The 4th generation Honda CR-V has finally made it to Indian shores. It's new, stylish, well-built and has that typical 'Honda' air of distinction, and should be able to put up quite a fight in the entry level premium SUV league
Globally, the 1st generation CR-V made its debut in 1995. That was the year that Honda pulled a game changer on the burgeoning market that was going SUV crazy at the time. Big, monstrous 4x4 machines received a showdown from a lightweight CR-V, which essentially introduced the world to the realm of the soft-roader. I remember at the time, Honda was all gung-ho about the fact that a solid majority of SUV owners never leave the tarmac, so why offer technology that doesn’t have any purpose?
The CR-V was built to drive like a car, offer car like comfort, yet look like an SUV and if need be, handle a bid of puddle bashing and trail use thanks to the intelligent real time 4x4 system that Honda installed in it, which essentially leaves the CR-V as a front wheel drive vehicle and only transfers power to the rear wheels should the system feel the need for it. It was a vehicle for the smart-class so to speak and while it couldn’t go boulder bashing, the CR-V proved to be the ultimate urban SUV and the brand has never had to look back ever since.
In India, the CR-V made its debut in 2003 followed by the 2nd and the 3rd generation models introduced in the market in 2006. Ever since its launch, the CR-V has managed to sell close to 13,739 units; a decent figure, especially when you consider the fact that it was essentially a CBU. Now with the 4th generation CR-V, Honda is looking at changing the game once again. The new CR-V will be assembled at the company’s Greater Noida facility in Uttar Pradesh and in doing so, Honda should be able to price the product at a rather competitive point to take on the entry level premium SUV market.
The vehicle itself is a fantastic evolution over its predecessor, and while the lines have become cleaner and crisper, I feel that the CR-V has matured and while this is my personal opinion, I honestly do feel that this is the best looking CR-V till date. The sculpted body lines that clearly define the sleek upper body and the powerful lower body, the chiseled grille and hood and of course the large HID projector headlights that flank the chrome grille all add to the element of being a purposeful SUV. The rear gets a nice notch, however it seems as though the designers took some quick lessons in design aesthetics from Volvo! Having said that, the exterior styling is rather bold and has a definite aura of being a rather aggressive looking SUV.
Get inside the CR-V and you are greeted with simple, yet very classy interiors. In fact I would say the CR-V has the best interiors in terms of materials used, fit and finish. There were a few panel gaps, however these being amongst the first lot of assembled models in India, such discrepancies were expected and I am sure that Honda will have these rectified at the earliest. Overall, the interior did have an opulent air to it and a lot of that has to do with the neatly appointed gizmos and gadgetry along with the optimum use of available space.
In fact, the CR-V now comes with lower seats and a roof that is slightly taller than its predecessor. This has resulted in an airy cabin and a fantastic view from all seats. My only grouse was the lack of thigh support on the rear bench. It was just a little too low for tall people such as me. The front seats however, are a revelation and that is where I chose to spend most of my time, while enjoying a drive in the new CR-V.
In terms of creature comforts, the CR-V does come pretty loaded and the list includes the AVN system with a large 6.1 inch touch screen that allows you to access the one touch navigation system, DVD/CD player with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity as well as rear camera display. Further to this, you get the intelligent multi-functional information display that allows you to access a plethora of information as well as customize it to suit your needs, including a wallpaper of your choice.