In 2004, Honda introduced the second-generation CR-V in India. Honda sort of pioneered the soft-roader movement in the country with the CR-V by giving us an absolutely new kind of a vehicle. The CR-V brought the best of both car and SUV worlds as its core ingredients and Indians loved this blend. Although the CR-V carried a hefty price tag (it was a CBU), it had respectable sales figures during its initial tenure. The lack of a diesel motor option however saw the sales of the CR-V dip in the diesel favouring Indian market.
With the fourth generation CR-V being assembled in India, it’s now being offered at a substantially cheaper Rs 19.95 lakh price tag for the 2.0 litre manual model we tested. Moreover, considering the diminishing price disbalance between petrol and diesel, the lack of a diesel motor is becoming less of a deterrent for buyers.
Although the car maintains its saloon-like handling, there are a couple of areas that aren’t as accomplished as we would have liked. To begin with, the CR-V’s ride feels a little unsettled and denies it that ‘big car feel’. A stiffer chassis and re-tuned suspension means it does ride quite well for the most part but, sharp edges do filter through and the car has a tendency to follow undulations on the road. It just doesn’t have the flat ride like say the Skoda Yeti, which is the real benchmark for SUV dynamics today.
That said, for a car this size, the steering and clutch are very light and the new CR-V feels a lot more nimble and agile on its feet compared to the older car. The steering wheel has been replaced by a new electric unit which is a delight to use in the city but is a bit too light for highway use. Though it’s precise and consistent, we would have preferred a weightier steering with more feel. Around the bends, the CR-V perfectly exhibits its saloon-like traits and body roll is kept to a minimum. There is some tyre squeal but, you can safely approach corners at a full 20-25kph quicker in the CR-V than in any other SUV this size. As for the brakes, they are effective, but feel a bit grabby towards the end of their travel.
The new CR-V returned a decent 9kpl in the city, while on the highway it managed a good 12.1 kmpl. That makes it more fuel efficient than the previous one and results in a reasonable range of about 667km under mixed driving conditions.
To improve economy, the new CR-V is equipped with an ECON button as part of the ‘Eco Assist’ system. This alters the mapping of the drive-by-wire throttle system, cruise control parameters and decreases the voltage of the fan in the air-conditioning system to reduce fuel consumption. We performed our tests with the ECON mode activated and quite frankly, couldn’t feel any perceptible change in throttle response.