Big Bang! The new CR-V

The fourth-gen Honda CR-V is already here in our showrooms and
let’s explore whether the new car can revive what old CR-V missed in the
recent days.

 The term “CR-V” may literally mean anything like ‘Compact Recreational Vehicle’, ‘Comfortable Runabout Vehicle’ or whatever, but its definition in our Indian automobile market is something different for sure.

The CR-V is defined as a premium soft-roader and urban SUV with awesome performance, practicality and luxury; a popular import car for a long time; a favourite weekend car for urban folks, especially women – I have seen many city women driving the CR-V than any other of its kind…. A car with a very humble styling, lavishly crafted to grab optimum attention. Petrol drivetrains ensuring trouble-free driving and upsurge performance and what not??

But sadly, the petrol phobia with skyrocketing petrol prices in recent years and hot competitions from the newborn alternatives substantially from the Fortuner, all of them having diesel options, brought down its sales in the last 2-3 years. The fourth-gen Honda CR-V is already here in our showrooms and let’s explore whether the new car can revive what old CR-V missed in the recent days.
First and foremost a disappointment. The primary concern with regard to the CR-V was the missing diesel variants, which is unlikely to be addressed at least for a year from the now. The diesel motor (i-DTEC), which is offered in other international markets, is not a part of current plan in India and the fourth-gen CR-V is petrol-only too. But the rejuvenated demand for petrol cars in India very recently may have made Honda to think that the petrols are enough to get the CR-V going, considering a really competitive pricing strategy. Yes, the prices are a pleasant surprise thanks to the fact that the new CR-V is assembled at Honda’s plant in Greater Noida from kits imported from Thailand. But I wish it could have been much cheaper. The 5-speed CVT is also missing unfortunately.

The engines are the same specs as the earlier, but are now more powerful and tries to be efficient too. The 2.4-litre petrol mated to a 5-speed automatic with paddle shifter and 4-wheel drive is more punchy and responsive. But the 2.0-litre 156PS engine is the most fun to drive with 6-speed manual transmission, which is more refined and good to use than the automatic. The smaller motor is quite responsive, linear and the low down and mid range torque characteristics are superb.

Press the green ‘ECON’ button on the dash, and everything from throttle response to gear changes allow for better fuel efficiency I’m told. The green leaf stock icon lights up and whole instrument cluster turns to green theme! This indicates most efficient output but there is hardly a difference while driving. Press on the gas pedal, you still see the needles climbing like anything! The uprated suspension setup brings better ride and handling. The new CR-V retains the car-like driving and road manners, feels nice, poised and responsive around corners.
The more important question, does it retain prettiness of the last CR-V which is fairly contemporary and modern unlike others? May it be any of the last three generations, the CR-V has always been cute and humble. Especially the last gen, so it is definitely baneful to take that design and bring in a new one. So the answer to my question is yes, but with a very new approach though! It looks like the car has grown bigger but it is actually shorter and lower slung. It is now more butch and bulbous in some angles. In the face of it, the nice wider chrome grille and the crystal clear boomerang-shaped headlamps will invite much attraction. The rear is almost familiar, the sweeping down tail lamps and its side extensions remembers me of a Volvo. Everything looks large in the rear and is more bulbous on the road. The tail gate opens much lower ensuring greater utility. The wheel arch feedings are more sporty and masculine. The side profile is almost similar except the lovely sloping coupe line in the roof of the old CR-V, and is now intentionally kept straight to create more cabin space.

The new dashboard is trendsetting with loads of features embedded on it. The steering wheel is new to with numerous buttons and the instrument panel is fantastic to read and sporty. The buyers of this class would definitely appreciate the quality of the interiors and the space. Thanks that the colour theme is not the usual beige! The back seats are quite comfortable in all sense. They fold shut to offer space for large objects and the mechanism is very simple. With other usual stuffs, the top-end trim gets a touch screen multimedia  infotainment with in built navigation. The 17-inch alloys, 6 airbags, fog lamps, Bluetooth, USB are also offered. The 2.4 also gets a sun-roof. 

Every Honda models in India has always been a class-leader in their respective segments with an exception to the Jazz. The company is always equated to a premium level for its quality, delivery and technology. With the new next-gen CR-V, there is a great scope for the company to do wonders. Diesel engines can be offered and the prices can be much more competitive. Nevertheless, the car is a leap forward and there will still be healthy demand for petrol cars too.  Of course, a lot more coming up from the company to AMAZE you! I’m looking.

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at

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