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New 2013 Honda CR-V 2.0 review, test drive

In 2004, Honda introduced the second-generation CR-V in India. Honda sort of pioneered the soft-roader movement in the country with the CR-V by giving us an absolutely new kind of a vehicle. The CR-V brought the best of both car and SUV worlds as its core ingredients and Indians loved this blend.

In 2004, Honda introduced the second-generation CR-V in India. Honda sort of pioneered the soft-roader movement in the country with the CR-V by giving us an absolutely new kind of a vehicle. The CR-V brought the best of both car and SUV worlds as its core ingredients and Indians loved this blend.

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Although the CR-V carried a hefty price tag (it was a CBU), it had respectable sales figures during its initial tenure. The lack of a diesel motor option however saw the sales of the CR-V dip in the diesel favouring Indian market.

With the fourth generation CR-V being assembled in India, it's now being offered at a substantially cheaper 19.95 lakh price tag for the 2.0 litre manual model we tested. Moreover, considering the diminishing price disbalance between petrol and diesel, the lack of a diesel motor is becoming less of a deterrent for buyers.

Design

When you see the CR-V first, it is evident that the new car is visually far more assertive than its predecessor. The distinctive three-bar grille makes it look a lot more serious. The black cladding on the lower portion of the bumper and skid-plate treatment below the bumper gives it that SUV look. Honda has cleverly used sharp lines, cuts and creases to give the new CR-V an illusion of being larger than it actually is.

In fact, the new CR-V is a good 30mm lower and 5mm shorter than its predecessor but the wheelbase remains unaffected. Also, the windscreen has been pushed forward to create more space. The new car will have a broader visual appeal than the old one though the design may not be very inspirational. The cabin is well lit owing to the large windscreen area and the sleek A-pillar, which also enhance the view out.

The highly rigid unibody construction combined with lightweight suspension components makes the new CR-V lighter yet stronger.

The noise, vibration and harshness levels have been improved by better sound absorption materials, carpets and under-bonnet material. The car is powered by the same 2.0 and 2.4-litre power plants, but they have been reworked for more refinement and power. We tested the 2.0-litre car with a six-speed manual transmission that drives the front wheels. The 2.0-litre variant comes with the option of both manual and automatic transmission; the 2.4-litre comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission only.

The 2.4 also comes with six airbags - dual-front, side and curtain - and an occupant-position detection system, among other features like ABS, EBD and VSA.

The real forte of this motor is the excellent drivability it offers, which is what really matters in everyday conditions. This just might be one of the best naturally aspirated four-cylinder units around.

Ride & Handling

Although the car maintains its saloon-like handling, there are a couple of areas that aren't as accomplished as we would have liked. To begin with, the CR-V's ride feels a little unsettled and denies it that 'big car feel'. A stiffer chassis and re-tuned suspension means it does ride quite well for the most part but, sharp edges do filter through and the car has a tendency to follow undulations on the road. It just doesn't have the flat ride like say the Skoda Yeti, which is the real benchmark for SUV dynamics today.

That said, for a car this size, the steering and clutch are very light and the new CR-V feels a lot more nimble and agile on its feet compared to the older car. The steering wheel has been replaced by a new electric unit which is a delight to use in the city but is a bit too light for highway use. Though it’s precise and consistent, we would have preferred a weightier steering with more feel. Around the bends, the CR-V perfectly exhibits its saloon-like traits and body roll is kept to a minimum. There is some tyre squeal but, you can safely approach corners at a full 20-25kph quicker in the CR-V than in any other SUV this size. As for the brakes, they are effective, but feel a bit grabby towards the end of their travel.

Fuel Efficiency

The new CR-V returned a decent 9kpl in the city, while on the highway it managed a good 12.1 kmpl. That makes it more fuel efficient than the previous one and results in a reasonable range of about 667km under mixed driving conditions.

  • First Published Date : 15 Jun 2013, 01:18 PM IST