Motor Heads Road Test: Honda CRV 2014

The Honda CRV is one of the best selling SUVs in the world, it has been around for a good few years now and a new one is on the way next year. Reviewing cars is always something I love doing but I don’t often get to review a newer model of a car I actually own. So this road test could be considered biased, or you could just consider it very well informed!

My wife keeps horses and as a daily family vehicle capable of dealing with the odd bit of snow, trips to a muddy yard, daily runs full of kids, and their stuff not to mention our dog my 2004 CRV ( base model ) is a triumph. The simplicity and reliability astound me. It has done well over 100,000 miles and barely costs us a thing to run. OK so it’s not the coolest car in the world but it works and it works very well.

Big Brother!?

SUVs

I have a few issues with SUVs in general; it’s not to say I don’t like them, I own one, but I do get a bit confused as to why many other people own one. I will cut to the chase here; I can’t stand the idea of a Chelsea Tractor and the smaller versions that have appeared over the last few years. People buy SUVs with no intention of even trying to use them in a rural or snowy setting, so why bother? I understand people like feeling high up, but these days most of them are almost as low as a car in terms of driving position. But what I really find confusing is why you would buy a 2 wheel drive SUV? I just don’t see the point, but that is not to say there isn’t one, I just don’t see it!

The Test Car : 2014 Honda CRV

So now I have set out my stall as it were, it’s time to look at the specifics. Honda very kindly sent me a 1.6 litre diesel 2 2WD mid to top of the range CRV, and it was very nice indeed! For the purposes of the review I set about pretending the car was 4WD and I found that helped a lot.


2014 Honda CRV : The Engine

The options for the CRV in its current format run from this 1.6 diesel, a 2.2 diesel and a 2.0 petrol engine. When I jumped in this SE model I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much from the 1.6 lump but I was really surprised. First of all, it’s quiet and for me that is a big plus, I hate clattery diesels, I don’t really like diesels full stop but this one certainly did its level best to cosy up to me. As well as being polite and smooth it was also pretty punchy, and I don’t mean just a wad of torque that lasts for 2 seconds then a power curve like a deflated soufflé. I mean it went well, not quick, but well. The power was well spread out, the turbo subtly placed so you didn’t really feel it coming on or off and all in all it is a really well set up little diesel.  Sometimes 0-60 times are important and other times they are not, I feel in an SUV it’s the later but it suffices to say the 1.6 will get you there in a touch over 10 seconds, which is not bad at all! I imagine the 2.2 affair to be even better and as you can only get 4WD in that or the 2.0 litre petrol option it would be the engine for me.

2014 Honda CRV : The Handling

Let’s be honest, you don’t buy and SUV for handling, but then again I didn’t think anyone would buy an SUV to drive to the shops and back so what do I know?! Either way, it is hard for any manufacturer to make a larger, top heavy vehicle handle like a Lotus Exige so it is always important to keep some context in mind. That being said, Honda have done really well again here, the CRV feels well settled and doesn’t have any top heavy body roll you would expect. Clearly it is not a very high car as SUVs go but it’s not the lowest either. Round corners it is predictable; the touch of under steer is comfortable and never gets away from you when you are pushing it in the wet. Even the turn in is positive and that is a surprise for a larger car like this. I would love to now move on to how it performs in mud, snow and floods but sadly I can’t, the weather was damp but decent throughout the test week and I am not sure I would take this version anywhere to extreme anyway. I did however spend some time on some rutted gravel tracks and the ride was excellent, I also had to mount a verge at the horse yard which meant the traction control had to do a bit of work but not much!


2014 Honda CRV : The Looks

When I have a test car I tend to simply ask a few friends and family what they think, it’s an easy thing to do and it helps give me a “real world” impression of how the car is perceived. Quite often I am blinded by personal taste or by a certain factor that prevents me taking the visuals of a car as a standalone factor. The CRV threw up quite a few different comments so the results are inconclusive. Some people simply said it was ugly, but they were in the minority and were generally grumpy folk who owned ugly cars anyway. Personally I liked it; the sturdy look helps give an air of safety and security while still managing to look contemporary. My wife and chums felt very much the same and my mother-in-law is actually about to order one after spending an hour or so in the test car...I will be waiting for some commission on that one...waiting a long long time!

Of course most SUVs don’t try and win beauty contests, it is not about that. I know the Evoque shrugs this idea off and makes no bones about trying to look “cool” but generally if it looks sensible, safe and solid, without looking like some giant plastic car crash like the MK1 Rav 4 then it will sell.

2014 Honda CRV : A Nice Place to Be?

There is no doubt about it, Honda do good interiors. I am not talking about the kind of interiors you find in an Aston or a Merc, a colleague jumped in the test car and immediately compared it to his £90K Mercedes S class and that’s just not fair. This is not a luxury car in that sense, but it is no cheap and cheerful run about either and I think the layout and feel is just right. Good seats, everything where you need it, a great choice of data to monitor on the display and, as always with a Honda, great knobs and dials. I think my only issue would be that getting into this car covered in mud makes you feel bad, it’s too nice, too cosy, and for me the point of an SUV is to go out and get muddy!


Overview of 2014 Honda CRV

Compared to the old version the 2014 CRV is a lot more refined, the interior is less utilitarian, the ride height feels lower and generally it behaves more like a mid to high end car than a working SUV. I think all of this will see it do very well in terms of sales, it is what most people want and as such it does a very good job. I was really impressed by the 1.6 power unit, really impressed, it was also great on fuel. The 2.2 4WD version would certainly be the one I would buy but if you really insist on needing a 2WD SUV then you won’t go far wrong with that version. Prices, as always, range from the decent to the silly, at the top end you are nudging Freelander prices and for some people that will be too much, but the mid range is well balanced. You get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of toys and the car as a whole, but don’t forget, you are also getting Honda reliability and with that comes good second hand prices.

I came into this test very unsure as a big fan of the older model and I left it very impressed.
Motor Heads Road Test: Honda CRV 2014 Motor Heads Road Test: Honda CRV 2014 Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 23, 2015 Rating: 5

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