Long-term test, Part 1: Honda CR-V Sport 7
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Honda CR-V Sport 7
Good value for seven seats
Well equipped safety & tech
It's literally brand new!
A bit bland, esp. in white
CVT can drone under power
1000kg tow rating (other CR-Vs 1500kg)
Think Honda, and what car comes next? Civic, NSX and Integra Type R and all rank up there in popular opinion. Maybe Accord, or Honda’s dominant Marlboro 1980s Formula 1 race cars of Senna and Prost? Can’t forget the S2000 either… maybe something quirky like a Honda Beat, or the ageing but iconic CRX.
All of these cars are icons for the brand, but can you name all five badges in the current Honda range? Unless you’re a Honda dealer, we’d guess possibly not.
Comparatively and anecdotally speaking, the Honda CR-V barely gets any relative love. Now in its 26th year and fifth generation, the current face-lifted model that we have in 2021 continues to show longevity, but what’s exciting about a CR-V? Exactly. And that’s largely our point – it’s hardly alone in the category of efficient but unexciting medium SUVs, but we want to change that, after considering that while a Civic Type R is great for a fling, the kids and shopping would be happier in something a little more practical. But that doesn’t mean life has to end, either.
We considered that the CR-V is worth a closer look and a little more time. With a starting price of $40,990 for the CR-V Touring, the four-model range peaks at $52,990 for the AWD Sport Premium – we’ve elected to spend a few months getting to know the only seven-seater in the range, the $48,990 Sport 7.
All variants run the same 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo petrol four-cylinder that’s quite happy to sip 91 octane and claim 7.3-7.4l/100km of economy. All CR-Vs feature the Honda Sensing range of electronic driver and safety aids – including Adaptive Cruise Control, Low Speed Follow and Lane Departure Warning, among more active safety features like LaneWatch Camera and Trailer Stability Assist.
Other tech includes a three-angle reversing camera with dynamic parking aid, plus front and rear sensors, remote window operation and automatic walk-away door locking.
Not forgetting the passive niceties such as 10 cupholders (in the Sport 7), and the conversation mirror that pops down from the sunglasses holder in the roof.
We’ll spend a few months with a mix of motorway and suburban miles to see how the claims stack up in the real world, both for normal commuting and with a load up to the capacity of seven, and see how the gearbox fares… are you ready for its full title? The EarthDreams Automatic Continuously Variable Transmission with G-Design shift; let’s just call it a CVT.
Auckland | Wairau Valley
$156.09 p/w $624.37 p/m
As the medium sized but largest SUV in the Honda range, CR-V is larger than its HR-V sibling, but slots just under the Odyssey people mover, so it has plenty of strong-selling competition: Toyota’s RAV4, Kia’s Sportage, Mitsubishi’s Outlander, Hyundai’s Tucson, and Nissan’s X-Trail to name just a few.
What does the Honda offer as USPs? That’s what we plan to discover over the coming when as we rack up the kilometres in our appliance-white NAB197. But more than that, we want to showcase some adventure and excitement in what could be considered is a rather sedate SUV: call it ‘Fun in a Family Car’; from Summer fun activities, to road trips and whatever excitement we can find that suits five or more.
Along the way we’ll take a detailed look at the standard features, how they work, relate and operate, and how good it is day-to-day and to live with longer than our standard seven-day loan period.
Pick-up day is always exciting, and though DRIVEN tests ‘new’ cars all the time, we don’t often drive a car out of the showroom that’s literally brand new – so it was as much a thrill for us to see our white CR-V parked in the Honda Cars Newmarket showroom, ready and waiting alongside some other often-changing Honda icons – today it was the yellow first-gen Civic.
With just 10km on the odo, we hit the keyless start button for the first time, and then a Honda driver jumps in to carefully steer it out the narrow glass doors and onto the forecourt for some hero shots in front of the Honda branding... and so starts out time with the CR-V Sport 7.
But before we sign off from part one, a fun challenge: we’ve named four of the five Honda badges in the current range in this story; can you name the missing one?
Before we answer that, we'll add that we've set the electric seat and mirror positions and saved them in the memory slot, which will be particularly handy for us, with a few different drivers, and we plan to take the CR-V to some fun parks, car and family fun - and maybe even a lap time or two for the hell of it.
Answer: it’s the Honda Jazz, which sits alongside the Civic, CR-V, HR-V and Odyssey. So for now, for us, we have a few months to get to know the Honda CR-V Sport 7, and have some fun!
2020 Honda CR-V Sport 7
ENGINE: 1.5-litre petrol turbo four-cyl VTEC
GEARBOX: CVT, FWD