As a long time automobile enthusiast I’ve often looked at global auto trends and compared them with the local market here in Kuwait. The most glaring difference is in the area of best sellers in both sedan and Crossover categories. One of these is the Honda CRV. Honda has three SUVs in their portfolio starting with the MRV, the CRV and the HRV and I’ve seen all three vehicles even in Dubai but in Kuwait they don’t appear on the roads as much.
Last week I got an email from my contact at Honda asking if I’d like to take out the 2015 CRV for a spin. It was a great coincidence as one of my colleagues was looking to trade in his 2007 CRV and get the new one. I spent a weekend with the car and here’s my review on it but with a little difference this time.
Up until now I’ve only reviewed the sedans from Honda and this is the first Crossover I’ve received to review. I’m a married man and father of two kids and we’re a single car household so a crossover makes pretty good sense for a family man. I’ve had my own Outlander for 7 years now and it’s perfect for my kind of use.
Whats new in the 2015 CRV?
Externally the CRV has undergone changes to the front that brings it more in line with its Honda siblings. The front grill and the headlights have styling elements that’s common in the Honda lineup. The new front is an improvement I must say, I didn’t like previous generation CRV that looked like it was missing something in the front bumper. The rear though is a love it or hate it affair and I’m not a big fan of the bulbous look. It may be functional in terms of increasing load area but looks-wise its not for me.
The CRV now gets LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and also a key-less entry and push button start. The version I drove has a nice metallic paint job and stylish alloys with black and sliver accents which looked good.
Inside, the changes are noticeable both for front and rear passengers. The gearshift is still in the same position but the rest of the dashboard now has a more ergonomic feeling. The multitude of buttons on the previous CRV is no longer there and you get two LCD screens that provide information on Trip details, Fuel consumption, Audio & Bluetooth settings and rear & side cameras.
The rear passengers get a wide seat that can accommodate three or ,in my case, two baby seats (only one is pictured here as I only took out one from my car). Rear passengers also get an A/C vent which is a welcome addition for this region.
Mechanically, the CRV has a new 2.4 L ‘Earth Dreams’ direct injection engine. The power output is still the same (185 HP) but now delivers torque a little earlier in the rev range. Like previous CRVs this one is primarily front-wheel driven with the rear wheels engaging once a 1.5% difference in torque between the front and rear wheels is sensed through the dual-pump Real Time AWD system. There’s no manual override or controls to change this and you’ll have to depend on the car deliver all wheel drive. The biggest change has to be the CVT transmission in the 2015 CRV and like all other CVTs this one too is smooth and gives a seamless driving experience through the gears.
Ease of Entry & Exit and Seating position:
The CRV’s doors have a wide opening hinge thats close to 90 degrees and this offers an easy entry in to the car for both front and rear passengers. Its even more easier to put your child into the baby seat and ladies can make a dignified exit without having to wiggle and climb their way out. The driver’s seat offers a high level view of the road but at the same time its not too high that you get the feeling you’re driving a truck.
The rear seats have a 60/40 split which makes loading long furniture or cargo easy to manage. The CRV has a lever in the cargo area that allows you to flip the seats down when you want to increase luggage space. There’s enough space in the rear seat to accommodate two baby seats and a ‘thin’ passenger with ease. Leg room is good for those under 6 feet and thigh support was good too. Storage space in the door pockets was adequate for a small water bottle and a magazine.
Controls and Driver Aids:
The steering is leather wrapped and has enough power assistance to make parking easy. Some might feel its a little ‘over-servo-ed’ but I can’t complain since it made parallel parking very easy for me while turning with one hand. The wheel has controls for the Audio system, Bluetooth calls, LCD information display and Cruise Control. There are two USD ports in the center armrest console and an HDMI interface like the one we saw earlier in the Honda City.
The LCDs were both bright and easy to view during daytime. The CRV version I drove also featured the Honda Lane View camera on the right side and I’m beginning to really like this feature. I’ve often had people overtake me from the right and cut across me into the left lane. This camera makes it easier for me watch out for maniacs.
There’s a large glove-box in the dash but personally I’d like to have some more additional space in front for other items that I sometimes have to carry in the car like my GPS, camera and small electronics. I like the sunglasses holder in the front and it has a convex mirror that allows you to keep an eye on backseat passengers. This is a great feature as sometimes my two kids fight in the backseat and I have no way of turning around during traffic. This mirror gives an excellent view to the entire backseat.
Driving and Stability:
The CRV has a taut suspension setup and there’s not much body roll when you’re taking a sharp corner or U-turn. The car pulls cleanly off the line and acceleration is quite smooth. I do miss the option of a manual gear selector but it kicks down a notch quickly when you step on the throttle. The AWD is full-time and kicks in when it detects the front wheels are slipping. There’s a switch to turn off the Traction Control but its best to leave it switched on.
I didn’t take the car off-road but to get to my regular shooting place I had to drive through some sandy areas and the CRV did well to get through the sand mounds. It also has enough ground clearance to get you through rough areas.
Now comes the summary of what I liked and didn’t like about the 2015 CRV.
What I liked:
- The fit and finish is first class and you get a combination of light plastics, soft touch materials and faux wood veneers in the interiors.
- Driving comfort is excellent and you’re cocooned inside with minimal road & wind noise.
- Lane view assist and reverse cameras are clear, bright and makes it a breeze to drive.
- Seat flip down levers in the luggage compartment.
- Rear view mirror for the backseat passengers
What I disliked:
- The parking brake pedal is right above the dead pedal on the left and my shin kept hitting it from time to time.
- I was surprised that there was no navigation in the top version that I drove.
- There was not enough storage in the front dash and I wished for a second compartment.
- Its difficult to see the buttons on the LCD screen bezel
If you’ve got a family with two small kids then this CRV makes perfect sense to own.Your wife and kids will love the comfort and space inside and you’ll enjoy long drives on the weekends.
The 2015 Honda CRV starts at KWD 7,300 and the version featured in this review was KWD 8,600.
Contact your local Honda dealer for more details;
Al Rai Safat Alghanim Mall, Al Rai, 4th Ring Road,
P O Box:6474, Zip:70458 Shuwaikh
Shuwaikh showroom – opposite to Classical Car Museum
Phone number: 1822777