First Impressions of the New 2013 Honda CR-V

First Impressions of the New 2013 Honda CR-V

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The all-new Honda CR-V is here, and given the successes of the previous CR-V models, if you haven’t already put your John Hancock down on one, you would probably have to wait in line for yours, as the number of orders appears to be soaring.

I always wondered what CR-V stands for, and finally they have told me that it is actually “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” – nice to know, after 4 generations have been launched. The 2013 Honda CR-V is all new, except for the engine and transmission, which is a carry-over from the previous generation – mechanically, it is a well-proven drive train, but there is the addition of an ECON button, which, when activated, gets the Eco Assist system to work to help save fuel. The Eco Assist system helps to guide the driver on efficient driving styles through using different colours to illuminate the meter cluster.

The new body structure has improved NVH characteristics, resulting in a smoother and quieter driving experience. Physically, it still looks good, except that the front mask appears to have been made to appeal more to the males, being more muscular in appearance. Some of my friends like it, and some don’t, but as with all new models, especially if the old one looks good, there are always mixed views. I remember my friends going gaa-gaa over the Mercedes E230 (the one with the double headlamps, commonly referred to by the Chinese as ‘big small eyes’), and after the new model was launched, no one wants to look at the old one anymore. There are those who prefer the old Camry to the new one. As said before, looks are subjective – what’s more important is how the new car performs.

We had a short stint with the CR-V in Thailand before the launch, and we drove not one, but two variants, the 2.0 litre and the 2.4 litre models. The 2.4 litre is a more powerful model, and if you find the 2.0 model a little under-powered, you might want to wait for the 2.4, which is due here sometime in June.

I actually found the 2.0 litre model to be more ‘balanced’, in the sense that the NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) was better, perhaps because of the higher profile tyres, or perhaps the suspension damping rates are set somewhat softer. The power of the engine, in a nutshell, could be said as ‘enough’. It is enough to propel you from zero to 100 kph in 12.7 seconds, and achieve the maximum speed of 183 kph. Most of the CR-V owners I know will never really put pedal to metal, nor will they ever hit the top speed – so if you are just an ordinary guy who needs a good SUV to move from place to place, you will not go wrong with the CR-V.

Most of the driving was done on the Thai highways, and on the short stretch of trunk roads, I find the CR-V handles pretty much like the previous model – it is comfortable, almost car-like in performance around the corners, considering you are sitting much higher than in a car – in short, there are no issues.

Inside, some re-engineering has resulted in more interior space, with improvements in better leg room, and the rear passengers can be cool with a rear blower.

In general, the new Honda CR-V remains as good as it ever was, and will continue to gain more satisfied users. Now with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, and a more powerful 2.4 variant on the way, it looks like the CR-V will continue to be a best seller.


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