Toying with the idea of SUV
At the end of 2016, I was in search for a new family car, and having previously owned a 2010 Toyota Estima 2.4 Aeras, I didn’t want to get another MPV as options were limited. My MPV options at the time were the Toyota Alphard, Toyota Vellfire, Honda Odyssey, and Nissan Elgrand. I could have gone for a newer Estima, but the newer model’s body style and interior were the same as my old one. With the rising popularity of SUVs, I toyed with the idea of getting an SUV. They offer the practicality of an MPV while boasting rugged looks and high ground clearance allowing you to drive with a full load without worrying about destroying your skirtings and undercarriage. Since I didn’t need 7 seats, nor the space an MPV offers, I decided to get an SUV instead.
I surveyed the SUV market and narrowed down my options. I needed an SUV that was reliable, spacious, practical and had good looks. I was then left to choose between the Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, Mazda CX-5, and Honda CR-V. In 2017, I ended up getting a facelifted Honda CR-V 2.0 2WD in Taffeta White. I chose the Honda CR-V because it seemed like best all-rounder for me. It’s practical, has rugged yet elegant looks at the same, and given that it’s a Honda, I knew I wouldn’t need to worry much about reliability. I chose the 2.0 2WD variant instead of the AWD variants because I didn’t need all-wheel drive, nor did I need to carry full loads all the time, and in the long run, the 2WD model will be more fuel-efficient.
Starting with what I like, the exterior, the wrap-around daytime running lights look cool and give a strong road presence to the car, while the silver lip and chrome touches in the grille, tailgate, windows frames, and fog lamp housings allow the car to have a classy and elegant look despite the overall rugged design. The white HID lights from the factory give great visibility at night, although I find they are too bright in certain situations. The proportions are well balanced, and the doors have a wide opening allowing entry and exit to be effortless.
Interior and Driving Experience
On the inside, the black interior helps hide stains, although scratches show very easily thanks to lots of hard plastics (more on this later). The leather seats are soft yet supportive and comfortable at the same time. There’s a well thought out feature in the trunk which are the one-touch folding seats. By pulling a small leaver, the back seats will tumble down in a single motion revealing a huge cargo space to store whatever you may need to cater for. As for the driving experience, I wouldn’t describe it as thrilling. It has light steering and handling is mediocre. It's more of a “just gets the job done” situation, though I must say the car feels floaty at high speeds. The infotainment is basic, with only a CD, USB, Aux, AM, FM, and Bluetooth options for music. Other than that, the display only shows trip information, reverse camera, and gas mileage because I got the 2.0 litre model. Sound quality is decent, but not great. Sound is sharp and moderately clear, but bass reproduction is poor. There’s a small blue LED mounted on the roof that makes seeing things at night much easier without the need to turn on the cabin lights, and auto wipers are a real treat as well.
Some peeves I have about the Honda CR-V include the lack of automatic headlights. I find it ridiculous that for a car that costs RM140k, it doesn’t come with auto lights. Another negative point is just how small the front passenger footwell is, with a length of only half of what the driver gets, a lot of passengers have complained about the lack of leg room in the front passenger seat. As mentioned before, the driving department is well sorted out, however, even with a full load, at high speeds the car does feel floaty. Although the cabin is well put together, the excessive use of plastics instead of soft touch materials in places such as the upper door panels make the car feel cheap and is a scratch magnet. The 2.0 engine is not fast nor exciting, but it gets the job done, although at times it may feel a bit sluggish, especially when there are more than 3 adults in the car. The infotainment display is a bit small for my liking. Being smaller than my smartphone screen, legibility is poor, and its hard to see details through reverse camera.
Having owned the Honda CR-V for around 3 years now, I can say I’ve had a trouble-free experience with the Honda CR-V. Other than regular maintenance aside I didn’t even need to send the CR-V to the SC for any issues to be resolved. It is reliable, practical, spacious, looks great, and even fuel-efficient, which is all I need for my family car.