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Land Rover
Test Drives
21 Apr 09 13:36
The All New Honda CRV Good Looks and Power
John K. Lindgren
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Remember 1996 when the Japanese automaker Honda launched their first generation CR-V? Never did I figure out if the acronym meant: “ Compact Recreational Vehicle” or "Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”? Both make sense to me. But accoding to Honda Japan CRV means:" Comfortable Runabout Vehicle".

Whatever the meaning it became a motoring household name and it sold almost 2.5 million vehicles worldwide since its introduction in ‘96. The CRV owners are regarded brand loyal, and almost half of them have bought a CR-V several times.
And there are many C-RV clubs round the world.

100% new design
The all new dramatically transformed CR-V which was launched at the Paris 2006 Motor Show was a shorter, wider and more vigorous, compact looking Honda SUV. Gone is the old grey boxlike, 90s, uncomplicated Japanese jeep styling with the hideous protruding bulky spare wheel attached to the side hinged rear door. New for the 2007 CRV is the easy-to-open, lightweight lift-up tailgate in one piece and opening upward, providing shelter from the elements when loading cargo.

The third generation CR-V is lower (185 mm ground clearance) wider (35mm) and 86 mm shorter than the previous models; the length decrease stems mostly from the fact that the spare wheel no longer adds length to the back of the vehicle. A lowering of the center of gravity is another benefit of the spare wheel being hidden under the rear floor. Styling is new, fresh with radical design elements such as the controversial overlapping double layer front grille. We do notice the curvy Honda Stream-look-a-like D-pillar and the small rear window. The posterior view is dominated by the vertical bright red tail-lights. Less “Cheap Jeep” feeling - more real,compact macho SUV looks.

New interior
The high and wide solid doors provide and easy ingress and egress. The cockpit and the passenger area of our demo unit is refreshingly black colored in a sea of cars with bi-color brown and beige interiors. My uncle Harry once advised me: “young man never wear two-tone shoes – not even on the golf course!” On the inside there is ample space. A clever divided glove compartment and large enough cup holders for the front passengers. And a small cubbyhole is to the right of the steering wheel for those needed toll 5 and 10 BHT coins. The gear shifter sits high on the dash and the foot-operated parking brake have created more space between the two front passengers. Ample comfortable space in the front and rear seats.

The upholstery is close to German quality and firmness. And steering wheel is leather wrapped and chunky with a futuristic design like the Honda Civic and offers good grip and feel, including finger tip audio FM/CD/volume controls. No more fiddling the knobs on radio console, while driving. In the center LCD the multi-information panel which is easy to read with a white on gray background. The large side view (rear) mirrors are integrated with LED indicator blinkers enhancing the overall safety of the new CRV, especially when driving in the night. The cavernous cargo bay is cleverly designed with a practical dual deck cargo shelf. With the rear seats folded a total there is a total luggage space of around 556 liters.

Engine room
In the tight engine room sits a 150 horse power 2,000cc i-VTEC compact high tech Honda motor propelling the 1,500 kg vehicle up 190 km/h. Claimed fuel economy of 10-11 kilometer per litre. And the power 2,4 liter high speck version pumps out 170 horse power. They are both mated to a five speed seamless automatic gear boxes and 17-inch five spoke alloys wheels provides a good traction and grip.

Driving impressions
During our group test drive to Hua Hin by the sea in Prachuan Khirikan province across a congested Rama IX bridge and onwards across numerous bumpy bridges, hot, cracked tarmac, road constructions with ample braking, accelerating, lane changing our silver grey CR-V provided a smmoth drive all the way to Supatra sea food restaurant at the Chopstick Mountain (Khao Ta Kiep) outside Hua-Hin.

Indeed, the CR-V is a very pleasant and relaxed machine. It’s really hard to get irritated with the car. You just glide, cruise along, and the happy feeling that you get with it may have something to do with the commanding driving position and the velvety, power from the two litre V-Tec engine. Did you know that the Honda CR-V’s advertising campaign in Australia is called CRAVE. Who’s craving? I am craving for a Compact Runabout Vehicle! How much? Tao rai? The 2 liter version: 1.125 million THB

The top-of-the-line 2,4 liter model: 1,403 million THB.

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