namibia Adventure Safari HONDA CR-V 2.4 AT
Honda’s CR-V is no oil painting, but it is fashionably good-looking. It’s not fast, but it’s fast enough for Average Joe. It’s not really a 4×4, but Average Jane would say that doesn’t matter. It’s also not very exciting. But do Average Joe and Jane actually care? They seem to love the CR-V in any case!
In the US the Honda CR-V is a blockbuster. Since the compact Honda SUV was introduced in 1999, more than two million units have been sold there. That’s two million CR-Vs, sold to new customers.
Why do Americans – and thousands of customers around the globe – love the CR-V so much? It’s certainly not the best looking vehicle, nor is it the fastest or the biggest or the most luxurious. Rather, it’s the sum of the Honda’s good features, along with a rock-solid reputation, that keeps it selling and selling.
So let’s look at the CR-V 2.4 Executive AT — the model that joined us in Namibia. Honda is famous for its high-revving multi-valve engines, boasting popular technology like the company’s V-Tec valve timing system.
Due to the very nature of the CR-V application – which is primarily to ferry people around town comfortably, and occasionally on a dirt or sand road – this Honda’s four-cylinder engine features the latest generation valve timing technology called i-VTEC.
This system is available in two formats — for performance or for economical applications. The CR-V’s 2,4-litre mill falls in the latter category, since not many CR-V owners are presumed to be robot-racers.
You still get 122 kW of power at 5800r/min and 220Nm of torque at 4200r/min. Performance is brisk and adequate – but don’t expect to be overwhelmed by the Honda’s performance. In our test unit, the power was transferred to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox and Honda’s RealTime 4×4 system.
The RealTime system, in the first generation CR-Vs, used to be slow to react to wheelspin in an off-road situation. By the time the electronics decided to transfer power to the rear wheels, it was often too late. This problem has been rectified in the latest models, and RealTime works really well.
The Honda’s interior is impressive. It has an an amazing amount of space and features leather seats, an electric sunroof, cruise control, dual zone climate control, parking sensors (front and rear), a CD player with iPod connectivity, an electrically adjustable and heated driver’s seat, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Practicality has always been a CR-V strongpoint, and the latest version is no exception. The seats can be arranged in a number of combinations, and the boot space is enough for at least a pram-and-a-half.
On the outside, the Executive models gets HID xenon auto-on headlights, 17-inch wheels and body-coloured bumpers, wheel arches, mudguards and side sills.
Driving the Honda CR-V highlights the practical and effort-free nature of the SUV. It really is the sum of the Honda parts that makes it such a favourite.
So, is it a case of “greased lightning” for this Honda? Probably not. It’s more a case of “greased selling”. This is something the Honda is really good at!
It was also great at braving the worst that Namibia’s Kaokoland could dish up. Although its 185mm clearance proved challenging in places, it passed the rest of the tests with flying colours.
The Honda CR-V is one of the older compact SUVs in this company. It first went on sale internationally in 1995, and is said to have been derived from the Honda Civic. The model you see in these pages represents the third generation CR-V. It was launched in 2007 and in that year it became one of the 10 best-selling vehicles in the US. It is even said to have overtaken the Ford Explorer, which had held the title of best-selling SUV in the US for 15 years. Today, Honda’s US plant churns out more than 400 CR-Vs a day to satisfy North American demand.
Trivia: There are a number of theories on what the CR-V acronym actually represents. Civic Recreation Vehicle, Compact Recreational Vehicle and Comfortable Runabout Vehicle are three of the more popular versions.
Honda CR-V 2.4 Executive AT
Engine: Four-cylinder, DOHC, i-VETC
Power: 122 kW @ 5800 r/min
Torque: 220 Nm @ 4200 r/min
Gearbox: Five-speed automatic
4WD: Full-time RealTime system, traction and stability control
Ground clearance: 185mm
Price: R425 380