The Honda CR-V Series II has raised the bar in the mid-priced SUV market, writes David Bonnici
The Honda CR-V first appeared on our roads in 1997, before the term SUV rolled off car dealers’ tongues and station wagons were still the big family movers of choice.
Unlike the earlier versions, the 2015 CR-V Series II is no longer a unique beast, but it does have a few points of difference.
It’s a good-looking car on the outside, with a ‘smiling grille’, elegant headlights with LED daytime running lights and very nice 19-inch alloy wheels.
The VTi-L Modulo version has a further enhanced exterior, with the optional Modulo body kit worth $3000, which includes revised rear bumper and a rear spoiler and running board with back door steps that are practical as well as good looking.
The pleasing aesthetics continue when you hop inside, with quality interior finishes and intuitively laid out controls and gauges.
The dashboard has a spaceship look to it, similar to the Honda Civic, which is based around a 7.0-inch touch screen that syncs easily to your phone via Bluetooth or USB and reconnects quickly when you restart the car.
Like most Honda models, you can stream your preferred navigation app from your phone, although the top-spec VTi-L variant I drove has in-built navigation system.
The screen also displays the reverse camera view, which as well as a clear picture of what’s behind your car, also has 180-degree wide angle and top-down view which helps parking in tight areas.
The VTi-S and VTi-L models also feature LaneWatch, which is another camera showing an 80-degree view of the left lane on the screen when you use your left indicator to help make sure you don’t cut anyone off.
For an extra $3000 you can install a suite of extra advance driving safety features (ADAS), including autonomous braking system, radar cruise control (to automatically keep a safe distance behind the car in front) and lane-departure warning assistance.
The CR-V is one of the most spacious cars in its class, with plenty of leg and head room in the front and back. And although seeming a little more upmarket than its predecessors, it still maintains their practicality with heaps of cabin storage, including the large centre console and big front and back door pockets.
The rear cargo area is big (556 litres) and you can triple the carrying capacity by folding down the rear seats, which is done easily from the boot.
The CR-V comes in 2WD and 4WD variants, although you wouldn’t consider the latter a true off-roader. Engine options include 2.0 litre and 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines and a limited edition 1.6-litre turbo diesel.
The VTi-L I drove had the 2.4-litre engine, which does the job well. It overtakes nicely and is zippy from a standing start.
But it’s not exactly frugal. Honda claims it does around 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres but for me this figure was just under 10L/100kms.
The CR-V still cuts it as a leader of the segment, although other contenders are finally catching up in terms of looks and quality.
Pricing starts at $29,990 for the base-model 2WD VTi up to about $53,000 for the VTi-L with ADAS and Modulo body kit.