode via a button on the dashboard. This changes the mapping of the throttle system, ensuring a smooth increase in torque and better economy.
All models in the new Honda CR-V range have stability assist with traction control, adaptive electric power steering which works against understeer and oversteer, and anti-skid brakes with emergency stop.
Passive safety is provided by a body structure developed by Honda to give optimum protection for occupants in crash situations, while the front of the CR-V has been designed to minimise injury to any pedestrian involved in an accident with the vehicle.
Occupants are looked after in a crash by dual stage front airbags, driver and front passenger side airbags, and side curtain airbags that protect those in the outer seating positions.
Even in entry-level format, the Honda CR-V has a tilt and rake steering wheel, halogen headlights, multi-information display, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted buttons, reversing camera, integrated hands-free Bluetooth phone and audio with MP3 and WMA capability, and USB connectivity.
Our Honda CR-V has now gone back to a quieter lifestyle and is again a family transport not a mini workhorse, but we won’t forget how suitable it was for all the hard work we threw at it.
The complete Honda CR-V range is:
VTi 2WD: $27,490 (manual), $29,790 (automatic)
VTi-N 2WD: $31,790 (automatic)
VTi 4WD: $32,790 (automatic)
VTi-S 4WD: $36,290 (automatic)
VTi-L 4WD: $42,290 (automatic)
VTi-L ADAS: $45,790 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Honda dealer for driveaway prices.