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Old 8th March 2013, 15:05   #1
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Default Honda CR-V : Driven

The Honda CR-V has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 19.95 - 23.85 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• Locally built and thus, better priced (than the earlier CBU version)
• Car-like driving dynamics. Rides & handles like a sedan
• Spacious interiors. Accommodating boot too
• User-friendly nature. Also, very light & easy to pilot in the city
• Topnotch safety - ABS, EBD, 6 Airbags, all-round disc brakes etc.
• Honda's reliability & ownership experience

What you won’t:

• A petrol-only SUV. No diesel option. Thus, lower resale & higher running costs
• Bulky rear end styling. Looks quirky from some angles
• EPS steering stays light at highway speeds. The previous-gen's hydraulic steering is history
• 5-Speed AT has slow shift & response times
• Prominent road & wind noise
• No third row of seats (like the Outlander, Fortuner and other 7-seater SUVs)


Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2013 at 16:38.
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Old 8th March 2013, 15:05   #2
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In the current time of SUVs like the XUV500 & Fortuner ruling the roost, it's hard to believe that the petrol Honda CR-V was once the best selling premium SUV in India. Of course, that was a time when petrol prices were still reasonable and diesel competition was scarce. The rising cost of petrol, the introduction of new competitors and the CR-V's ever increasing CBU price changed things pretty quickly.

Now, Honda has decided to assemble the CR-V in India. Steep import taxes are thus avoided, resulting in a better price-tag. There is zero localization however; the kit is fully imported from Thailand. No surprise considering that the CR-V's market size will be limited due to the lack of a diesel option, although recent government moves suggest that the petrol:diesel price difference will get slimmer.

Honda CR-V : Driven-honda-crv-price-specifications.png

This is the 4th generation CR-V. Based on the new Honda Civic platform, the CR-Vís primary market is the USA. Although it's not a quantum leap ahead of the outgoing generation, and the changes are evolutionary (rather than revolutionary), there is a sense of all-round improvement. The new CR-V is 30 mm shorter than the outgoing car, yet the wheelbase is identical at 2,620 mm. Variant to variant, itís a mere 5 kilos heavier. Where the 3rd generation car wore a quirky face, the new CR-V's sharp design has broader appeal. I believe this is the best looking CR-V till date. The front is dominated by an integrated headlamp & grill design. The HID projectors (halogen on the 2.0L version) look great. While paint & build quality are topnotch, some of you might find the chrome treatment to be excessive. The fat D-Pillar area looks much too bulky though. Rear styling is awkward, even if it reminds one of the Volvo XC60. Also, I would have preferred the rear windshield to be a tad less curvy. The CR-V rides on 225/65 R17 Michelins mounted on 10 spoke 17-inch alloys. The wheels look similar to those of the Honda Accord.

Honda CR-V : Driven-honda-crv-feature-list.png

Overall, the 4th gen maintains the same design language and you wonít mistake it for anything but a CR-V. If you are looking for a butch or macho presence, consider other options. The CR-V looks its part as a soft urban SUV:






2.4L variant gets HID projectors with washers. 2.0L gets halogen headlamps:




225/65 R17 rubber:


Rear camera is neatly tucked away under the chrome garnish:

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2013 at 14:04. Reason: Fixing Feature List
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Old 8th March 2013, 15:06   #3
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The doors open wide, and the vehicle height makes ingress & egress very easy. Step inside the CR-V and you'll see a straightforward design with lots of space for front seat occupants. Parts are well-screwed together and the interior feels durable. Overall quality is good, but not excellent by Rs. 20 lakh standards. Most plastics are hard to the touch; no soft-touch materials here like the Skoda Superb or even the Laura. It doesn't exactly feel premium, even if overall finesse and quality are far superior to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner:


The tilt & telescopic steering fits perfectly in your hands. Driver controls are logically placed (as is normally the case with Hondas & Toyotas). In fact, all buttons - right from the seat-belt height adjustment to the electric seat controls - are ergonomically perfect:


Steering-mounted audio & cruise control:


Easy to read dials. When driving economically, the white band surrounding the speedometer gets progressively greener:


The high seating position offers you a superb view of the road ahead. Excellent driver's seat with electric adjustment:


However, rearward view is limited and the thick D-pillars do create blind spots:


The pedal area is properly spaced out and comfortable to use. I would have preferred the dead pedal to be more elevated though:


MID throws out the usual data on fuel economy, distance to empty etc. You can set a graphical wallpaper of your choice on the MID screen:


Honda offers a touchscreen audio-video-navigation system (optional on the topmost variant) that's nice to use. It even provides information on the nearest Honda service station / showroom. On the flip side, the cost of the AVN system is a prohibitive 150,000 rupees. You could get a far superior audio solution in the after-market for the same money:


Reversing camera in action:


The regular audio system (lower variants):


Dual-zone climate control chills the interiors in no time:


Unconventional gear knob placement (on the center console) releases plenty of storage space:


Sliding center armrest:


Under the armrest is a reasonable amount of storage space. You'll find the 2nd charging point and USB port here. Up ahead is room for 3 bottles of water:


Only the driver's window gets an auto up / down function + pinch guard:


Illuminated vanity mirror:


Fairly sized holder for sunglasses:


Small glove compartment isn't accommodating:


Flippy key feels durable:


Adequate rear legroom & flat floor. Three adults are an easy fit. Rear under-thigh support is strictly average due to the seat being lower than before. Chauffeur-driven folks should consider the (cheaper) Honda Accord instead. Also, I found the seat compound to be too firm. It should have been softer:


Rear armrest with cup-holders:


The rear air-con blower:


Flat floor. No hump means adequate foot room for three:


One touch seat-fold-down is awesome. Just tug on the lever...


...and the seats fall flat. The boot has a low loading height and a wide bay, making it easier to load luggage:


Seat bases need to be flipped forward manually to get a flatter floor space:


The spare is an alloy wheel:

Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2013 at 16:35.
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Old 8th March 2013, 15:06   #4
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The Honda CR-V has two petrol engine options.

The 2.0L SOHC Motor:
154 BHP (@ 6,500 rpm). A 13 BHP gain over the outgoing CR-V 2.0L
190 Nm of torque (@ 4,300 rpm)
ARAI rating of 13.7 kpl
6-speed manual or 5-speed auto transmission
FWD layout

The 2.4L DOHC Motor:
187 BHP (@ 7,000 rpm). A 29 BHP gain over the outgoing CR-V 2.4L
226 Nm of torque (@ 4,400 rpm)
ARAI rating of 12 kpl
5-speed Auto with paddle shifters. No manual transmission offered
AWD layout

The 2.0 is a smooth motor and is meant for the sedate driver who doesn't want extraordinary performance. Low end torque is just about acceptable, and this is a typical Honda engine that you need to revv to get the best out of. In bumper to bumper traffic, the mediocre torque (only 190 Nm) is evident and you have to keep your left hand busy with the gearshift. The 6-speed manual's clutch is super light and makes gear shifting effortless. It's a joy to use the gearbox and the 6 ratios are well chosen to extract the most from the engine. On the open road, the 2.0L is extremely redline happy, like most Honda petrols. In fact, the 2.0 MT feels quicker than the 2.4 AT (although it might be a different story with the 2.0 AT which we haven't driven). The 6th gear ratio is very tall and should maximise tank range on long highway drives.

It is the 2.4L petrol that feels more at home in a car of this size and price. The engine's additional muscle is immediately evident, and the motor offers more grunt all through the revv range. It is capable of making fast progress on the open road too. What's more, the engine note at high rpms is immensely sporty, although some folk might find it to be too loud. Unfortunately, the only transmission of choice with the 2.4 is a fairly old-school 5-speed automatic. This slushbox is nowhere as quick as the competition's gearboxes. The AT feels lazy and even makes a loud whine at high rpm. Kickdown response time is poor; you're better off using the paddle shifts to demand a downshift. Note that you can hold the engine to the redline with the paddle shifters. To an enthusiast, the best engine + transmission combination would have been the 2.4L petrol with the 6-speed MT; unfortunately, the CR-V isn't available in that configuration.

The CR-V is equipped with an ECON button that can make the SUV run in economy mode. ECON maximizes fuel economy by adjusting the performance of the engine, transmission, air conditioning and cruise control. As an indicator of your driving efficiency, the colour band encircling the speedometer progressively turns green. ECON mode doesn't lead to a major difference in the fuel economy though, and you can expect the CR-V's urban FE to remain in the single digits. The 2.0 MT will be more efficient than the 2.4 AT, due to the manual transmission, lack of AWD and a lighter kerb weight. The absence of a diesel engine option is the CR-V's Achilles heel in the Indian market. Considering our fascination with diesel SUVs, and the fact that a CR-V diesel is sold internationally, it's inexplicable why Honda hasn't launched the oil-burner variant here.

There is a disappointingly high amount of wind and tyre noise at highway speeds. This isn't expected on a vehicle costing over 20 lakh rupees and will be an area of complaint with CR-V owners. It takes away from the premium experience that you expect of an expensive car.

The CR-V's steering is extremely light at low speeds, something that will please a majority of its users. The effortless steering feels very direct and makes city driving a breeze. Trouble is, the steering stays light at high speed. You need to keep a firm hand on the wheel, as it's quite sensitive and can give you a scare or two if you get distracted. The older CR-V's hydraulic power steering weighed up better on the expressway. The EPS' feedback is nothing to write home about either.

Ride quality is decent for the most part, and the CR-V absorbs most bumps with aplomb. There is an underlying firmness though, which you feel on large potholes or broken roads. Overall, most owners will end up satisfied with the CR-V's ride comfort. The best part of this SUV is that it rides like a car, unlike the unwieldy body-on-frame competition. This Honda will easily run rings around the likes of the Fortuner & Endeavour. The CR-V is nimble on its feet and maneuvering through traffic is easy. Parking isn't a big deal either, and made easier by the very competent rear view camera. Body roll, although present at high speed, is within safe limits. You can easily push the CR-V through fast corners, in a manner that most other SUVs can only dream of. Note that the 2.0 FWD CR-V feels more agile than the 2.4 AWD. Braking capability is top class and the car stops from 100+ kph with no fuss. The CR-V has disc brakes on all 4 wheels, along with ABS & EBD. Monocoque SUVs are so much better suited to the needs of most Indian customers.

The CR-V AWD is meant to be an "on-road" SUV. It drives primarily in FWD, switching to AWD mode & sending power to the rear wheels only when additional traction is required (say, under hard cornering). At best, the CR-V's AWD system can manage the occasional slush, muck & sand. The 170 mm of ground clearance isn't much by SUV standards, although we didn't encounter any problems on our drive. We'll have to wait for Team-BHP Ownership Reports to know whether the CR-V scrapes over large speed-breakers with a full load onboard.

The ECON button:


6-Speed manual transmission is a joy to use:


Disclaimer : Honda invited Team-BHP for the CR-V test drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2013 at 16:34.
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Old 8th March 2013, 16:54   #5
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Great review, Eddy. Thanks for sharing it with us. Rating thread a full 5 stars!

The CR-V is a mixed bag. While the new-gen only improves upon attributes that CR-V owners love, I’m not happy with the AT gearbox. The right combination appears to be the 2.4L with an MT, but Honda doesn’t sell that ideal variant. Still, the CR-V's main problem is the lack of a diesel motor. A diesel CR-V would absolutely fly off shelves.

The cheaper Outlander is quite tempting in comparison and is a great urban petrol SUV. However, HM has supply issues. From the diesels, the Skoda Yeti makes a compelling case for itself. The Yeti is one heck of a package and does everything the CR-V can…it’s only negatives being the weird looks, Skoda’s reliability & shady after-sales.

By the way, what is Maruti up to! That ridiculously priced Grand Vitara AT will touch 30 lakhs in Mumbai. It makes the CR-V & Outlander seem like a relative steal.

Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2013 at 16:55.
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Old 8th March 2013, 17:19   #6
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Fantastic review Eddy. Rating ***** stars.

Without the diesel heart I think its not going to do great numbers.
I personally feel this a cat-on-the-wall kind of vehicle. The offroad people wouldn't look for the CRV and those who look for the luxury can always go in for the accord. Anyways I do not think Honda is aiming for numbers.

Putting a diesel engine would surely eat into the T-Fort volumes.
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Old 8th March 2013, 17:53   #7
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Great report of the CR-V. It definitely is the best CR-V till date. One look at the rear and there is an instant visual of the Volvo XC60.

One point I would like to ask though about the first point mentioned in the Dislikes. Anyone who buys this will not be thinking of selling it for atleast 3 to 4 years. By this time Diesel and Petrol prices would more or less be corrected (read expensive). So in that case, will resale still be an issue? I personally feel that petrol cars will start commanding more resale after fuel price corrections because they are economical to maintain and would not need expensive spares. Fuel cost savings would anyway be negated after the price correction.
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Old 8th March 2013, 18:38   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_ash View Post
Great report of the CR-V. It definitely is the best CR-V till date. One look at the rear and there is an instant visual of the Volvo XC60.

One point I would like to ask though about the first point mentioned in the Dislikes. Anyone who buys this will not be thinking of selling it for atleast 3 to 4 years. By this time Diesel and Petrol prices would more or less be corrected (read expensive). So in that case, will resale still be an issue? I personally feel that petrol cars will start commanding more resale after fuel price corrections because they are economical to maintain and would not need expensive spares. Fuel cost savings would anyway be negated after the price correction.
I too am on the same train. I'm looking very closely at the CRV as my next purchase. The petrol only argument will in my opinion be redundant in next 5 yrs as the current price differential is simply unsustainable. It's not only the price difference but with the excise hike the fortuner 4 x2 mt is almost 3 lacs costly that lowest CRV model. And I generally keep my car for more than 5 yrs. so the cautious optimism of the fuel price parity and the initial price inference should more than cover my fuel expenses.

I could not TD the crv at the showroom because there isn't one there

So eddy my questions to you are:

Is the lack of torque so apparent in terms of city driving? I have a city 2010 and a toyota corolla 2005 and I see the difference in the torque in both them when it comes to driving in the city. Is the crv going to be cumbersome because of this in the City driving conditions ?

Also my city being the lowest grade model is pretty noisy on the highway cause of the wind and tire noise. Is the crv's wind and tire noise on the highway on the verge of being intrusive? What highway speeds is the noise prevelant? 90 - 100, or above 120 etc?

And what would be your realistic assumption of the fuel average for the 2.0 mt for both the city and the highway?

Is the steering really that vague at highway speeds that as you mentioned can be risky?

I would be very grateful if I have your inputs on these. All in all an excellent review something I was really looking forward to due to the reasons mentioned above.

Last edited by abs182 : 8th March 2013 at 18:43.
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Old 8th March 2013, 19:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_ash View Post
Anyone who buys this will not be thinking of selling it for atleast 3 to 4 years. By this time Diesel and Petrol prices would more or less be corrected (read expensive).
Quote:
Originally Posted by abs182 View Post
The petrol only argument will in my opinion be redundant in next 5 yrs as the current price differential is simply unsustainable.
Not really guys.

1. While petrol SUVs like the CR-V & Outlander give only 6 - 7 kpl in the city, diesel SUVs deliver 10 - 12 kpl. Remember, diesel engines are inherently more fuel efficient.

2. Thus, even if petrol & diesel ever cost the same in India, the petrol SUV will still cost 70 - 100% more to run. The diesel will also have more torque and a longer tank range.

I don't believe that diesel & petrol are going to cost the same anytime soon. Sure, the gap will narrow down, but it'll remain significant in the short to mid term.

Last edited by GTO : 8th March 2013 at 19:48.
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Old 8th March 2013, 19:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The right combination appears to be the 2.4L with an MT, but Honda doesnít sell that ideal variant.
Exactly what I thought when I first read about the variants Honda launched. And from Eddy's report, the AT is lethargic and nullifies the added 0.4l to a good extent :-(

Also, the tyre and wind noise seems a dampener - otherwise, the CRV is one of the best soft roaders with car like handling and stability
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Old 8th March 2013, 20:13   #11
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With Honda's fixation for petrol engines, they should look towards turbo charged petrol (some thing like T-jet or Ecoboost). The torque that 2.0 liter engine develops is less than what 1.4 liter T-jet develops in India.

A 1.8 turbo charged engine will give this car a different level of performance with refinement and efficiency. A better engine (turbo petrol or diesel) and ground clearance in range of 185-195 mm will make this a perfect choice for buyers in this segment.
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Old 8th March 2013, 20:17   #12
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Brilliant stuff, Eddy. Tpical Team-BHP official review quality stuff. One question - is the Earthdreams 1.6L Diesel on the cards for the country? That should be able to bring this stunner back where it belongs - at the top of the grid.
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Old 8th March 2013, 21:46   #13
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Is it only me or this car makes me feel its more of Hyundai designing rather than Honda? I think Honda got the looks all wrong. The older CRV used to look clean and pretty. This one just looks like a wannabe to me with hints of the Santa Fe all over it, specially the front. The rear now resembles the Volvo rather than the outgoing CRV.
Anyways keeping all things apart don't see many buyers for the vehicle given the only Petrol engine it comes with. Probably will soon become another one of those " just for the sake of launch" kind of cars.
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Old 8th March 2013, 22:30   #14
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The all grey dash is a bit sober. And i feel the quality is a step down which is quite visible in the pics.
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Old 8th March 2013, 22:44   #15
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Good review, but I think Honda should be thinking more somewhere on the lines of getting a diesel engine; than thinking on petrol only SUV's. The 6.8kmpl F.E shown; was it the instantaneous or the total average? And another thing; in the picture showing the A-B-C pedals, is it me only or is the clutch pedal higher than the brake which in turn is higher than the accelerator?? However, I have no doubts whatsoever on the engine/gearbox, since this being a Honda; both these would be very very impressive. Looks are subjective; and this one doesn't look all that bad.
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