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Quick test drive: Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V in Sydney, Australia

This is a quick Sydney, Australia test drive series of the best-selling SUVs in the world in preparation for a much more substantial review of the new generation Toyota RAV4. After the unconvincing Nissan X-Trail, we move onto the Honda CR-V launched in August 2017, ranking #9 overall and #4 best-selling SUV in the world in 2018. I visited the Honda Sydney dealership at 4.55pm on a Sunday with not much hope of even speaking with anyone, but as I was waiting outside for the test drive to be organised, no less than 3 different salespeople came to help. Huge thumbs up for you Honda Sydney.

Honda CR-V in Sydney, Australia

The dealership environment is very competitive also with, instead of standard documentation about the lineup, leaflets aiming at demonstrating the superiority of the Honda Civic sedan vs. its main competitors such as the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30. On point. Before taking the wheel of the CR-V, I step inside the Civic which I find cramped and basic. Judging the difference with the CR-V will be interesting because the previous generation RAV4 gave me the impression of a sedan on stilt with no SUV feel whatsoever.

Before the salesperson comes back with the keys I receive an email with T&C’s. Very professional. First impressions inside: the CR-V is not just an SUV variant of the Civic (cue sigh of relief): the interior feels more refined, and even though the touch screen seems to be the same size as the Civic, the surface it occupies on the dash is larger and looks very classy (see above) – not “tacked on” as is the case in many vehicles nowadays. The gearshift positioned on the dashboard gives a general impression of power while being very nimble.

Steering wheel controls including a very innovative sliding scale (top right)

The steering wheel commands manage to be both exhaustive and very intuitive, including a very innovating sliding scale that I had never encountered before. There’s no leather seats or sunroof in the version I tested, the Vtec, but adaptive cruise control that can be activated from 30 km/h upwards but follows the car down to 0 km/h once on, and lane departure assist. A nice touch: when indicating the left part of the touch screen shows the rear view camera. Top this off with a very attractive AUD$39.000 price point for the version I tested (24.100€ or US$27.000) and you have an SUV that is both AUD$7,000 cheaper and a lot more current in its features than the Nissan X-Trail. I’m impressed.

Why is it successful? Very good value for money with current safety features and modern interior.

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