Saturday, September 23, 2017
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Driving the 'sevens'

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The sevens have arrived in Tauranga.

It has nothing to do with rugby or costume parties in the stands. This time it’s all about a new look and feel for Honda’s CR-V range.

 

 

For the first time there is now a seven-seater CR-V carrying the Honda badge. It puts the CR-V 2WD Sport 7 Turbo in a different class and a different market. For Honda it’s a game-changer.

“Okay, so what do I do with seven seats?”

That’s likely to be the first question potential owners ask themselves before they take the steering wheel of the new Honda CR-V for a test drive.

For those who are in the market for a seven-seater (2-3-2 configuration), it’s an easy question to answer if you consider the simple benefits of the extra seating space for big family driving.

Drivers can take a car full of young soccer players to the school game or lay the back seats down and have extra luggage space. Or maybe just fill the car for everyone to go to the rugby.

There is always a way to find a use for extra seating for big families or for those planning to have one. When you have seven seats to fill, owners will find a way.

 

 

Pushing the right buttons

As any test drive unfolds there is a simple question to answer; does this hit the right buttons. Does it feel ‘right’?

The Honda CR-V’s buttons can literally be the interior controls, or the extra pep of the 1.5L turbo engine or the feel of the car on the road.

The answers to these and other questions reveals the complex equation that goes into modern car form and function. It also points out all cars are built to specific psychographic requirements. It comes down to picking priorities that match the needs of the driver, from the way it drives to the way it sounds.

So who is the fifth generation Honda CR-V aimed at? That’s simple; the people who have asked for it. The seven-seat option is one for the family, but the turbo is one for the driver in that family.

And it is the combination of functionality and sportiness that makes this such a fun ride. It’s not likely to scare the non-driver in the house, but there is enough pep to make this a fun drive on Takitimu Drive for the enthusiast who wants just a bit more than a standard people mover.

It is responsive without being aggressive and has a superb feel on the road with minimal body roll and a solid and stable on road stance. Does it feel ‘right’? You betcha!

 

 

Fitting like a Honda glove

One of the most obvious points to consider is the ergonomics of the ride. How does it feel ‘in hand’? The answer to that, is ‘like a glove’.

The slightly forward positioning of the standard centre console location auto shifter has it located in an ideal driver position. The paddles for manual shifting were positioned down and behind the steering wheel, allowing for very simple shifting that’s both tactile and immediate. The on-screen display is positioned for all to see and has the benefit of being intuitive, simple and easy to use.

The positioning of the tactile controls makes for an easy driving experience compared to others that require drivers to undertake a diploma in car management from their local private training provider.

The Honda CR-V designers really got this one right, down to and including the simple functionality of moving and adjusting seat positioning and ride height. It’s these small details that go towards comfort and a fun to drive (and own) experience. It also goes some way to identifying the overall personality of the car.

Add in ample console storage space located between the front seats and it feels like Honda has thought very carefully about the basic needs of driving and getting the small details in the right place.

Under the hood

Honda has updated both the powertrain and the chassis design of the CR-V range.

The CR-V features Honda’s first ever turbocharged engine, described as being a more powerful and fuel efficient 1.5L, direct-injected and turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder powerplant rated at 142kw of power with 243 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting and sporty continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Honda G-Shift control logic. The new more powerful turbo engine and transmission combine to improve fuel economy.

Connectivity

The CR-V offers the latest in vehicle connectivity, including a 7-inch touchscreen featuring Advanced Display Audio with in-built navigation and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – all features with user-friendly benefits to those who have their music on mobile devices.

Out on the road

The overall feel of the ride is one that is rock solid stable. It is free of body roll and has enough pep coming from the turbo to push the ride along quickly and confidently.

One particularly useful trick in the arsenal of on-screen displays is that the screen comes on when you indicate to change lanes, providing a rear view of traffic behind. It’s a very useful feature that was surprising on first sight, but soon became a quick glance behind to see what was there before changing lanes.

A superb aspect of the seated position is the sense of having a wider-than-usual field of view. There is an expanse in from of the driver’s seat and it makes for a more connected sense with the road, with hazards and other cars in the field of view.

Honda has got the ergonomics, functionality and ride superbly balanced in the Honda CR-V Sport 7. This is a car with a friendly personality that will welcome, surprise and even entertain families big or small.

 

Specs

Engine: 1.5L DOHC VTEC Turbo Engine

Output: 142kw/243Nm

Transmission: CVT

Price $44,900 plus $795 ORC


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