The only thing constant is change, and that’s true for almost all things. Here in motoring, we see it every year as cars get refreshed or an all-new version is launched. Some would evolve so much that you won’t recognize where they came from. Case in point – the CR-V.
What started out as a mix of an SUV and sedan for the younger crowd is now a family hauler. It has 7-seats, a 1.6L i-DTEC turbo diesel engine, a 9-speed automatic transmission and is available with a slew of safety features under Honda Sensing. However, that doesn’t speak for the entry-level variant.
Honda retained the core of the original CR-V that has worked for years and years here in the S-CVT trim. It still has 5 seats, a 2.0 i-VTEC engine but now comes with their Earth Dreams CVT for added fuel efficiency. With the changes in the market together with new nameplates in its segment, is the 5-seater CR-V an outcast or still a contender?
Minor changes were done with the CR-V to further enhance its look. There’s now a matte silver strip that goes the length of the lower bumper with its ends highlighted in chrome. It’s the same story at the back, where they let go of the silver skid plate in lieu of a silver strip as an accent while the taillights are now darker for added angst. At the side it changed the shuriken mags with this two-tone alloy that has a metal flower design, which I really like. It gives a certain uniqueness to this crossover.
Inside, the only change that happened for the S-CVT trim are the USB ports for the front occupants are moved under the shifter, instead of the hidden compartment in the center console. Aside from that, everything stays the same. The 7-inch touchscreen still has the clear view with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the air vents at the back have a USB port beneath them, and the interior is clad in leather from the seats, door arm rests, to the steering wheel.
Out on the road, this CR-V S is a joy to drive. It feels like it’s actively waiting for your next command and does it on a blip of the throttle. The 2.0 i-VTEC engine puts out 152hp and 189Nm of torque and won’t hesitate revving up to get your desired speed.
The big engine might be bad news, but it surprisingly returned decent figures. It averaged 7.7km/l in traffic while less congested runs yielded 12.8km/l in the city. That’s a step better than its competition, the Mazda CX-30 that got 6.6km/l in traffic when I got it; and they have the same sized engine.
Quick sprints are also not a problem thanks to Honda’s Earth Dreams CVT. It’s one of the best in the market in that it has significantly less of the banding effect, or where the engine revs up but your real-world acceleration is slow. It translates the power quickly onto the wheels making overtakes a cinch. It’s also helped by paddle shifters, giving more control to the driver.
The responsive powertrain is complimented well with good ride comfort and great cabin isolation. Aside from those, it has modern amenities that make daily driving easier. Some of these include the automatic LED headlights, Lanewatch Camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, auto-brake hold, and cruise control, among others.
The uphill battle
Except for the Lanewatch Camera, the features mentioned for the CR-V aren’t anything new and may even seem lackluster compared to the competition. Trends have changed and new nameplates now have panoramic sunroof, interior mood lighting, 360-degree camera systems, and some even have Active Park Assist. Suddenly, the CR-V’s P1,678,000 price tag seems too steep for what it has. It’s not backing down, though.
The CR-V S focuses on two things—driver amenities for the road and future-proofing. It doesn’t need much flair because the few features it has, it does them well. Don’t know where to go? Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for Waze. There’s a tunnel? No worries we got automatic LEDs that react instantly. You’re getting hotter but your passenger is chilly? Dual-zone Climate Control. Turning right? The Lanewatch Camera on your right side mirror will show the blind spots you might miss. You have all the help you need at a press of a button.
It’s also ready to be with you from your single days to the time you have your own family, granted you don’t have more than two kids. ISOFIX tethers, rear aircon vents, USB ports – that backseat is prepared to accommodate your children from infancy to teenage years and beyond.
Trends in features and pricing might have changed, but the CR-V S can still engage the competition with its fundamentals. It sits on the upper end of the segment but seeing its older brothers still on the road, you’re assured that this one will be with you for a long time.