The soft roader market became apparent when Honda first release their rendition in 1995. Dubbed the ‘Comfort Roundabout Vehicle’, over 5million has been produced and we are now down to the fourth generation CR-V, and even before it was launched in March, Honda Malaysia had already received over 1000 bookings.

Honda has managed to changed the idea of having a 4WD. Back in the days, people bought tall-riding four-wheel-drives for rough use, going into thick jungles and muddy water. But with the concept of the CR-V, owning a ‘go-anywhere’ family car, that is easily drivable and practical became an option. Almost 20 years after the launch of the first generation, the CR-V badge lives on.

The market may be flustered for choices these days, with the Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Santa-Fe and Kia Sportage. This only means Honda had to step up their game where once they monopolised.

Its difficult to fathom the fact that this new replacement is a completely new car. From ground up, everything is new. The new design, which is an improvisation from the old one. An updated interior with more electronic gizmos to keep the driver entertained and a newly redesigned suspension system and setup which generates a vast improvement to the handling. But on the whole, if you put the previous 3rd generation CR-V in parallel, you could be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed the changes at first glance.

To be honest, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the 3rd generation was a handsome looking brute. More importantly, Honda has addressed a couple of new improvements to this new gen CR-V, to off-set it’s ancestors shortcomings.

The Drive – 6/10

Don’t be mislead by the CR-V’s tall stature.

Yes, the lack in steering feel may disrupt the driving pleasure, but this car wasn’t made to go around the Nurburgring in sub 7minutes 30seconds. Lets understand the fact that, a CR-V will spend most of its life in the urban environment, so certain comfort factors are key. The steering is light, which aids in the car’s manoeuvrability at low speeds, especially parking. And above all else, the visibility is pretty spectacular.

Despite the comfortable ride comfort, the handling is an improvement from the old swinger. The CR-V manages its weight pretty well, despite weighing circa 1600kgs – giving the car a relatively confident feel around bends. To overcome understeer, Honda engineers has repositioned the control arms of the new CR-V, to a lower position. According to the Sakine-San, the head of development, this small improvisation manages to increase the front end grip, thus reducing understeer. So has it worked?

In a word.. Yes. We threw it around some tight bends, and were impressed by the improvements made to this SUV that is known to drive much like a car, plus there was little, if any tyre squeals. Affirmation that the car has cornering talents however, body roll comes into play at the end of the day. But its not appalling. We’ll just admit the fact that the average CR-V driver won’t even go half as close to getting the car to tilt, on a daily drive. Its difficult to find the balance between comfort and handling, and if the chassis is too stiff, comfort will be compromised.

The new CR-V is powered by a 2.0 litre i-VTEC – mated to a 5-speed automatic producing 155bhp and 190newtons at 4300rpm. Signature to the VTEC engines, it requires to be pushed to higher revs before achieving any sensations of torque, which may seem to regular drivers like the car struggles for power. A factor that comes to life, especially when it encounter hills. But don’t despair, as a 2.4 litre variant is on its way to our market.

The Looks – 6/10

First glance, the looks may be a little ‘love or hate’, especially the back.

The height has been reduced by 30mm and the length by 25mm from its predecessor, giving IT a more aerodynamic design. This effort has made the new CR-V look a little eccentric, but all in the name of performance and fuel-economy. Thats a fact we definitely approve.

From certain angles, it was difficult to find a good picture. Designed and developed using the “smart and smooth” concept, the CR-V would feel absolutely at home in the urban environment. The design now looks a lot less rugged from the 3rd generation, with much smoother curves and wedged frontal fascia.

Honda has done an excellent job redesigning the front-end of the new CR-V. Losing its ruggedness allows the car to acquire a more, soccer-mom personality which fits the CR-V’s urban outlook. Although we are used to the looks of the 3rd generation, this new 4th gen CR-V will capture more attention on the road than ever.

The Interior – 8/10

If the exterior doesn’t turn you on, the interior would definitely make it up for this car.

The new CR-V’s interior is definitely a delightful place to be in. Honda has modernised the interior, simply by fitting a more updated dashboard which absolutely changes the experience. A new touch to this car would be the integrated reverse camera, displayed from a little screen on the dashboard. The screen also displays information such as average fuel consumption and range.

The cabin is relatively quiet, perfect for long journeys with the loved ones. Tested, using a cheap app on the iPhone, the CR-V produces a respectable 68 decibels at 100km/h.

The driving position is quite tall, giving a commanding feel to the driver. Despite this, the headroom was not sacrificed. A definite plus! At the wheel, the steering will adjust four ways (up & down, front & back), giving the driver more choices to finding the perfect balance between control and comfort.

At the back, the new CR-V has no problems carrying people comfortably. The rear seats are adjustable individually, with sufficient headroom and very comfortable legroom. The ride comfort at the back may be a little floaty, but with load, its pretty smooth. The family of four would benefit from the capacious cabin. At 589 litres with the rear seats folded up, it will easily carry sufficient amount of luggage, and when necessary, the rear seats can be folded down with a single movement, creating 1648 litres worth of storage capacity.

The Verdict – 20/30

Value for money, the new CR-V would be a good option for a ‘go-anywhere’ vehicle. If you are a family of four..or five even, we reckon the CR-V would be able to cater most of your needs without qualms.

Set aside its new looks, the CR-V is a very capable machines and is all yours for RM148,800. The 2.4litre version is destined to reach our shores very soon, with a tentative price tag of RM190k, packing a lot more added luxury. Every car will be covered under warranty for the next 5 years from the date of purchase, with unlimited mileage, giving owners a peace of mind.

Note: We recommend the ‘Modulo Pack’, which comes with a sportier bodykit, a very practical sidestep and some mood-lighting in the interior.

Technical Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0 SOHC 4 Cylinder 16 Valve i-VTEC
  • Transmission: 5-speed Automatic, Electronically controlled
  • Power: 155HP @6500rpm,
  • Torque: 190NM @ 4300rpm
  • 0-100 (ZEROTOHUNDRED)km/h: 12.7 seconds
  • Fuel Economy: 7.7l/100km