Honda C-RV 1.5T

Fine downsized turbo power makes C-RV pop

We never expected to keep our CR-V 1.5T Elegance  test unit for close to two months, but then hey, who was ever expecting not to even be able to drive through these astounding past few weeks? We’d only had it for a few days when Cyril shut the place down, but that proved to be quite a bonus in the end.

So we did not get to drive terribly far all in one go, but Honda’s quite surprising smooth-riding downsized turbo SUV proved one of our lockdown pleasures whenever we had to get all masked up to go shopping or on some urgent errand that warranted us being out.

First things first, this 1.5 turbo petrol nicked out of the Civic fits the C-RV like a glove. It makes its hatch sibling hot and adds just as impressively to the SUV to take it from just another face in the school parking lot crowd, to something quite special. 

Not only is power and torque up quite dramatically, but fuel economy is significantly improved and that quarter improvement in real world range is perhaps an even bigger take home boast than the late-eight second to 100 performance. The torquey little turbo also makes that 7-speed CVT trannie pop compared to the lazy old 1.8 atmo lump, so much so that we’ve forgotten out lust for a normal automatic option.

CR-V has always been a great all-rounder – it’s a Honda after all and before they even slipped this new engine under the bonnet, it was pretty well stacked with feisty MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension, pleasant road holding and cornering. 

They told us its improved insulation, liquid-filled bushings and low-friction dampers with tubular stabiliser bars in front and solid stabiliser bars at the rear for better cornering and variable-ratio electric power steering makes for a positive feel at any speed on launch and all this one did was to remind us about that all over again.. 

It's a pleasant car to live with, even though its basic spec lacks some trinkets we’ve become accustomed to even in cheaper cars. There are also a few annoying traits like silly unlocking logic and an infotainment screen that demands you remind it that you are driving before it shows you anything. D’uh.

But it’s a cool cabin with nice big open spaces both overall and in convenient goodie and storage. Not everyone was convinced by C-RV’s looks and the colour also divided opinion – I love the hue but find the styling odd, while the misses was not hot on the colour but big on the looks. Horses for courses.

All in all, Honda’s 1.5 turbo petrol engine totally transforms the C-RV into a car you may actually want for your family. It’s not cheap in this fair flagship spec, but it does pack a brilliant warranty and back-up and it’s a Honda after all. Certainly worth a look if you are after a truly competent all-rounder.

It’s a most advanced, spacious and sophisticated compact SUV that we can give you a Covid-19 lockdown certificate of compliance for! - Michele Lupini

Images – Marcella Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Honda CR-V 1.5T Elegance AWD 
Engine: 140kW 240Nm 11.5-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 7-step CVT FWD
0-60km/h: 4.64 sec
0-100km/h: 8.87 sec   
0-160km/h: 23.86 sec
400m: 16.8 sec @ 133km/h
80-120km/h: 6.72 sec
120-160km/h: 12.90 sec       
VMax:      200km/h 
Fuel: 7.0 l/100km
CO2: 167 g/km
Warranty/Service: 5y 200K/5y 90Kkm
RATED:           8