Baby Honda has dash of Brio

19 December 2012 - 13:44 By By BOBBY CHEETHAM

Hit hard by the floods in Thailand, a tsunami in Japan and the global recession, Honda has bounced back with the new CR-V launched, belatedly, in South Africa last week.

All of the factors mentioned above had a devastating effect on the company and, as a result its bottom line (profits) took a hammering!

What is it?

The CR-V, one of Honda South Africa's most popular models, is the fourth generation of the sport utility vehicle (SUV), the first generation of which arrived here in 1995.

There are six derivatives: front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models and three engines (petrol and diesel) to choose from.

How does it look?

Much better than the model it replaces. The length has been reduced by 5mm, and the height by 30mm, yet the new vehicle offers the same amount of interior space.

What's it like to drive?

Only two petrol models were available to drive on the launch, the 2.0 Comfort FWD (114kW at 6500rpm, 192Nm torque at 4300rpm) priced at R299900 and the 2.4 Elegance AWD (140kW at 7000rpm and 220Nm of torque at 4300rpm), which sells for R399900.

Obviously the more expensive 2.4 all-wheel-drive model was the better of the two on the road - but that's not to say the smaller front-wheel-drive was not good. The fact it's R100000 cheaper will have a major impact on any thrifty buyer's decision.

Any special features?

We liked the "Econ" button as part of the Eco Assist system. When activated, "Econ" mode alters the mapping of the drive-by-wire throttle system, smoothing throttle inputs for a more relaxing drive and greater fuel efficiency.

In addition, it alters the operation of the cruise control and climate control, allowing for slightly increased variances from the set speed or the set temperature in order to conserve fuel whenever possible. Good move Honda!

Should you buy one?

The new model won't disappoint. A bonus is the front-wheel-drive version, which is an added attraction.