2018 Honda CR-V VTi-L endurance test (2023)

  • Update No. 2
  • Update #3
  • Until next time

WHEN Honda executives first revealed theCivicconcept compact SUV at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995, they could not have imagined that their so-called 'Compact Recreational Vehicle' would become a global bestseller and one of the company's most important models worldwide.

The arrival in Australia early last year ofHonda CR-V fifth generationIt matched the model that surpassed 8.7 million sales in more than 130 countries, including this one, where the smooth-roading vehicle has been a consistent solid seller and category standard-setter since its launch in October 1997.

Ten years and four generations after the arrival of the first model, the versatile Honda has become a familiar mainstay of the Australian motoring scene and a trusted favorite among drivers, won over by its versatility, affordability, reliability and efficiency.

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The new model builds on this legacy of space and flexibility by introducing, for the first time, a third row of seats in a trim, a move that corresponds to larger dimensions, and a subtle change in positioning from "compact" to "midsize." ". all terrain.

The extra space and third row were designed, at least in part, to appeal to families pondering the staggering variety of models on offer in this ultra-competitive segment, which is why we're introducing the CRV-03 as the latest model from the Bullmer family. -thermal.

The Honda publicist looked a bit nervous as he handed over the keys, noting without any sense of irony that ourlast long term, oaudi q7it was "significantly larger than the CR-V, so the third row could be a problem if your kids are older than six or seven."

2018 Honda CR-V VTi-L endurance test (2)


While there's no denying the dimensional differences between the behemoth Audi and the midsize Honda, nor the limitations of the CR-V's compact third row, we're pleased to add this recently expanded Honda as part of the family.

The thing is, since the Bulmer girls turn 14 and 9 respectively, the third row doesn't see much action anyway and is really only needed for occasional use, so it's definitely not an issue.

What may be as we move into our time with the CR-V, however, is the fact that the third row doesn't fold flat with the floor, but instead sits several inches above the trunk. This will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on our ability to cram ridiculous amounts of unnecessary luggage in the trunk on our next family trip.

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On the plus side, there's a full-size 18-inch garter under the seat, so all will be forgiven if we get a flat. As it stands, the CRV-03 is designated the VTi-L, meaning it's the only seven-seater in the four-tier range, costs a reasonable $38,990, and slots above the base VTi and mid-spec VTi-S, but below the top-end $44,290 VTi-LX.

The latter comes standard with AWD, while all-wheel drive is a reasonable $2,200 option on top of the VTi-S's $33,290 base. However, if you need to have seven seats, the VTi-L is your only option and, in turn, it is only available with front-wheel drive.

We won't know if this is a problem until we're stuck somewhere, but for most people, AWD is nice to have, not required, and $2,200 buys a lot of gas...or maybe a vehicle salvage.

All variants in the new range are powered by a 140 kW 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a CVT, and even the base VTi comes equipped with niceties like keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera , 7.0 inch camera. screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tire pressure monitoring and trailer stability assistant.

The VTi-S adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a power tailgate, satellite navigation, front and rear parking sensors, and a lanewatch driver alert feature. Upgrading to the VTi-L gets all of that plus a third row of seats, a panoramic moonroof, partial leather upholstery, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and an eight-way adjustable driver's seat.

Sadly, the latter has already been the source of some minor family disagreements, with the wife and children finding out to their horror that they have to manually adjust the front passenger seat.

Oh what a shame!

Update No. 2

Like millions of other working-class Australians, financial necessity means that I am forced to endure a grueling commute across town twice a day, five days a week.

One advantage for me, however, is that I can do this in a wide range of cars, and I can spend at least part of that wasted 60 minutes considering various aspects of vehicle performance.

Judging by my fellow drivers, this discipline isn't as popular as talking or texting on the phone, picking my proboscis, or doing my nails, but it works for me.

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My journey begins in the leafy northeast of Melbourne and, depending on the route chosen, often includes the first 15 minutes traversing an undulating country road, interspersed with a variety of hills, twists, turns and even the odd 'roo or fox' sightings. .

It's also bumpy, making it an insightful test of suspension set-up, steering precision, and tire grip, as well as being far more engaging than the mundane multi-track alternative.

It's a road that shows some cluesHonda CR-VStrengths: Remarkably compliant ride quality, good tire grip, and ability to eat hills with torque, while revealing weaknesses like sluggish steering, slow cornering, and soft rebound damping.

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To be fair,o CR-VIt's a compact family truck and not really a cornering type of machine. There's no question that the dynamics are perfectly safe and totally predictable, and that's what people buying a family SUV like this want, along with utility.

while he is rebornCivic Type Rand the NSX supercar show that Honda has clearly recaptured its charm when it comes to building dynamically precise performance cars that can dissect corners with surgical precision, the CR-V shows the Minato-based conglomerate operating in an entirely different space in its broad spectrum. . of products.

I doubt I'll ever become an ardent fan of the CVT, but paired with Honda's potent 1.5-liter turbo-four, the CR-V has earned my respect for the way it effortlessly eats outstanding in my morning run. . The muted note from the engine that's a fact of life with CVTs isn't exactly desirable, but you can't fault the way the transmission keeps the engine stuck in the meat of its torque curve, oscillating between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm. and delivering instant acceleration. without the pause, kickback and flare of a traditional torque converter.

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Surprisingly, in an age where start-stop technology is quickly becoming the norm, the CR-V lacks it.

There is an eco-mode switch located next to the high-mounted transmission lever, but I haven't seriously tested it yet. However, with fuel economy running consistently through the mid-10s, it's apparent that its absence isn't exactly taking a toll on Honda's efficiency.

As my morning 30km commute nears the hour mark, I've been behind the wheel long enough to appreciate the excellent comfort and support of the front seats, as well as the high driving position and excellent all-round visibility from inside. car. airy cabin, if not the hygiene habits in the car of my traveling companions.

Update #3

Considering the amount of time we spend behind the wheel of our cars, a comfortable driving position is almost as important as getting your hands on one of those legendary mattresses or pillows that TV spruikers promise will change our sleep patterns for us. always. Dial 1-800 NOW!

Fortunately, the days of 'Italian ape' management positions, characterized by gorilla-sized arms and stubby legs, have largely been consigned to the dustbin of history. But despite great advances in ergonomics, the occasional turkey still makes it through. Our ownford falconwas one of them, with the swansong FG/FGX with a steering wheel that sat in your lap and could never be set high enough.

Car engineers and designers will tell you that there are all kinds of mitigating factors that lead to such compromises (mostly related to inherent conflicts between car engineers and designers), but regardless of the source, the end result is often the same; a driver constantly fiddling with his seat and steering wheel position in a vain attempt to get comfortable.

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I have a general rule of thumb that if I can't get comfortable in the first few minutes, the riding position is probably wrong and I should just accept my luck and stop playing.

Fortunately, there are no such problems with theHonda CR-V, which has one of the best driving positions of any car I've driven in a long time. It helps that the added ground clearance and high roof allow for a raised seating position that makes getting in and out especially easy, but once in that position it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of effort has gone into ensuring that the driver stay comfortable. .

my second specificationHonda CR-V VTi-LIt has the usual range of power adjustment for the driver's seat and manual reach and height adjustment for the leather steering wheel. But the shape and structure of the seat also excels at keeping me cool and not deforming after several hours behind the wheel.

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With its raised cockpit, leather support buckets, large windshield and spacious cabin, theHonda CR-VIt has excellent visibility that helps keep all occupants in a comfortable frame of mind.

Combined with the panoramic moonroof, the CR-V looks extraordinarily roomy, a fact that often makes it our first choice for a family outing, even if a sportier or more prestigious set of wheels is available.

Unfortunately, the praise doesn't quite extend to the third row, which has to make do with a small triangular window and tight space, even with the second row slid forward.

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On the plus side, second- and third-row occupants get the benefit of individual air vents and overhead climate controls, and the air conditioning is good. With the thermostat set to 'freeze' and the fan on 'wind tunnel' you can barely hear the little beggars shivering and complaining about the compromised seating position.

Guys toughen up, in my day...

Until next time

YOU KNOW a veteran has connected with you in a deep and meaningful way when you find yourself crunching the numbers to see if you can permanently replace regular family wheels.

Such is the impression that theHonda CR-VIt has had for the last four months, slowly working its way into my head and heart, so that I now find myself seriously investigating the option of permanent ownership. Or rather, my accountant is doing it on my behalf.

If it is too good. Or, perhaps more accurately, it's a great family car.

So what exactly is it that makes the CR-V so well-suited to claim a permanent spot in the family garage? First, its right size: Like many nuclear families of two adults and two children, a teenager and a tween, we really don't need something as big as aMazda CX-9.

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Of course, there are always exceptions, where you want a few extra cubic feet of trunk space during your annual break, but for the most part, we've found the CR-V's standard 472-liter trunk to be perfectly adequate. Plus, its midsize exterior dimensions make parking much easier than its full-size rivals.

Inside this well-detailed and well-proportioned exterior is a spacious, well-built interior with VTi-L specifications including a panoramic sunroof, partial leather upholstery, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and an adjustable driver's seat. in eight positions. . . On the downside, the front passenger seat can be manually adjusted, which seems a bit daunting given the $38,990 price tag.

| Read the review of Wheels to follow:2018 Honda CR-V DTi-L Review

First- and second-row accommodation is excellent, as is visibility, while good ergonomics ensure everything is easy to find and operate. Case in point is the variety of thoughtful storage options; things like large door pockets that can hold a full-size bottle of liquor; multiple storage nooks for phones, wallets, and keys; a deep center console for larger items; and a clever little sliding tray on top of the console to prevent losing items in the void below.

Ease of entry and exit is just as important for families, and Honda is a test case in designing an SUV that makes getting in and out of its comfortable seats especially easy. This is particularly the case with the CR-V's second row, which is accessed through clever rear doors that open to a nearly 90-degree angle.

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The VTi-L is the only variant in the current CR-V lineup to feature a third row of seats, which Honda has cleverly inserted into this generation courtesy of a 40mm wheelbase stretch. It's practical, sure, but anyone who buys a CR-V and thinks of putting teens or tweens in there should know that it's pretty tight, and such a move can add to said teen's legendary short temper.

Of course, space and build quality are important, but the CR-V has yet to offer the fundamentals of good drive, handling and performance. No major issues here, though the suspension setup definitely prioritizes ride comfort over lean and feels a bit too soft at first, with the electric steering being a bit sluggish. Yet the more you drive the CR-V, the more confident it becomes and the more you realize it's endowed with fundamentally sound dynamics.


2018 Honda CR-V: What's the best spec?

This helps bolster Honda's safety credentials, which are backed by a robust suite of active safety aids, including ABS with EBD, blind-spot monitoring, lane keeping, car and trailer stability assist, vehicle tire pressure, front and side airbags, plus full-length curtain airbags for all three rows.

The most advanced electronic safety features, including AEB, are only available on the latest generation of VTi-LX. It would be nice to see Honda bring these features to its lower-spec models, like its rival Mazda, but I have no argument in my mind that the CR-V is anything but a safe place to put your family.

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Performance from the 140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is decently quick, and with the engine's peak torque delivered from as low as 2000rpm, the CR-V is an effortlessly gritty ride. transmission which, while it helps with economy, doesn't add much to the driving experience. I keep warm with technology.

Not so the 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which quickly became a favorite with the kids, who kindly hogged the Bluetooth audio streaming connection to the detriment of my Slim Dusty collection. Unfortunately, four USB ports meant that their phones were rarely in danger of dying.

And it's on that sad note that we launched sayonara, or rather "Laéw-jer-gan", for Honda's impressive Thai-built family SUV. I await the accountant's verdict on whether or not we can get a new family car, but regardless of whether he gives me the green light, I won't hesitate to recommend the CR-V to friends as a good family truck, one with depth of quality that will leave Owners satisfied long after the new car smell is gone.

Ged Bulmer


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