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Car Reviews / 10-05-18

The Sweet Spot


By Kevin C. Limjoco

 

Without a doubt every generation of Honda’s CR-V model range has been universally successful in almost every market in the world. The new 5thgeneration model will certainly continue that winning streak. Once again, I’m bringing up the stern of our in-house media testing arc. Although we did add the exact 1.6 S diesel model to our C! Fastfleet a few months ago, I personally didn’t get enough seat time to review the model thoroughly. After over a week at the helm of our White Orchid Pearl colored media unit I came to a critical conclusion that the Honda CR-V S model has earned its new place in the decisive not-so-compact best crossover in its segment, knocking off the current and defending champ, the Mazda CX-5 Sport for supremacy.  Keep in mind that we just acquired two units of the Mazda CX-5 Sport late last year so I do not take the decision lightly.

The Mazda CX-5 Sport is still the better overall dynamic performer and at its slightly higher price does also come equipped with an excellent all-wheel-drive system. You would have to throw down an additional P237,000.00 for the porkier by almost 100 kg. Honda CR-V SX model that does have AWD combined with additional, but not limited to, comprehensive safety equipment and a panoramic sunroof, and that model would actually be P105,000.00 cheaper than the potent 2.2-liter twin turbodiesel Mazda CX-5 Sport. Despite having a longer wheelbase, the CX-5 gives up quite a lot of cabin space compared to the CR-V. Essentially what separates the two outstanding crossovers are primary customer requirements. If you are willing to pay more for more speed and agility then the Mazda CX-5 is the answer. However, if you are looking for more passenger cabin comfort, a more compliant ride, more interior capacity, and more fuel range, then the pure front-wheel-drive CR-V S is the sweetest spot of the model range.

Even without AWD, the CR-V S still has almost .7-inches more ground clearance than the CX-5 Sport, and in the real world that extra height is usually more important when soft-roading off the beaten path as these are crossovers and not full-bore off-road vehicles. Having said that the new AWD systems offered by both brands offer more all-weather security and driving confidence as these systems adapt automatically to road conditions and adjust accordingly.

Compared to its predecessor, the new CR-V is slightly larger in every dimension and offers more domestic standard equipment than ever before. I like the updated tasteful interior (generous and nicely stitched high-quality leather, soft-touch plastics, high-gloss piano black accents, & matte contrasting faux wood) and the new dashboard layout that features the push-button transmission controls which won’t take too long to get used to for those that are unfamiliar with it. I particularly appreciate the abundant charging ports that include the two USB ports found below the second-row air-con vents. The 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system is very good supported with 8-speakers, multi-view rear camera, and navigation. The meaty 235/60R18 103H Michelin Primacy 3 ST tires that wrap the 18” x 7.5J alloys work well to absorb road imperfections while maintaining good grip. The standard full-LED lighting on both ends are simply fabulous.

Thankfully the second-row seats can slide forward in increments to create more third-row leg room or conversely slide back to give more legroom for the second row which also inclines. The third row is definitely best used for young children though. The Honda CR-V S will certainly not win any drag races but that is hardly the point. The ZF 9-speed transmission expertly helps extend every ounce of efficient power so the CR-V doesn’t feel nor function like it is labored. Peak torque may arrive at 2,000 rpm but it does hold most of the twist close to 3,800 rpm so forward progress is more than sufficient even with load. It’s a very clever and thoughtful product that adapts very well to our current everyday Philippine driving conditions. I think it’s great and it helps that it looks good too!

Specifications

Engine

Engine16V, i-DTEC, Intercooled Commonrail VGT Turbodiesel
TypeInline-4
Displacement1597 cc
Cylinder BlockAluminum
Cylinder HeadAluminum, DOHC
Fuel InjectorBosch solenoid injection system
Max Power (bhp @ rpm)118 bhp @ 4000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)221 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Transmission9-speed automatic

Engine

Suspension SystemFront: MacPherson Strut / Rear: Multilink
BrakesFront: Ventilated disk / Rear: Solid disk
TiresMichelin Primacy 3 ST 235/60 R18 103H

Weight and dimensions

Length4,571
Width1,855
Height1,657
Curb Weight1,732 kilograms

Performance

Top Speed194 km/h
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph10.9 seconds

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Capacity57 liters
Fuel Milage (km/l)17.3 km/l

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP)Php 1,858,000
What's GreatFull-featured, well designed, quiet cabin, very comfortable and versatile, very fuel efficient
What's Not SoPrice, detuned powerplant
C! Editors Rating9.5/10