Auto Review: Honda CR-V is a loyal steed

One of the world’s most popular SUVs gets a complete overhaul, a 3rd row, and a price hike

By George Kuruvilla

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2023 Honda CR-V
2023 Honda CR-V

Published: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 6:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Apr 2024, 6:26 PM

When it comes to reliable and functional personal transportation, Honda is one of few companies that people trust with their eyes closed. The Civic, Accord and the CR-V have been key in building this reputation.

For those in the market for a compact SUV, there is good news, we now have an all-new 6th generation Honda CR-V. Aesthetically, the new 2024 Honda CR-V is quite the departure from its predecessor. While the last one had curvier bodywork, the new model adheres to basic geometry, giving it angular lines. Yes, it does look a lot like the larger Pilot SUV, which also sports the new design language. Upfront, it gets a bigger black grille and a bigger badge as well. From the side the vehicle seems longer, and it is so by about 2 inches, and the shoulder lines appear flatter too. At the rear, Honda has chosen to keep the large dual-axis lamps but have added angular traits with distinctive LED details reminiscent of an Infiniti. Gone are the chic flower-petal style wheels for beefier 18-inch alloys on this Touring model that we tested. Overall, the new CR-V is a well-proportioned crossover, with premium cues and hints of sportiness. Is it pageantry worthy? Probably not, but it certainly has an edge over its equals.

The interior architecture has also been brought in line with the rest of the family. Visually, the crux of the design is the hexagonal mesh, with neatly integrated air vents, that goes across the dash. But it may collect dust over time. The new chunky steering wheel with the hexagonal centre comes leather-wrapped, but the steering-mounted controls feel tiny under your fingertips. Also, for this price, an electrically adjustable steering column was expected. But the driver gets other benefits like a customizable 7-inch instrument cluster and a Head-up Display (HUD). The driving position is also good for most, which is a result of the shape and comfort offered by the leather seats. The extendable sun visors are a neat touch too.

2023 Honda CR-V
2023 Honda CR-V

Atop the dash is a tablet-style infotainment screen with decent touch response, but having physical menu buttons and a volume knob is a big plus. I like that they’ve kept the A/C controls physical too. Those shiny knurled knobs with in-set graphics are quite fancy, I must say.

One can expect typical Honda quality with soft touch plastics up top and harder ones below, with sprinkles of decorative piano black and satin trims spread around. If treated with care, this cabin could last a decade. The second row has plenty of head and legroom and is best suited for two adults, three will have their shoulders rubbing all the way. It is quite surprising that all variants now come with a reclinable 3rd row but it’s extra tight back there. Adding to the overall comfort is an air conditioning system strong enough to get you through summer without a sweat although we don’t know how it would perform on the hottest days with seven aboard. All variants also get the 8-speaker audio system. It doesn’t possess ground-breaking music reproduction tech, but it does its job. You can also hook up your phone through the BT system or use wireless phone integration tech, be it an Apple or Android product.


Body type- 7-seater; 5-door compact crossover SUV

Engine- Front-engine; turbocharged 1.5-litre inline 4-cylinder; all-wheel drive

Transmission - CVT (automatic)

Peak output - 190 PS @ 6,000 rpm

- 243 Nm @ 1,700 – 5,000 rpm

0 to 100km/h- sub-9 seconds (estimated)

Top speed- 180 km/h (drag limited; estimated)

Fuel economy- 14.8 km/l (claimed)

Price- Starting AED 124,900

Turning gasoline to torque and smoke is a turbocharged 1.5-litre inline 4-cylinder which replaces its predecessor’s naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre. The spec sheet reads 190 PS and 243 Nm of peak torque, which certainly is sufficient for relaxed everyday commutes, but step on the accelerator hard its lack of oomph becomes evident. It takes about 5 seconds to get from 80 to 120 km/h. Expect higher NVH levels too at higher rpms. The CVT itself is quick to swap “ratios” and you can use the small plastic paddles if you wish. The CR-V also managed to average between 9.5 to 11 l/100km, which is far from its claimed figures but not bad for a vehicle of its size. The indicated 570 km range is also respectable. It also scores well on all other fronts of dynamism. The MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension offers a smooth ride, soaking up road irregularities while handling confidently at legal speeds, be it through sweeping corners or during lane changes.

2023 Honda CR-V
2023 Honda CR-V

There’s huge array of features under Honda Sensing technology, but it’s the LaneWatch feature that’s unique to Honda. As you activate the right indicator, the view of the right-hand side even the blind spot shows up on the infotainment screen briefly. Also worth mentioning are the wide-opening doors that allow easy installation of child seat and the 360-camera view, which is crisp but smallish on the 9-inch screen.

As for cargo, worry not! Open up the tailgate and you get 617 litres with the 3rd row folded, and folding down the 2nd row gets you a total of 1072 litre, which is space for all the vacation gear you can muster. If you’re moving more, you’re probably over-prepared.

After a few days of trotting about town, the facts remain. The same genetic code has been passed down from generations before making the 2024 Honda CR-V a functional and reliable family crossover as well. This time around it’s been bestowed with sportier angular lines…only if the new turbo 1.5L motor matched it for oomph. If you’re fine with front-wheel drive, the base DX variant comes reasonably well-equipped, with LEDs and even a remote starter. But I’d say the EX AWD, which retails for about AED 145k, is the pick of the lot. It has everything the superfluous Touring variant has, for a lot less.


In 1937, Soichiro Honda established Tōkai Seiki, a company that used to produce piston rings

GOOD - Sportier looks; typical Honda build quality; features; reliability & residual value

BAD - turbo 1.5L could use more horses; cramped 3rd row; pricey

EDITOR’S RATING- 7.5/10 stars


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