What is it?
Honda’s CR-V needs no introduction, although you might be surprised to learn it’s available with seven seats these days.
You can’t however get the seven-seat version with all-wheel drive — not sure why? Or is that not sure why I’d want all-wheel drive?
CR-V competes with the likes of RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and the Mitsubishi Outlander — front runners in the segment.
What’s it cost?
CR-V kicks off $28,290 with the top of the range, all-wheel drive model going for $44,290 plus on-roads.
There’s two 7-seat versions — VTi-E from $34,490 and the better equipped VTi-L from $38,990 — both of them two-wheel drive.
Standard kit includes 18-inch alloys, twin exhaust, LED headlights, daytime LEDs plus active cornering LEDs, as well as cruise control — but it’s not of the adaptive variety.
There’s also leather-appointed seats, with heated front seats, 8-way power adjust driver’s seat, climate airconditioning that covers the third row, auto lights and wipers (but not auto dimming rear view mirror), front and rear parking sensors, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, active noise control, three-mode reversing camera, rear USB ports.
There’s not a lot of difference between the two seven-seat versions.
The VTI-L adds paddle shifts, auto lights and wipers, satnav, panoramic sunroof and a power operated tailgate.
Although the car qualifies for five safety stars, it unfortunately misses out on the Honda Sensing system — and that means no auto emergency braking.
What’s it go like?
CR-V’s 1.5-litre turbo produces 140kW and 240Nm, the latter between 2000 and 5000 revs.
It’s paired with a CVT style automatic that includes small, plastic, shift paddles for changing gears manually.
It also offers a Sport setting for sharper performance, accessed via the shift lever that is mounted high and out of the way on the lower section of the dash.
The wide spread of torque, delivered from a low 2000 revs, contributes to the easy driveability of the car.
But to access a reasonable level of performance, a firm foot is required.
Pussyfooting tends to generate a dull, lifeless experience.
The cabin is roomy, comfortable and quiet, and the engine doesn’t make its presence known until you really giving it some.
We’re big fans of the ergonomics in Honda’s cabins, with large, easy to read and operate controls.
The central touchscreen, although it looks extremely large, is mainly framework for a standard-sized display.
Oddly, although this model includes satellite navigation, DAB digital radio is unaccountably missing.
The ride quality is middle of the road and a little too soft, with too much body roll for our liking.
Steering is very light, but the brakes in our test vehicle were incredibly touchy, responding with a jerk to the lightest touch — hopefully this can be adjusted.
Fuel consumption is rated at 7.3L/100km and we were getting close to this figure at 7.7L/100km after close to 500km.
What we like?
- Smooth ride
- Excellent fuel consumption
- Interior space and comfort
- Large digital speedo
- Satellite navigation
- Rear air vents
- Biggish boot (with third row folded)
What we don’t like?
- Touchy brakes
- Suspension too soft
- Parking brake doesn’t engage automatically
- No digital radio
- No adaptive cruise control
- No auto emergency braking
The bottom line?
For the asking price the seven-seat CR-V represents excellent value for money, although it needs updating with the latest active safety systems.
Granted the third row of seats is small and suitable for little kids only, but this goes for just about every seven-seater that’s not a dedicated people mover.
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Honda CRV VTi-L7 2WD, priced from $38,990