Car Test   R0231
April 2002
  Honda CR-V
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 2.0SE Sport
THE SUPERSEDED CR-V WAS A MILLION- SELLER HIT, BUT can you better an excellent original? Honda thinks so by introducing the Swindon-built, second-generation version of its Compact Recreational-Vehicle. It looks very familiar (height and wheelbase are identical) but it is, in fact, all new from its alloy-wheeled, Civic-based platform to its roomier, restyled body.
   Like most 4x4 sport utility vehicles, this one will see more tarmac than turf. However, it is competent enough to cope with undemanding grass-and-goo off-roading, thanks to its ďintelligentĒ four-wheel drive system that engages automatically only when needed. And, of course, its extra grip in winter benefits on-road security.
   The two-litre (Hobsonís choice) engine is a new, torquier and more powerful i-VTEC unit that gives sprightly performance when you exploit its eagerness to rev. Despite lacking long-legged gearing, itís a splendid motorway mile-eater, too (keep an eye on the speedo!), but easy-going cruising is marred by an unpleasant boom on the overrun. No complaints about the excellent gearchange, though.
   Donít be fooled by the CR-Vís bulky appearance; it may be solid and substantial, but it has a pleasant, easy-going ride thatís car-like in its comfort. Anti-roll bars at each end keep cornering lean under control, so itís possible to tackle open-road bends with cautious verve, aided by clingy tyre grip and accurate, nicely weighted steering.
   With a bit of cushion tweaking and backrest angling, a comfortable driving position can be found behind the height (only) Ė adjustable wheel.
   Remove the rear head restraints and all-round vision is excellent, and most of the controls are where you want them. The unusual handbrake lever that forms part of the facia works well in normal use.
   The previous CR-V was spacious, but the new modelís extra length and width make it even more so. Thereís acres of space in all directions when the sliding, divided rear seats are fully back, with six angles of backrest recline to further relax you.
   Side-opening tailgates arenít ideal, but the CR-Vís opens to over 45 degrees (just), which helps, and the lift-up back window is sometimes convenient. Already generous boot space can be further increased by sliding the back seats forward (by up to 17cm) or double-folding the seats, thus opening up a big, carpeted cargo area.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
Safety Euro NCAP
Security, theft of  not available
theft from  not available
  • rear wiper blade parks off the glass
  • fold-down table between front seats
  • shopping bag hooks in load area
  • doors close with a solid thud
  • illuminated ignition keyhole
  • small warning lights/no dial dimmer
  • large head restraints mar rear view
  • poor rear wiper sweep
  • speedo calibrated 20, 40, 60 etc
  • door pockets too small
Making the CR-V better couldn't have been easy, but Honda has pulled it off. Its latest soft-roader is not only improved in both performance and economy, it's more spacious and practical, too. We put it right up there on the podium with Freelander and X-Trail for overall SUV excellence, but wish it didn't take itself quite so seriously. It's in sore need of a few so-called surprise and delight features to liven it up. Even the options list is boring.

engine 1998cc, 4-cylinder, petrol; 148bhp at 6500rpm, 142 lb ft at 4000rpm; chain-driven double overhead camshafts, 16 valves   transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive, with self-engaging, "on-demand" 4-wheel drive; 20.9mph/1000rpm in 5th, 16.2 in 4th
suspension front: MacPherson coil spring/damper struts, anti-roll bar. Rear: double link wishbones and coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar   steering hydraulic power assistance;3.3 turns lock-to-lock; 10.8m diameter turning circle between kerbs (16.9m for one turn of the wheel)
brakes ventilated discs front, solid discs rear, with ABS, EBD and brake assist   wheels/tyres 6in alloy with 205/70R15T tyres (Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 on test car); full-size alloy spare

size and type upper-medium (mid-priced) sport utility vehicle   trim levels SE, SE Sport
engines petrol: 4cyl/2.0 litre/ 148bhp; diesel: none   drive front-wheel drive with self-engaging 4-wheel drive, 5-speed manual; (4-speed stepped automatic optional)

HOW THE CR-V COMPARES engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m)a maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Honda CR-V 2.0SE Sport 4/1998/148 3350 9.5 16.4/25.3 30/216 12/27 108 106/80 3.3/10.8 457
L-Rover Freelander 2.0Td4# 4/1951/112 2880 14.7 16.9/22.3 38/205 30/26.5 104 107/75 3.2/11.8 439
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 4/1998/138 3280 12.1 22.8/33.3 28/221 14/27 107 105/72 3.1/11.2 451
Renault Scenic RX4 2.0 4/1998/140 3260 12.8 20.3/28.9 28.5/224 NA 106 102/76m 3.5/10.6 444
Toyota RAV4 2.0 5-door 4/1998/147 3350 9.5 16.6/24.2 29/211 18/26.5 110 98/73 3.0/11.4 426
Vauxhall Zafira 2.2 4/2198/145 3270 9.3 16.4/21.9 30/214 23/27 103 102/75 3.2/10.9 432
  a all with ABS
Other rivals include: Ford Maverick, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda Tribute, Vauxhall Frontera  m for middle row  # diesel

Clear dials, handy switches (except for sunroof), but some tell-tales too small. Pity wheel doesn't adjust for reach. High hi-fi and convenient heater controls; pull-angle on facia-mounted handbrake isn't ideal.
It can be rowed along rapidly and cornered smartly with determined grip (and chirps from the front tyres), but CR-V is more about comfort. Smooth, positive steering with good turning circles aiding manoeuvres.
Pleasantly dignified ride that's car-like in its quality; low wind and tyre noise. Passenger's seat lacks height adjustment and toe-room poor. Climate-controlled cabin includes small sunroof, but few fun features

Smooth, sportingly swift engine is now a lot less "top-endy" than earlier rev-happy VTECs; still most eager beyond 4000rpm, though. Despite lowish overall gearing, CR-V is a refined and deceptively fast cruiser.
  acceleration in seconds through gearsx 3rd gear 4th gear 5th gear
  20-40mph 3.2 5.9 8.5 12.7
  30-50mph 3.6 5.5 8.1 12.1
  40-60mph 4.6 5.6 8.1 12.5
  50-70mph 5.9 6.4 8.3 13.2
  30-70mph 9.5 11.9 16.4 25.3
  max speed in each gear (x using 6750rpm for best acceleration)
     gearx      1stx      2ndx      3rdx      4thx      5th
     speed (mph)      29      57      83      109      111

There's no diesel version to eke out economy, but 30mpg is a fair result on petrol. Caning the engine will cost you, though - the fuel needle drops rapidly. Tank size reasonable and it's an easy filler.
    AA test results (mpg)  
    worst (hard/urban) 21  
    best (gentle/rural) 36  
    overall mpg 30  
    realistic tank capacity 51litres  
    realistic tank range 335miles  
    official figures (mpg)
    urban 24.1
    extra urban 36.7
    combined 31.0
    CO2 emissions 216g/km
    car tax band E

Four discs, ABS, EBD and brake assist give reassuring stops. Front and side airbags, five head restraints and 3-point belts. Whiplash-friendly front seats plus Isofix and top tether for child seats.
  results for 2.0SE, 2002 model year
  from 50mph (with brake assist, EBD and ABS)
front impact     69%
side impact     83%
overall     76%
overall safety rating    
pedestrian rating    
pedal load     stopping distance
unhurried 10kg     31m
sudden 12kg     27m best stop
+4kg ie 16kg     32m ABS on
fade resistance/consistency    
Euro NCAP = European New Car Assessment Programme: independent crash safety tests evaluating protection for occupants and pedestrians in an offset frontal collision, side impacts and pedestrian strike conditions
click here for more NCAP details/test results etc.

Limo-like rear with sliding/reclining seats and masses of legroom. These 60/40 split seats fold (with headrests in situ) to give large cargo area. Boot floor is a picnic table concealing a deep plastic well.
  in centimetres (5-door SUV)
  length 457
  width - including mirrors 206
    - mirrors folded 184
  height (no roof bars) 171
  load sill height (inside/outside) 7/65
  turns lock-to-lock 3.3
  turning circle (metres) 10.8
  easy to park/garage?
  front - legroom 95-108
    - headroom 95-99S
  rear - typical legroom 94*-106
    - typical kneeroom 65*-80
    - headroom 98
    - hiproom 136
  load area(all seats in use)
  load space
(litres/cu ft)
  load length 80-97*
  load length to facia 261
  load width 96-137
  load height (to blind/to top of aperture) 57 97
S with sunroof  * with back seats fully forwards

CR-V's security measures include familiar features such as a roller-blind load cover, visible VIN and locking wheel nuts. There's a rolling-code ECU immobiliser, keyless entry with deadlocks and flush lock knobs. Unauthorised removal of the audio equipment triggers the alarm.
central locking  
remote control  
remote window closing  
alarm (perimeter + interior)   
self-locking (static + drive off)   
two-stage unlocking   
attack-resistant glass   
AA load area security rating
=standard    =option    =not available
NCSR - "theft of" not available
NCSR - "theft from" not available
NCSR = New Car Security Ratings: a 1 to 5 star system which rates anti-theft protection, both of the car itself and the theft of valuables from within the car
Visit for more details
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