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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2019 Honda CR-V

This week we are reviewing the Honda CR-V in Touring trim. Our vehicle was proudly assembled at the Alliston plant in Canada and has an MSRP of $39090 CAD.

Fun Factor: 5

Can it Family: 8

Fuel-Friendly: 7

HWY-warrior: 7

Karaoke Friendly: 7

Baby-friendly: 7

City Cruising: 7

The Honda CR-V has always been in a class of its own. Most people buy it due to its practicality, reliability and, also because it's one of the compact SUV's that has one of the best resell value after 5 years. This will give you a strong purchasing power when the time comes to replace your CR-V down the line. It also explains why so many people keep coming back to Honda to satisfy their SUV needs. The driving dynamics of the CR-V are not going to blow anybody's mind away; however, that's not the mission of the CR-V and its most direct competitors won't either. Yes, the CX-5 feels the sportiest of the bunch, the trade-off is that the rear seating of the CX-5 offers a lot less compared to the CR-V. We've tested most of the direct competition to the CR-V and found it to be the most sensible choice for the family and compared to the RAV-4, also looks a lot more premium inside and outside. The 1.5L turbo 4-cylinder found in the CR-V produces 190hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. The power generated by the engine feels adequate; the acceleration with the CVT transmission feels very linear compared to other turbocharged engines on the market. The upside of the CVT is that it will boost fuel economy. In our real-life acceleration test, we achieved 100km/h in 8.49 seconds; we were using Hankook Kinergy GT tires that gave us stable handling in the dry and reassuring handling in the rain. Honda informed us that the acceleration should be around the 8-second mark and that this may vary depending on trim since we have the full equipped trim this may have affected our results.

Normally when we reviewed other cars, we heard the good, the bad and the ugly from people owning them. This was not the case with the CR-V, many of you messaged us on Facebook & Instagram when we posted the first pictures of it, we were pleasantly surprised that those who were current owners were very happy driving your CR-V's and some were even on the market to get a new one. Confirming why Honda's vehicle keep a higher value and for longer time compared to its rivals and reaffirming why they've mastered satisfying customers with their products.

Now, most of you have asked me, how the CR-V stacks up against its main rival the RAV-4 when it comes to being family-friendly. We can say that the CR-V offers a much more ergonomic space for the family compared to the RAV-4. We were able to fit a large jogging stroller in the trunk with ease and still had enough space for a second one and space for groceries bags. Families that have lots of sporting activities will love the versatility of the trunk of the CR-V; the trunk floor is adjustable given you a flat surface. This is something we disliked on the new RAV-4 as the opening of the trunk curved at the lower part. The rear passenger seats of both these seem almost designed with the same seating capacity in mind, 2 adults will be very comfortable, a child may also fit in between these 2 adults. The sweet spot to maximize seating capacity & comfort was having 3 children sitting in the back. One thing we noticed right away was the quality of the leather seats found in the CR-V versus the RAV-4. Those found in the CR-V felt more comfortable (more bolstered) and more premium looking. The rear seats also offer 2 USB outlets. We found them to be placed a little too low, just underneath the air vents and could make access to the middle seat less pleasant. We found that taller passengers may not have a full shoulder coverage in the front seats in our touring trim; however, any driver smaller than 5ft7 will find a seating position that fits their needs. Going back to taller drivers, and maybe the biggest annoyance we found on the CR-V, was the gear lever is not ergonomic, and its position is annoyingly too high. The fact that the gear lever doesn't confirm in which mode you are in, you need to look at the center cluster to see if you've shifted into Sport mode or even L by accident, the same also occurs when shifting from Drive to Reverse, nothing lights up if you change your gear by accident into Neutral.

All other controls are straightforward to find, such as the heated steering wheel, the lane-keep assistance. The steering wheel functions are also very easy to understand and can be operated with ease. Visibility while driving is great. For taller drivers, we wish the seat could be lowered a little more. The use of the soft-touch material around the cockpit is also very refreshing for this segment, making it look like a vehicle from a premium brand.

How is the fuel economy of the CR-V? In the city, we average 9.4L per 100km, while on the HWY we were able to get 6.9L per 100km for a combined average of 8.3L per 100km. We tested the CR-V for a total of 300km with almost an equal distance being done on the HWY/City. Honda announces the following fuel consumption for models equipped with the 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder and Real-Time AWD to have the following fuel consumption 8.2L in city and 7.2L on the HWY per 100km, resulting in a combined consumption 8.0L per 100km. Our city results included driving in dense traffic; hence, results may have been affected negatively. As for our HWY test, we set up cruise control at 110km/h, including air conditioning and were still able to consume less fuel as advertised.

As mentioned above the CR-V seems to be most efficient when driving on the HWY. This makes the CR-V an excellent choice for driving long distances without breaking the bank. Without any effort, we were able to get fuel consumption under 7L per 100km beating the manufacturers tested results. For an SUV its size with AWD, this is excellent. The only downside to how the CVT was programmed for greater fuel efficiency is that when accelerating especially at higher speeds, it may take a couple of seconds after a kick-down to get the full power of the engine to overtake. What we welcome is the suite of amenities that come standard with the Honda Sensing such as forward collision warning with the CMBS, helping in those critical moments where time makes a difference between an accident or not, it also has lane departure warning with the RDM system that helps you stay in your lane, and also assist you when taking light curves. All these features are standard on all CR-V with AWD, giving you premium features not limited to a specific package.

The sound system in the touring system has 9 speakers, including a sub-woofer and provided enough satisfaction to say it was good. Each trim of the CR-V has a different sound system with a different amount of speakers; the good news is that on each trim you'll find Apple Car Play and Android Auto. We are not fans of the infotainment Honda provides; we preferred the system provided by these platforms. We found that if you're not used to the system, it will require a longer learning curve as some menus are cluttered, making it hard to operate while driving and it also take time before your operations are registering on the touchscreen. The physical controls for the climate controls are simple to operate in the CR-V and don't feel cheap. The fact that the heated seat button is located outside of the infotainment is a major plus, no need to look for it during the cold winter months. The same can be said about the heated steering wheel the icon is directly found on the steering wheel and not tucked away under the steering wheel.

Now how is the CR-V when it comes installing car seats? The rear doors open very wide, Honda claims it almost open to 90 degrees, which we found so practical as it made installation of different car seats so much easier. Even larger car seats were able to fit without having to fiddle around to get them in. There are 5 ISOFIX ports available for the rear seats. Yes 5, making installation possible for the middle seat, also since the seat belt came down from the ceiling, we could make sure that the car seat stays in place something that the competition doesn't offer. The outer 4 ports are tucked away on the side making it more difficult to latch the car seats, it took us a couple of tries each time to find the actual hook to make sure the car seat was fixed properly. As for young children entering the car, it's simple for them, the door handle is easy to open from the outside, and the wide-angle of the door helps them get into the car a lot easier even if the ride high is a little bit off the ground.

Now for the city, the CR-V compact size makes it easy to park. The rearview camera provided is too pixelated and gives a fishbowl like view under certain angles where it will include parts of the car, removing visual real estate that shouldn't be taken away in our opinion. For the city, the current powertrain offered could get the help of a hybrid option to make it feel less hesitant off the line. It's not as if Honda didn't offer hybrid versions of the CR-V across the Atlantic. Where the CR-V is available in a hybrid version, we did find the fuel consumption a little more than we would have liked. We do hope to see a hybrid or maybe even a plugin hybrid version for city dwellers.

Why would we buy the Honda CR-V and what we liked: Large cargo space, very fuel-efficient on the HWY, comfortable front & rear seating, Honda reliability and customer services, well-insulated cabin.

Why wouldn't we buy the Honda CR-V and what we didn't like: No Hybrid version available at this time, the CVT's acceleration, taller drivers may find the seating position to be less ergonomic for them and yes the gear leaver position and gear indication that we were not fond off.

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