Honda launches all-new CR-VBy Jason K. Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s been a good week for crossovers, as hot on the heels of Mazda’s all-new CX-5 comes the 2012 version of the venerable Honda CR-V, one of the pioneers of the car-based crossover segment. The all-new CR-V features new body and engines, even more refined interior, and new features to boost fuel economy.
The fourth-generation CR-V features a new body, styled in the vein of its predecessor but made sleeker and sportier. The front offers a better-integrated version of the dipped grille-now featuring three chromed bars as in the current Honda family look. The side has a kinked D-pillar and an impression of a massive rear section. The trademark high-mounted taillights stretch all the way to the roof for better visibility.
That roofline is one inch lower to aid aerodynamic efficiency, as well as to give the crossover a more hunkered-down appearance. Despite the lower roofline, CR-V still offers plenty of headroom, increased passenger volume, and the same ground clearance as the 2011 model. Honda says that this is the largest and most functional interior possible for a vehicle of this size. With greater body rigidity and additional noise insulation, the CR-V promises to a quieter ride than the previous car.
The previous CR-V had hands down the highest-quality interior in its class, and the new car seems to follow that. Upgrades include an available new multi-information display, a 5-inch LCD that displays the trip computer information and vehicle settings. It also shows the image from the rear-view camera. The top-line CR-V has Bluetooth controls for mobile phone connectivity, allowing the phone to be controlled via steering wheel switches. The 60:40 split rear seats can be folded down using a one-pull lever inside the cargo area, to make for a flat loading bay. The top-line 2.4-liter EX variant gets a sunroof as well.
It wouldn’t be a Honda without advances to the drivetrain, and indeed the CR-V’s new 2.4-liter gets a power and torque boost to 183 hp and 220 Nm, while getting 10 percent better fuel mileage. The 2.4-liter engine comes with all-wheel drive. The CR-V’s AWD system drives the front wheels only by default, and can quickly engage the rear wheels via an electronically controlled multi-clutch system when slipping is predicted.
The 2.0-liter engine delivers 151 hp and 190 Nm. Both engines have Honda’s trademark iVTEC variable valve timing system: DOHC on the 2.4 and SOHC on the 2.0. All engines mate to 5-speed automatic transmissions, with ratios customized for front or all-wheel drive. We lament the non-availability of the previous six-speed manual, with which the CR-V was easily capable of delivering double-digit km/liter figures. The new engines can run on regular gasoline. As on the all-new Civic launched this year, the CR-V features an Econ button that alters throttle response, air conditioning, and other functions to help boost fuel economy.
CR-V rides on MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, and on 17-inch alloy wheels. ABS and EBD brakes are standard, and the 2.4-liter model includes a hill-assist feature that helps prevent the vehicle from rolling forward or backward when driving on an incline.
The CR-V 2.0-liter LX retails for P1.425 million while the all-wheel drive 2.4-liter EX is priced at P1.655 million. The white pearl paint version will be P20,000 dearer still.
The crossover market is sizzling hot, with more contenders than ever in different shapes and sizes. The new CR-V is a welcome addition, and may allow the former king of the hill to reclaim some of its glory.
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