The CR-V Returns
Richard Augustin 
The new CR-V comes with Honda Sensing.
The success of Honda Malaysia in recent months is staggering. Fresh off several new launches, the Japanese automaker has continuously broken new ground in delivering enticing new vehicles across multiple classes. Remarkably, each new model has also breached its respective yearly sales target within months of its debut.

This year alone, we have seen Honda raise the automotive bar with models such as the Jazz and City Hybrid as well as the affordable BR-V crossover. And they have all managed to strike a chord with today’s consumers. But the formula of their success has little to do with luck or timing; Honda has simply dared to take chances.

While the automaker’s Japanese and European rivals choose to remain comfortable with the power of their badges, Honda has gone the extra mile and built on the consumers’ confidence it already had. This is further complemented with new cutting-edge models that today’s discerning driver desires. Its latest offering is arguably one of the most-anticipated models of the year – the all-new Honda CR-V.

Brighter, bolder

Honda designers have gifted the fifth generation model with design features that modern SUV drivers yearn for. Its appearance exudes boldness and toughness with refined sporty design thanks to a higher ride. The new CR-V boasts an improved height of 198mm for the 2WD variant and 208mm for the 4WD, which will come in useful for negotiating challenging terrain. At the front, the new model sports Honda’s signature solid wing face and angular body lines alongside LED Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED Tail and Brake Lights, and LED Front Fog Lights.

Enhanced interior

The cabin of the new CR-V has been given a massive makeover with modern styling and up-to-date technological refinements. Space is plentiful with extended legroom and headroom for all passengers. The flexible configuration of the rear seats also provides convenience for transporting goods of various sizes. With the rear bench folded flat, the cargo area can be extended to an impressive 1,084 litres. The addition of a Programmable Power Tailgate in the higher-end models provides even greater flexibility for transporting cargo.

The cabin of the new CR-V has been given a massive makeover with modern styling and up-to-date technological refinements 

Honda has also placed great emphasis on pleasing the digitally obsessed with the addition of rear USB ports and a 7-inch Advanced Display Audio that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-ready for seamless smart connectivity. The new model also features Dual-Zone Air-Conditioning, an 8-Way Power Seat for the driver, and 4-Way Power Seat for the passenger as well as an Electronic Parking Brake (EPB).

Engine upgrade

Like its sibling, the Civic, the new CR-V comes with a choice of two engines with 2WD and 4WD drivetrains. The proven 2.0L i-VTEC producing 154 PS and 189 Nm of torque, available only as a 2WD, makes its return alongside a 1.5L turbocharged powerplant, which outputs 193 PS and 243 Nm of torque. Both engines are mated with a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) for optimum performance and fuel efficiency. Paddle shifts are standard across all variants but the 4WD system has been improved to allow greater agility and light linear handling.

Advanced features

Despite all-around improvements, the CR-V’s main selling point is mostly technology related. The topmost variant is equipped with a number of range-topping safety enhancements. The model is the first in the Honda Malaysia family to sport Honda SENSING – the Japanese automaker’s next generation of advanced safety systems – to assist drivers in potentially dangerous driving conditions.

Other features include Driver Cruising Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Low-Speed Follow (LSF), Frontal Collision Deterrence, Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Side Collision Deterrence, Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS).

Standard offerings across all variants are six airbags, reverse camera, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Smart Entry, Auto Brake Hold (ABH), Push Start Button, and a Walk Away Auto Lock. Top variants also sport Honda LaneWatch Camera, Auto High Beam, and Active Cornering Light.

The SUV to beat

The arrival of the CR-V has effectively put its Asian as well as European rivals firmly in check. With its design, technological features and affordable asking price that starts at RM142,400, in addition to a proven and trusted badge, the Honda CR-V truly has no immediate competitor at the moment. (The writer reviewed the 1.5 2WD variant).

The CR-V has also defied the soft economy with an impressive booking of 1,400 units a week after its launch. The numbers will undoubtedly continue to rise – or at least until someone else comes up with an SUV to match this Japanese bench marker.

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 247.