Long term test, Part 2: Honda CR-V Sport 7
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Honda CR-V Sport 7
- Fits a family of five with ease
- Good economy on the motorway
- Honda Sensing radar cruise!
- Can get a touch thirsty
- Gearbox drones under power
- Soft ride sometimes overly soft
We’re not deluded enough to think an appliance white (OK, it’s officially Premium White Pearl) Honda CR-V sparks motoring excitement. But when life progresses and the family expands, an SUV is likely on the shopping list, and there are some brands and models that spark a little more excitement for different reasons.
The Honda CR-V Sport 7 is unique in the four-model range, as the only seven-seater.
And with a $49k price-tag for a known and trusted badge and those seven seats, there’s some real appeal in the CR-V – which is why we set a mission of simply having some fun in a family car to prove that you might have to lean towards a practical car, but it won’t stop the fun from flowing.
So with this in mind, combined with a pre-emptive strike of the “I’m bored” chant, during the Christmas break we loaded up our three kids and headed towards Manukau for a day of family fun at NZ’s most iconic fun park, Rainbow’s End.
In these often stressful times, it’s the little things that make family life a little more endearing rather than enduring. Like the rear doors that almost open out to 90 degrees: not exciting, but very practical and appreciated.
Like the ISOFIX mounting points in the second row make slotting in booster seats easy, and there’s also an automatic ratchet function on the belt for child seats that use the seat-belt as the primary source of restraint. Once the belt is fed through the seat, and tightened, at a specific distance, it “locks” into place. Which is great for keeping a capsule in place without the belt slackening off – the downside is, however, for a child in a booster seat, it can sometimes “catch” in the wrong place, and requires a full seat-out release. It’s not just Honda, either, we’ve noticed this good/bad feature with other cars.
While our 2yo has his capsule seat, we like to split up our five- and eight-year olds to, er, minimise the headaches during travel, so we flipped the second row seat forward and up for access to the third row, a process that can be done one-handed via two separate straps – and can be secured via a strap to the B-pillar if required. The second row seat also slides fore-aft, giving a little more room where it’s needed.
Cup-holders everywhere – 10 in total for the Sport 7 – certainly help keep kids happy, with two pop-up bars and storage bins in the third row, along with a roof-mounted rear AC system offering fan- speed and four vents to feed the rear quarters.
Loaded up with the family of five, the Hamilton-Auckland-Hamilton round-trip saw around 7.5l/100km of mostly motorway running and largely traffic-free holiday roads, with the AC pumping and the only adverse comment related to the droning from the engine/CVT gearbox when climbing the Bombay Hills or when needing a burst of speed to overtake.
The ride quality is also on the softer side, which means a great compliant drive 99 per cent of the time, but on big bumps and/or when loaded it does sit noticeably lower, and can sometimes bottom-out on big bumps.
After a day of rainbow fun, on the Stratosfear and Fearfall and introducing our 2yo boy to Family Karts and the Log Flume, back to the carpark, the Honda keyfob’s double-press of the unlock button drops all four windows and opens the sunroof to purge the superheated summer air, and with three exhausted kids and two similarly drained parents, we set the active cruise control for a relaxing drive home.
Kids being kids though, they soon wanted to know the next adventure, so a few days later we were loading up all three in the second row (just fitting) and squeezing two kids’ bikes and a balance bike into the rear of the CR-V, with the third row dropped. Not quite a flat-floor, this helped a little in the game of bicycle Tetris, and with just a hint of wheel overhead of the second row, the Avantidrome’s Bike Skills Park proving a great place to burn up some more energy and get used to the new Xmas bikes.
The appeal of the 110km/h speed limits on the way to the venue is also part of the fun.
And as if the kids weren’t spoiled enough (all in lieu of going away somewhere this year, I should add) a few days later we were down to Rotorua for some Skyline luge races and some more fun with the 8yo/5yo girls experiencing a wet and wild Zorb downhill run for the first time.
Exiting the ball like drowned rats, a towel off and the advantage of the weather-durable seats in the CR-V meant minimal headaches or hassles on the way home.
And that’s the way it ought to be; until the fun continues next time.
HONDA CR-V SPORT 7
ENGINE: 1.5-litre petrol turbo four-cyl VTEC
GEARBOX: CVT, FWD
PROS: Fits a family of five with ease, good economy on the motorway, Honda Sensing radar cruise!
CONS: Can get a touch thirsty, gearbox drones under power, ride sometimes overly soft