The previous Honda CR-V was once amongst the most popular import cars in India. Then the competition hotted up and the petrol-only CR-V lost some of its appeal. Honda has, however, quietly been slaving away to bring this new, fourth-generation CR-V to India. The all-new car is also the first CR-V to be assembled in India, and that will help Honda price it more competitively.
Honda has managed a delicate balancing act with the styling of the new car. It’s easily recognisable as a CR-V and so will be a car many can identify, but it’s different too. Full of sharper-looking details, the body panels have been clothed in a tighter-fitting skin and there are plenty of cuts and creases all over. The high-mounted tail-lights are evolved from the current car. The most interesting detail, however, is the rear three-quarter window, which tapers to a point. The new car's styling is also not as quirky as the previous model’s and that means the new CR-V is likely to appeal to a wider audience.
It is offered with the same 2.0- and 2.4-litre petrol motors as before. However, they have received a bump in power and torque. So the 2.0 gets 154bhp (only 7bhp less than the earlier 2.4) and the updated 2.4 gets 187bhp. The smaller motor is offered with a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. The 2.4 motor is only offered as an auto and comes with Honda's on-demand four-wheel-drive system.
The responsiveness of the 2.4 in the city is not bad, even in Eco mode, and tapping on the accelerator for a small increase in speed gets an immediate response. The five-speed automatic gearbox, however, is a bit slow, so that big burst of acceleration takes its time coming. It has tall gear ratios too – second gear runs up to an indicated 135kph. More gear ratios and a faster shift would have been ideal.
The CR-V may look bigger than the old car in pictures, especially from the outside, but it is actually shorter and lower slung. The driving position is more car-like than in the current car and this has been done purposely, says Honda, to help emphasise its car-like driving manners. Honda has also done a very good job of utilising space, with almost every area having grown. There’s an additional 225mm in the cabin, which helps it feel more airy and open, and the high-quality steering wheel and multiple screens give the interiors a modern feel. The wow factor is considerably upped by the classy instrument panel as well. Well finished and with minimalist white numbers on a black dial, the instrument panel also incorporates a digital display at the centre, along with a layered 3D effect.
Just like the earlier CR-V, there’s plenty of space for passengers at the rear. The cabin feels wider, the completely flat floor makes it a genuine five-seater, and the big back seats offer plenty of comfort. As ever, the new CR-V will be a great car to be chauffeured around in.