General 5th Generation CR-V 1.5 CVT & Manual Turbo EX Test Drive

Discussion in '5th Generation (2017-)' started by TheDarkKnight, Saturday 6th Oct, 2018.

  1. TheDarkKnight Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    For neutrality, I will not disclose the franchised dealer with whom I took these two test drives.

    Suffice to say, they have done Honda UK proud with their immense professionalism. You know who you are - so thank you!

    But let’s get to the core. I’ve been a critic of the 5th Generation CR-V as its higher sticker price and evolutionary updates didn’t seem all that special to me, especially in the interior.

    The seating in both CVT/Manual transmissions was excellent but then, we know Honda have seat comfort down to an art, so this wasn’t ever in doubt. All the controls logically laid out, very familiar switchgear around the steering wheel, column and seat arrangement.

    The partial dig-dash is a nice touch, but it would have been nice to have seen a full digital display.

    The “stuck on” infotainment system remains a bug bear for me as its not flush with the rest of the dashboard and its compounded by the smaller screen within it for the satnav display – it’s not making the best use of the tablet-like display screen.

    However, it is what it is and it’s the car I’m more concerned with.

    Without question, the 190BHP CVT for me was far more alert and responsive than the lower powered manual.

    The manual seemed better off the lights when pulling away whereas the CVT has a tiny bit, but noticeable hesitation when moving off.

    On the motorway, the CVT is the class leader. Putting your foot down between 60-80mph and 70-90mph, the slick and silent gear movements make it far more comfortable than the manual and noise is greatly reduced. It also feels a lot more “planted” to the road – although this could be because of the heavier weight, but it’s clearly a big plus point in my eyes.

    At cruise, the CR-V feels effortless. CVT engine is a bit noisy at idle, but this might have been more down to the fact that the engine was stone cold and hadn’t been driven in over 24 hours. The manual transmission wasn’t as clattery or noisy.

    But once warmed up, it’s difficult to tell the noise level difference.

    Both cars were riding on the standard 19-inch wheels/tyres and they absorbed the God-awful British roads better than the 18 inchers I have on my CR-V. In fact. The suppleness was really good – it reminded me of how the Accord used to be.

    The head up driver display – this will split opinions. It looks nice, functional – but it does nothing different that the instruments in front of you – so what’s the point? I don’t know. Yes, it’s a nice toy to have, but do I need it? Not really. Plus, the thickness of the glass makes it more susceptible to glare from the sun and I found that a hindrance, not a help.

    The cabin seems more like the Civic from a “cocooned” perspective – the windshield has less slope to it and possible less surface area, making turning out from corners on a blind bend tricky – but the big windows on the side, like the current CR-V help make up for that.

    Being the 5-seater, the boot/trunk is far more useful. I saw the SR model with 7-seats and it is the stupidest thing I have seen. Had Honda lengthened the wheelbase, it would have made sense, but on first glance, I can’t see how even kids will be comfortable.

    Fuel economy I can’t speak to because I was only in the car for less than a day. A longer more meaningful test drive is planned so I can see what it’s like. But the engineering quality in the chassis is evident and the car handles really well.

    Obviously, the EX top spec pushes close to £37k or more depending on options, but having now driven both, I think I can finally get past the tablet on the dashboard. But I think I will wait it out for more stock to arrive to help depress pricing. I’m not prepared to pay what Honda are asking – it’s just far too much.

    To sum up – this is a really lovely car to drive in CVT guise. Will I change?

    Definitely. But in 2019.
    Last edited: Saturday 6th Oct, 2018
    Racy Jace, Ichiban and Nels like this.
  2. Nels Club Moderator Club Staff

  3. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Ed Wiltshire
    I've been to look at - but not drive - the new CR-V this afternoon. It's a practical thing, and I rather like the digital dash and HUD. However, they've really let themselves down with the interior IMHO. Some of the plastics feel really cheap, especially around the gearstick. Also, hard plastics on the doors at the back but not the front? Fine...but NOT on a £37k car!

    The wood finish that I liked so much in the photos actually looks and feels terrible in the flesh, and no surprise that the dealer tells me Honda are already offering a replacement silver finish for those that don't like the plastic wood.

    Finally, the leather drivers seat on the EX demonstrator I looked at was already 'baggy.' Nice car, but for me the interior didn't feel special or expensive enough. I was quite surprised tbh, especially as so many manufacturers including 'competitors' like Audi and even Lexus do interiors so well. Honda must know how important perceived quality is.

    Feels like penny pinching and an opportunity missed.
  4. TheDarkKnight Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


    I echo your sentiments re cabin quality. I've spoken about this several times before.

    I will do a proper write up on the interior tomorrow as I havent really touched on that yet. But I do NOT disagree with a word you've said.
    FirstHonda likes this.
  5. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Ed Wiltshire
    I just can't understand Honda's pricing policy. At £37/38k for a top spec, they are just too expensive considering the interior quality - well, perceived quality - and that's before the hybrid is even launched which will be more expensive.

    So, far more expensive than mainstream options from Toyota, Ford, Renault where I feel Honda should be using their reputation for reliability to compete. I'm sorry, but the new CR-V is the same price (roughly) as my Lexus NX Luxury...which remember is already a 2.5 litre petrol/hybrid. Spec is comparable, and while the NX isn't (quite) as practical, the interior really is a thing of beauty.

    Add in that most people buy new cars on PCPs these days, and the fact that Honda is 'offering' a 6.9% interest rate - which is miles adrift of the competition who are at either 0% or 3.9% - and unless they start discounting aggressively I just can't see how the new CR-V makes sense. To put it simply, buying the CR-V EX 1.5 petrol would cost me about £3k more over three years than my Lexus, and the Lexus has better predicted residuals.

    Madness. Cut £5k off the basic list price and the CR-V would make sense, but I fear most customers will look at the interiors in Audi, Volvo and other premium competitors, realise they can get them cheaper on a PCP and then - very rationally - buy one of them instead!
    TheDarkKnight likes this.
  6. TheDarkKnight Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    I echo @FirstHonda ’s every word on pricing and quality.

    The centre console, door cards and glovebox have average looking plastics, which is a shame because the top of the dashboard etc is very high quality – leather if I am not mistaken.

    I found the leather in the seats very good, but certainly NOT better than that of the 4th Generation I have. Again, it’ll be individual perceived quality.

    The side plastic mouldings on the lower exterior door trims is also very cheap looking and cheap to touch. Sure, its functional to stop debris damage but for a car close to £40k, its not nice to look at. Its almost like an afterthought.

    But as pointed out above by @FirstHonda, there will be folks who look at say, Audi interiors, and think that that’s more value for money even if they don’t have all the toys like the CR-V. And finance rates will appeal as well.

    The PCP at 6.9% is another kettle of fish from a financial standpoint, but at the price that Honda is asking for the top spec, it just isn’t worth it and the residuals will only get worse as more stock/inventory builds up.

    At sub-£28k after six months or so for a used/demo car makes more sense. Even better if the price is lower.

    I’ve been told the CR-V Hybrid will break the £40k barrier. No thanks!

    I’d stick to the petrol. Just as the world has turned on diesel, they’ll soon turn on the faux-green hybrid too. Mark my words.

    In reality, this new CR-V is about £7-9k overpriced. Don’t get me wrong, having now driven it here, it has won me over enough to want to buy it next year.

    However, I won't be paying anything near what Honda want for it.

    Not a chance.
  7. BargainBob New Member Getting Started

    Well done for a good review.
    I am currently a Sportage owner who has been avidly waiting for this 5th Generation CR-V to arrive in the UK. My plan has been to buy one early in 2019.
    However I am still very concerned about the ongoing problems that many early owners across the world (mainly US, Canada & China)
    regarding engine oil dilution, for which in those countries, Honda have still not found a solution. I know Honda UK have stated to journalists that it
    it is only a problem in cold climates and that it has been fixed for cars coming to the EU, however that is not the impression you get if you follow ongoing
    articles from the US/Canada.
    Oil Dilution | Honda Problems
    As someone who intends to keep my car well beyond the warranty period, it is something that needs careful consideration.
    I will be interested to hear of other views from the forum.
  8. TheDarkKnight Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Yes the engine/oil dilution affects all 1.5 Turbo engines, so thats also the Civic and possibly Jazz included in that as well although I havent specifically done any digging into myself.

    What I have noticed though is that the last of the line 4th Generation CR-V's (like mine) are available for really good prices. Especially the diesels which everyone is now avoiding like the plague.

    While the 5th Generation isnt a whole lot visually different to the 4th Generation, for me, I liked the handling and poise. I suspect lower trim models like the SE which have 18 inchers will ride even better. Sadly there wasnt an SE model for me to drive so I can't compare. The SR is also riding on 18s as well.

    Depending on the model, I really don't think Honda will want pricing to be too depressed, even for used models - with that in mind, I'd be happy to wait until this time next year if it made financial sense to do so. With any luck, the low demand for CR-Vs will ultimately force Honda's hands and that will be the time to bite.
  9. Racy Jace Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom Jason Dudley, UK
    Great review Saj . I just did a quick Google and the 190bhp version sounds like my perfect car. Slighlty better MPG than im getting now and it is so much quicker too. Its a shame It wilI take so long for me to be able to afford one though.:Sorry:. I also noticed the new CR-V has a boot size of 560L where my older 2013 has 590L. I'm guessing the idea is to shrink the car to save on weight I guess? Either way, it looks like I've found my next car:Wink:
    andy83 likes this.
  10. Lone Star Junior Member ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    The experience described above by @First Honda pretty much mirror my own thoughts after test drive a few weeks ago, and I’ve come to a similar conclusion - I’ll probably buy one, but maybe in six months time when I see how things develop.

    I’m interested in the comment about the “silver” replacement for the tacky fake wood trim. Is this available now? And can it be specified or will it have be purchased as a “dealer-fit” part?
  11. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Ed Wiltshire
    From what the dealer told me, the silver interior trim will be a dealer fit option.
    andy83 likes this.
  12. agadza Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    United Kingdom Agadza London
    I looked at one today; the salesman was doing his best to sell the strong points of the car (this was an AWD version).
    I thought there was too much plastic in the interior. And history has shown that Honda interiors do not wear well. Lots of the usual techy features that you would expect, but the over-riding sentiment was one of penny-pinching in areas where Honda thought they could get away with it combined with lots of quality features that they think drivers might love. Possibly too much input from the marketing team?
    Anyway, the competition is quite strong in the SUV market these days and I think Honda might just have fallen a few steps short of the top end with this car.
    Nighthawk likes this.
  13. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    United Kingdom Ed Wiltshire
    Seems like my initial view is shared by CarWow. Oh dear...

  14. Duc de Pommfrit Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    Canada Chester Northumberland
    Not sure I could live with that back end!