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Honda CRV – a quick drive around the block

The nice people at Honda let me have a new Honda CRV for an hour today. They let me have, not surprisingly, the top of the range CRV-Sport,a  “luxury” 2.4-litre, 4WD Sport  no less.

It’s a Honda. It has that over engineered for people Honda-ness going for it. Everything in it’s place, everything for a purpose. It’s a very pretty car, lois of nice rounded edges and curves. and a little shark fin on the roof!

Climb inside – there are a bazillion seat settings, I know that once you get it right it’s right, but faffing and fiddling when you’re in motion isn’t the best way to start a drive. eventually I figured it out to lower the seat, tip the front of if it down, move it back, adjust the lumbar setting, and then move the steering wheel down and out. It’s how I like it, the next person in will hate it. MrsPdubyah would have a mild panic every time she got in, it might do Honda well to have a memory system if they’re going to invest in electrickery of this sort for seats.

First order of the day – It doesn’t have a sat-nav. This appears to be a cost save, since the display  is used for showing you how loud the stereo is, and then doubles as a reversing camera screen. And whilst I am on reversing camera it’s a camera with some grid lines on it but no audible warning just to let you know that what you’re seeing is right. My Current car has no camera but an audible warning, it is possible. Perhaps someone had switched it off. I’d be keen to have it switched back on again.

And whilst we’re on the radio and the “premium” sound system I turned up the volume to maximum. Loud enough without making your ears bleed. Then I had to stop and get out to do something. I got back in and of course the volume was set to ears bleeding now, I would have thought that Honda would have a reset to default volume option on their “premium” stereo’s. (again my current car has this it’s a magnificent feature)

English: Honda CRZ Hybrid at the 2010 Washingt...

English: Honda CRZ Hybrid at the 2010 Washington Auto Show (D.C.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has the same trick steering wheel that is in the CRZ, little buttons to push here and there, some obvious some not so. And it has a flappy paddle gear-box. But oddly only 5 gears. And I loved the seamless way that the gearbox works. I was intrigued that in the “sports” mode that I could go from 1-though-5 at the speed I was driving, I’d be hoping that there is some failsafe in the system that prevented you driving everywhere in 1st for instance, or trying to pull away in 5th.

It has, currently, keyless entry and keyless ignition, but the salesman tells me that as they move to a new factory overseas this might disappear. As an older generation driver things like keyless ignition are still smoke and mirrors, and it’s a feature that should be there, just to show that the car is leading edge of something.

There is an “eco” mode button that lights up a green leaf thing on the dashboard. This makes the transmission mode softer, and assists in economical driving. And you can tell the economy by the way the green ring appears around the speedo when you drive, Green is good, white for a fright? There didn’t appear to be a red ring to indicated lead-footery. Then again the green ring of confidence seemed to be in attendance most of the time I drove it.

And on demand 4WD, as if you’re likely every to take this more than curb parking. Off-road as in parked in my garage perhaps. or for parking on the grass verge at the sunday farmers market.

It accelerates to warp speed maximum (And a bit) really quickly, smoothly and without drama when entering the motorway, and has really good mid-range acceleration. I love the acceleration and the response I got, good stuff.

It’s also very very quiet and comfortable, I couldn’t pick up any road noise inside the car. Then again I did have the sunroof open 🙂 but when it wasn’t it was a comfortable quiet cockpit.

What do I not like so much? Stereo, Lack of sat-nav, lack of audible reversing proximity sensor. I didn’t understand the drama of the “eco” mode, I didn’t really get the green-ring of confidence around the speedo, and the drivers wheel buttons are a bit faffing and fiddly.

What do I like? It’s easy to get into, it has new fangled keyless start and a flappy paddle gearbox. It has great acceleration.

However this is a much much better car than the current CRV, by any measure. At 10 liters per 100 kms that I drove it’s not too thirsty for something of it’s size.

Could it get me in trouble? It could, it drives to the maximum speed limit quickly and then it’ll keep going.

To the chase then, would I own one? at just under NZ$50k there is a lot of competition for the money. I don’t think I’d be a comfortable Honda car driver, I’d be disappointed that I’d turned into Captain Slow.

The CRV is good at what it’s good at, but it doesn’t bring anything but “safe” to the game, which you might like or you might despair of. It’s not quirky in any sense that I could define, and although you don’t necessarily want a car that challenges you, you might want one that let’s you be in a bit of command over it and not the other way around. It’s a driving pleasure not a driving experience.

Drive one at the first opportunity you can, it really is remarkable how different and how much nicer this is then the car you have, just how quiet, how smooth and balanced it is, and how much thought Honda have given to getting you from A to B in comfort.

You won’t be disappointed. Having driven one I’m not.

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2012 by in All about me, Cars, new cars and tagged , , , , .

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