It’s Friday night and the end of another busy week. You’ve finally got the kids to bed and now it’s time to do some new car research before you visit the car dealership tomorrow to check out that car you’ve seen advertised on TV. The price looked right and then you look at the spec sheet, all of those extra inclusions you wanted cost more, so the car you had your heart set on is now out of your price range. How annoying!
Well this scenario is not the case with the Honda CR-V VTi-LX; the top of the line model in the CR-V range that comes standard with many features. This makes it an excellent car for busy families who don’t have time to spec a car and just want one that comes with the luxury they need for a good price.
The CR-V is the large SUV in the Honda model range and comes in both 2WD and AWD variants all on which are 5-star ANCAP rated. All models come with five seats except the VTi-L 2WD, which has seven seats. The VTi-LX is AWD, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and has a 1.5 litre four cylinder turbo charged engine that uses its 140kW at 5,600 rpm and 240Nm at 2,000-5,000 rpm well, offering surprising acceleration during overtakes that you would not expect from such a small engine. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 7.4 litres/100km and I achieved 8.9 litres/100km for the week I spent a week with the CR-V.
On the road the ride quality was good, but there was some road noise and you could tell the CR-V did not have as much sound deadening as other cars I have driven. The doors do extend all the way passed the sill meaning you don’t get dust on the sill that can then get on your long skirt or white jeans as you step into the car; it’s a feature of many SUVs these days, but one that I really like.
Another feature I immediately liked in the CR-V was the polite voice that asked me to “please fasten my seat belt” when I started to drive down the driveway without it on. Most cars will just play some sort of annoying ‘bong’ and it can be sometimes confusing as to why your car is ‘bonging’ at you. Not in the CR-V though; having someone telling you what you need to do is very handy, sometimes.
I also liked that once I had accepted the safety warning at start up on the sat nav I was given the choice to enter either a destination or simply select the map. Having the option to enter a destination without having to go through the menu options is great because it gets you on your way just that little bit faster.
The VTi-LX has leather seats and the front seats are heated with 8-way power adjustment for driver’s seat with two memory positions and 4-way adjustability for the passenger seat. The steering wheel and gear selector are also leather and have a pleasant feel about them.
The steering is nicely weighted and the lane keep assist works well, you can feel when it is engaged, but it’s not over powering. Other safety systems in the top of the line model include forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow. All must-have features for daily driving in our busy cities that can help prevent annoying bingles or even worse a major crash.
There is no blind spot assist, but in its place the camera under the passenger side wing mirror displays on the screen when you indicate to go left, giving you a great view on the screen of what is happening on that side of the car. I think it’s actually better than blind spot assist. For parking assistance there is front and rear sensors and a reversing camera with three camera modes, dynamic guidelines to assist with reversing and a reverse tilt passenger side mirror.
For keeping an eye on rear passengers in the back of the car there is a handy curved mirror exposed when you open the roof mounted sunglasses holder that enables you to see exactly who is kicking who with one quick glance.
The 7-inch touchscreen allows you to control most functions of the car. You can connect to your music or the DAB, plus apps, and more with a simple tap. By connecting your smartphone to the touchscreen you can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, listen to music and even interact with some of your favourite apps. Something I didn’t test, but is available is the ability to use Siri Eyes Free or Google Voice Search to do much of it without ever having to take your hands off the steering wheel. To access all of the connectivity features you need to connect your smart phone using a USB, but you can just connect via Bluetooth for phone and music.
The climate control info can be displayed on the screen as well, which makes it easy to quickly adjust. And of course it has sat nav and this has traffic information included and can be displayed in the instrument panel when it’s guiding you to your destination.
The CR-V’s gear selector is mounted on the dash meaning the centre console is free for other uses. You can remove a small shelf under the arm rest to expose a large space big enough for a hand bag. Under the arm rest there is also one HDMI port, two USB ports and another 12V port. There is another 12V outlet at the front of the centre console as well.
Jumping over the front seats into the back of the VTi-LX and you will notice how light the cabin is thanks to the panoramic sunroof. The rear seats have two ISOFIX points and three tether points (that are roof mounted) for child restraints and there is loads of rear leg room for adults if you don’t have children. There are two USB points in the back of the centre console and air vents with fan speed control only. The rear floor is flat, which makes it easier to traverse without tripping over the transmission tunnel and it has a single easy to remove mat for cleaning.
The boot is a good size (522 litres with the seats up and 1,084 litres with seats folded down) with a powered tailgate and it would be able to accommodate a pram and shopping with ease. The towing capacity of the CR-V is 1,500kg with a braked trailer and 600kg with a trailer without brakes.
There is also a full size spare tyre, which I think is great because if you did get a flat there is no messing around with trying to use the run-flat foam. Speaking of the wheels, I really liked the design of the rims on the VTi-LX.
The Honda CR-V VTi-LX is priced at $44,290 plus on-road costs and comes with everything mentioned above as standard. It also has a five year unlimited kilometre warranty, which offers long-term peace of mind. If you want a large SUV with many lux items included, then you should test drive the CR-V VTi-LX for yourself at your preferred Honda dealer.
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.