HOW did Honda get that much room into such a compact SUV?
Its CR-V has always been generous in space and fitment, but the latest one is a veritable model of what can be achieved with modern packaging.
The car is just 11mm (about the width of a skinny pinkie) longer than its predecessor, but the wheelbase has been increased 40mm, it’s a bit wider too, yet the interior space has swelled to such proportions that there’s even a seven-seater available in its five-model range.
All use the same powertrain: a retuned version of the Civic’s 1.5-litre turbo four cylinder and it drives through a continuously variable transmission.
There’s 90mm more rear legroom, more shoulder room front and rear, and a much bigger cargo hold, now able to swallow 522 litres or 1084 litres with the 60/40 splitfold rear seat folded flat.
In the latter mode, you can chuck down a rug and easily sleep in it, or load up Ikea’s biggest challenge and have room to spare.
It’s obviously somewhat less so in the seven seater, but our spacewagen was the flagship five-seat CR-V VTi-LX, the sole model with all-wheel drive.
It costs $44,290, with others priced from $30,690. The seven-seater is $38,990.
Its good looks apart, it’s also well presented inside and the dashboard includes a a tri-view reverse camera and a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, a binnacle with colour display, a clear ribbon-type rev counter and a prominent digital speed read-out.
The seats are fine and there’s good visibility all round plus lots of oddment storage, cupholders, door pockets and USB outlets front and rear.
The VTi-LX runs on 18-inch alloys and is richly appointed with the latest in electronic safety features, such as automated emergency braking, forward collision and lane departure warnings. It has a vast panoramic sunroof, leather trim, 8-speaker digital radio and self-levelling LED headlights.
There’s also a powered tailgate with programmable opening height so you can tailor it to suit your garage roof. We also liked the wide angle mirror in the sunglass holder that gives front-seat occupants a view of what those in the back are up to.
What does it drive like?
The 140kW/240Nm engine is smooth, quiet, economical and runs along happily in the city and open country roads.
Rob got better than nine litres/100km in the urban traffic crawl and below eight on the open road.
The colour initially looked black, but was in fact a deep metallic green, and bronze in some light. Honda calls it Midnight Forest. Rob just calls it ‘spectacular’.
Verdict: A pleasant, well built vehicle with sure-footed handling, big on comfort, safety, and, did we mention space? Impressive.