Review: Honda CR-V 2.2i-DTEC EX (2010 facelift)By Chris Walsh
November 15, 2010
Four years on and Honda’s unassuming ‘all-rounder’ continues to top the charts. A timely mid-life, face-lift reminds us that the ole’ CR-V can still show the new boys a thing or two.
If you are deciding to buy a new, family orientated SUV, you’d do well to consider Honda’s stalwart, because their fantastic CR-V continues to make everything look so simple, allowing the modern family to lead a (relatively) happy and contented life.
When it comes to safety, you daren’t mess about. That’s why Honda’s CR-V benefits from a respectable 4 star Euro NCAP award for front seated adults and (more significantly) rear-seated munchkins. Multiple crumple zones, safety cells and strategically placed airbags help to achieve this, but an intriguing list of abbreviated safety mechanisms like ABS, EBD, EBA and VSA* also help.
Unfortunately, pedestrians are going to be the only ones who don’t fully appreciate the CR-V as it only musters a meagre two stars for pedestrian safety. Otherwise, the usual ISOFIX points are present, plus a rather handy rear seatbelt monitor that sounds when one of your cherubs tries their luck. There’s no doubt that the CR-V is a very safe place to be, as every one of these features makes their way on to the full specification list across the range.
Cost of Ownership
Considering all the basic costs of ownership, on a like-for-like basis, the CR-V actually stacks up rather well. Starting with fuel costs, the CR-V returns a decent 43.5mpg, which trounces the Mitsubishi Outlander’s 38.7mpg and the Nissan X-Trail’s 38.2mpg, but manages to just lose out to the Land Rover Freelander, which returns a healthy 45.6mpg.
And it’s a similar story with CO2 emissions and tax. The Honda CR-V sits comfortably in band H, which translates to £180 for 12 months tax, while the Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Outlander sit forlornly in band J, where an extra £55 is required for the same period. The smug faced Land Rover does it again by occupying a lowly band G, which is a Lidl-like £155 a year.
Insurance groups are also a factor. The CR-V occupies group 28, which is slightly more expensive than the Toyota RAV4’s group 25 and Mitsubishi Outlander’s group 26. The X-Trail is totally on its own in group 35, whilst the Freelander completes its impressive hat trick, lording itself in group 22.
But overall cost is where the Freelander’s posh wellies begin to look a little stupid. At £32,995 it is easily the most expensive here, followed closely by the Mitsubishi Outlander. Honda’s CR-V costs a middling £28,280, which is shadowed by the Toyota RAV4s £28,275. But the plucky Nissan wins this round as their X-Trail costs a thrifty £26,855.
Ability & Drivability
When it comes to ability, the CR-V shines in a different way. The lack of a low-ratio gearbox and locking limited slip differential means the four-wheel drive capabilities wont blow you away, but unless you live on Craggy Island, you shouldn’t have too many concerns about that. Think about last year’s snowstorms and wet weather and that’s where the CR-V is most comfortable.
Driving under ordinary conditions is generally acceptable, but that all depends on what type of road is underneath you. Motorway driving is immensely smooth and effortless because the spongy off-road suspension, heavy steering and ample bulk create a planted feel that softens all the gentle hi-speed up and downs.
But on twisty country lanes, these exact same features mean the car pitches and yaws, yacht-like, in a fairly uncontrollable manner, despite what the brochure will have you believe. Having said that, the CR-V is slightly more cultured than some of the taller (and heavier) SUVs.
This is a shame because these days, manufacturers are finally coming to terms with the fact that most soft-roaders don’t ever get dirty, so having better on-road characteristics tend to make more sense. Just look at the BMW X6, Porsche Cayenne and Infinity FX for example. These cars are proper drivable road cars that will never squelch a cowpat in their lives, so for me, it a shame that the CR-Vs ride is still pretty old school.
Engine & Gearbox
The 2.2 i-DTEC diesel, linked to the 6-speed manual gearbox, really is the choice pick. It returns a decent 43.5mpg combined, and a respectable 258 lb/ft of torque that shifts the CR-V’s 1713kg of bulk to a 0-62mph time of 9.6 seconds. But if the top of the range ‘EX’ spec is a little out of your price range, fear not, because the same 2.2 i-DTEC engine and 6-speed manual come in a ‘SE’ spec that costs a wallet-saving £22,880.
The press car I drove sadly came with the auto ‘box (£1525). As nice as it is to have a lazy left foot all the time, the automatic just made the CR-V feel overly cumbersome and sloth-like. Having a clutch pedal is sure to liven up the experience, adding much needed zest to the drive.
Kit & Technology
Frankly, it might just be easier to tell you what isn’t included with the range topping EX, because looking down the list of standard equipment will wear your eyes out. You get the all the usual stuff, like satnav, cruise control, auto wipers, auto headlights and front and rear parking sensors but the CR-V is brought bang up to date with Bluetooth connectivity, dual zone climate control, iPod connection and voice recognition.
Now, I love in-car technology and I’m pleased to say that most of the CR-V’s kit works well and really helps to heighten the whole experience, but some issues do arise.
The cluttered selection of switchgear around the navigation system initially confuses but once mastered, you move over to the touch-screen options that make navigation a little easier. Which begs the question: why have a bewildering selection of buttons, when the simple computerised touch-screen could do it instead?
Also, the processing speed of the unit needs improving because any wrong turns leaves the satnav struggling to catch up.
The CR-V remains the Daddy of the affordable family SUV class. This is largely down to its unfussy and uncomplicated work ethic that connects with the requirements of modern family life. The CR-V also manages to uphold its reputation for being the great all rounder so comparing it to the competition still leaves a very confident tick in the CR-Vs box.
Yes, there are some minor niggles, like the agonisingly slow management system and the automatic gearbox, but with a little bit of understanding and clever model selection, these will be easily overcome.
“First-Rate Family Faithful” 7.5 out of 10
Model: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC EX
Price From: £28,280
Power: 148 bhp
0-60mph: 9.6 seconds
MPG: 43.5 combined
CO2 emission: 171g/km
VED Band: H / £180pa
* Anti-Lock Braking System, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist.