Honda Runabout

by Petrol Mum

The all-new sixth-generation Honda CR-V offers spaciousness with updated technology and safety. The CR-V or “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”, was introduced in Australia in 1997 and since then it has grown to be Honda’s leading model globally.

To broaden the appeal of the CR-V, Honda now offers this large SUV in a seven-seat version and the top of the line e:HEV RS now comes with a hybrid engine. I recently sampled the CR-V VTi L7 (Platinum White Pearlescent), which has seven seats, and the top-of-the-line petrol engined CR-V VTi LX AWD (Canyon River Blue Metallic), which has five seats, to see how they compared.

The updated and refined direct-injected 1.5-litre turbo 4-cylinder engine demonstrates that even as Honda heads into the electrified era, the company continues to make important improvements in the efficiency and performance of its internal combustion engine technology. This engine powered both of the CR-Vs I drove and it has a modest 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque. The official combined fuel consumption of the front-wheel drive L7 CR-V is 7.3L/100km and I used 8.6L/100km of petrol. For the AWD LX the official combined fuel consumption is 7.7L/100km and for my time with this CR-V I used 9.8L/100km. Both vehicles have an Econ drive mode that I did not use for my time driving these two SUVs.

The engine is paired with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that feels droney and unremarkable in the CR-V, it does have plastic wheel-mounted gear selectors, but neither CR-V inspired me to use these. Even though the front MacPherson strut suspension has been re-tuned I found the ride was a little bumpy and unrefined on rough roads.

All new CR-Vs come with smart keyless entry and keyless start, so no need to remove your key from your handbag in order to enter or exit the vehicle. They also all come with a gesture open/close powered tailgate with the clever Walk Away Close switch. This allows you to press the close and lock button under the tailgate, gather your things, and then walk away. Once the key is no longer in the proximity of the CR-V the tailgate closes and the vehicle locks. This is a really clever design because I don’t know how many times, I have had to reach up to press the lock button with an armful of grocery bags.

The seats in these two CR-Vs are covered with black leather-appointed trim and both front seats are heated with power adjustment for recline and forward/back. The driver’s seat also get powered seat height adjustment for the front and rear of the seat cushion, 4-way lumbar support and two memory positions.

The 9-inch infotainment touchscreen system comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay compatibility and wired Android Auto connected through a USB-A port in front of the gear selector. Also located here is a large cubby for your phone with a wireless phone charger for compatible devices and one 12V socket and one USB-C port. There is a good sized cubby under the arm rest with enough space for a small handbag or all the things you need to carry for kids. There’s two cup holders in front of the arm rest with grippy sides and a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning and large drink bottle storage in the front door cubbies.

Media sources available include DAB, Bluetooth, USB, smartphone and AM/FM radio that is actually easy to tune, which is not always the case. Thankfully that is the case because the voice control, which is operated by pressing the button on the steering wheel that is designated with a masculine looking silhouette, only works when voice tags have been saved into the system. The only difference between these two CR-Vs in the front of the vehicle is the driver’s dash, with the L7 getting a 7” digital display with an analogue speedo on the right, while the LX has a 10.2” full digital dash and the information shown can be customised.

I like the honeycomb dash detail, but my hubby pointed out that it would be hard to clean when it gets dust stuck in it. I didn’t like that that the two central vents can’t be closed off and I still had the same temperature issues I have encountered previously in the new Civic and ZR-V. It feels to me like there is no temperature variation between the Lo temp setting and the Hi temp setting, so if I am after a comfortable temp between these two, I just can’t find it. A Honda spokesperson advised the following about this issue;

“The climate control system automatically controls vent temperature, air mix position (face, feet or demist), blower fan speed, and the A/C compressor operation to raise or lower the vehicle’s interior temperature to match the customer’s temperature setting. The actual vent outlet temperature largely depends on the difference between the in-car temperature sensor reading and the customer’s setting temperature.

The CR-V in particular, is equipped with Honda’s i-Dual Zone system, which references the inbuilt navigation systems GPS position data to calculate the relative position of the sun. The i-dual zone system uses this information to adjust the cooling performance to counteract radiant heat coming through the windows. This system is active when the climate control system is in Auto.”

The major differences occur in the back half of these CR-Vs with the addition of a third row resulting in some changes in the second row/rear seats. Both vehicles have manual recline adjustment for these seats, but the L7 also gets manual forward/back sliding to allow access to the third row. There is also less leg room in the L7 with 958mm compared to 1,042mm even before you slide the second row forward to accommodate for third row passengers. Either way I found the legroom was adequate for myself in both vehicles, but taller individuals may find it a little tight. Even though there is no difference in the roof height of both CR-Vs I did note that I felt that headroom was tighter in the five seater especially if I sat upright in the seat.

The CR-V is famous for how wide the rear doors open, to almost 90 degrees, which is great for loading children in, but where are you going to find a carparking space that allows you to open the doors this wide? Both CR-Vs have two ISOfix/three rear tether child seat restraint points with the centre tether located in the roof. Hip room in the L7 is slightly more than the LX with 1,375mm compared to 1,336mm, so you may have a better chance of fitting three car seats across the larger of the two? There are no child seat restraint points located in the third row of the L7.

Something I love in the rear seat area is the single floor mat that goes over the entire floor, making it easier to vacuum out when it comes time for a car clean. Something I don’t like where seat belts are anchored near the B pillar so children can touch them with their foot and tighten your seat belt, it can be very annoying.

The L7 gets the addition of roof vents above the second and third row seats with basic air speed control on the vent located on the driver’s side that controls all of the vents or they can be individually shot off or the direction moved. This is something you may want to consider if your children are prone to car sickness and need extra fresh air. Because the LX only has the two central air vents with individual direction control and one central on/off switch and the large sunroof in both CR-Vs only opens at the front half. Below the air vents there are two USB-C ports and third row passengers in the L7 get no USB ports.

For drink bottle storage there are two rigid holders at the front of the fold down centre arm rest and good-sized drink bottle storage in rear doors with two levels one higher than the other. In the third row of the L7 there is a basic drink bottle holder in each of the wheel arches.

To access the third row, you use the lever on shoulder on either side of the 60:40 split folding second row seats. Space in the third row is limited and I think they would only be suitable for smaller tween sized children and even then, not all of the time. I found the head room was tight for me and even with the second-row seats slid forward there was not enough room for my legs to fit behind the seats and my knees were sitting up high. You do get small mats on the floor of the third row though.

With third row seats in place there may be just enough room for three school bags or a few grocery bags in the boot space. Also, the L7 has removable floor so you can store some things under the floor whereas the LX has some additional storage space behind the wheel arches. The third-row seats can also be hooked up out of the way so you can easily get to the temporary use spare tyre. In the five-seater you get a full-size spare tyre, something that might be important to some customers?

If not in use the third-row seats can be manually raised and lowered using the straps on the back of the seats. With the third-row seats laid flat there is enough room for a weekly shop or a pram and a small shop. The L7 boot space has one light, one 12V socket and hooks to hold back the third row seats belts. In five seat CR-V the boot space has two hooks, four substantial tie down points, two lights and one 12V socket. In addition to the gesture open/close tailgate you can also open/close the tailgate from the button under the tailgate and in the cabin and it only opens using the key fob.

The braked towing capacity for the L7 is 1,000kg and the LX AWD is 1,500kg, while the e:HEV RS has just 750kg available. All new CR-Vs have a unbraked towing capacity of 600kg and a maximum tow ball downforce of 100kg, with this dropping to 75kg for the e:HEV RS.

The all-new CR-V comes standard with new and advanced active and passive safety technology including improved Honda SENSING driver-assistance technology with a new front camera and radar system. Honda SENSING technology on all CR-V variants includes Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Adaptive Cruise Control, and these can be customised for how they operate. Apart from the base model VTi X, they also come with blind spot information system and rear cross traffic alert.

Honda CR-V VTi LX AWD rear view camera

Passive safety includes driver, front passenger, side front, side rear, knee (front), centre (front), and full-length curtain airbags, but as yet this CR-V does not have an ANCAP safety rating. For convenience you also get auto lights and auto wipers and the standard rear-view camera has front and rear parking sensors.

All new Honda’s sold in Australia come with the Honda Road Ahead Guarantee that includes a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years Premium Roadside Assist, five years map updates for the satellite navigation system, and a 5-year Honda Connect subscription. For the all-new Honda CR-V the service schedule is every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever occurs first and for all MY24 CR-Vs sold between now and 31 March 2024 the first five services are capped at $199 each.

Purchasing your new Honda is made easy with the Honda One Price Promise. This means your new Honda has the same price no matter which Honda Centre you visit in your State or Territory, haggle free! The all-new Honda CR-V VTi L7 is priced from $53,000 drive away and as tested with floor mats ($250) this L7 was $53,250 drive away. The CR-V VTi LX AWD is priced from $57,000 drive away and as tested with floor Mats ($250) this LX was $57,250 drive away. Visit your preferred Honda Centre or build and price your new Honda CR-V online

Honda One Price Promise & Road Ahead GuaranteeThe temperature control issues
Walk Away Close switch on the tailgateThird row in L7 is not suitable for full-time use
Single mat over the rear floorLocation of front seat belt anchor points

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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