Buying a c is more than just handing over cash, it’s really all about buying a life style. Even people who don’t consider themselves car people want to spend their money wisely. We’ve all heard people say “I just want a vehicle that gets me from A to B” but that’s a load of old cobblers. Give them a chance to ride in a Roller or a Merc and they’d be dressed and ready quick as a flash. They will buy the best their budget stretch to because few of us would buy an Up! if we can afford a V8 Vantage. The same is true of SUVs. Most of our fraternity like a car, but have little interest in anything more than the price and the pretty things which come included. And, by pretty things, I don’t mean the salesman. It has to look right.
I’ve often wondered what makes a boy buy an SUV. Surely a sexy sports wagon with AWD is more practical? One third of all vehicles sold are SUV’s of one kind or another. Jeep Wranglers received a shameless plug from the UK’s “Queer As Folk”. “Queer As Folk” I always thought was a play on Queer As FU*K, but in fact is an old Welsh saying “There’s nowt so queer as folk” meaning there is nothing as strange as people, and SUV buyers are a strange lot. Ask them why they bought their vehicle and I doubt they will be able to tell you.
We’ve driven many SUVs over the years and there is no doubt some drive better than others, especially on the road. This is my point: most SUVs will only ever be driven on the road. Can you picture most queens up to their navels in mud? Actually, so can I. Who doesn’t love a wet Tshirt?
Honda released their CRV with a petrol engine, however, filling most tanks costs about the same as your first born, so a diesel sister has joined the family. The good thing about CRV’s is they won’t scare a driver who is more used a conventional car. The CRV drives like a car, albeit a higher, slightly bulkier one. I love Honda engines and their new diesels carry on that fine tradition. The petrol models cost from 27 grand but the diesels start at $38,000 and roll on to over $45,000. Is it worth the extra? Sure, if you just have to have a diesel. There is oodles of chug thanks to the masses of torque and the manual is delightful to use. The clutch has just the right amount of take-up and is easy to use for those who want a manual but don’t want ankles like mally-roots.
To help navigate the minefiled that is Car-Buying, here are a few answers to oft’ asked questions:
Q: Why do people like their SUV’s?
A: Most say it makes them feel safer. They also like sitting very high. Sitting higher means there is a good view from way up there. The girls doing the school run often park 2 and 3 abreast (not the happiest turn of phrase) so sitting high hasn’t helped them be anything other than annoying. They can spot parking spots from up there, they just can’t be bothered trying to park in them
Q: Is driving an SUV like driving a car?
A: Not in some cases. SUVs fall into a few categories, not that most of us really care. A true off-roader will have massive off-road-ready wheels with thick rutted tyres making a breeze of off-roading. As soon as you hit bitumen, driving is a chore. Jeep Wranglers for example, will tackle the toughest of conditions but battles to feel at home on the road. A CRV on the other hand is not a true 4WD (4 wheel drive) but rather an AWD (all wheel drive). An AWD moves power to various wheels automatically and doesn’t have hi/low ranges. Hi/low allows 4WD to scale very steep inclines as well as engine braking on downward treks. It does fancy things with hubs so at least 1 wheel will grip even the other aren’t playing nice.
AWD’s are usually built on the same platform as the similarly sized sedan from the same car maker. Suspension and steering are carried over from the sedans making the AWD more like a high-set sports-wagon, rather than a big butch off-roading 4 wheel drive like a Land Rover.
Q: Are SUV’s safer?
A: than what?
Q: Do they cost more to run than a normal car?
A: Usually, yes. Usually they are larger and because they sit higher will use more fuel. With more metal they usually weight more too. That is a generalisation though. The diesel CRV is stupidly economical at a claimed 5.9L/100k. For a change we found the actual figures not too far shy of the mark. Honda do a great engine so this isn’t really a shock. Now, will Honda PLEASE put a turbo on the god-damned petrol engines?
Q: Is the CRV comfortable?
A: Yes. As comfy as a Civic or Euro.
Q: How about the tech stuff?
A: It’s true that Honda had neglected the touchy-feely bits. Boys love knobs to play with and there is no point trying to pretend otherwise. The infotainment system is now easy to use, and is integrated with aux buttons on the steering wheel, USB and AUX inputs, and Bluetooth®™. There is a reversing camera, which should be mandatory on all cars, as well as beepy things for straying too close to walls.
Although the cabin is well designed, the midlife update will hopefully see the new HondaLink and other tasty goodies installed. For the time being, there is enough to be going on with.
Q: How is the build quality?
A: It’s a Honda dude!
Q: Does it make you feel special?
A: Not exactly, this isn’t that kind of car. It does what it does well. It’s comfy and fairly economical. There is bags of room with enough for a sensible sized lad to have a nap with the rear seats folded down. You can load the rear full to the brim making weekends away a doddle, even it you want to take the village bike with you.
Q: Would I buy one?
A: yes, if I ever found myself in the market for a soft roader. I’d only consider an AWD or 4WD SUV though. Most car makers are bringing their SUVs out with only rear wheel or front wheel drive. I see no point to that at all and would simply buy a less expensive wagon were that the case.
“Bigger on the inside, Smaller on the outside” is the claim made by Honda. Unlike some claims this one seems to be true. It’s been shrunk 20mm in height and 30mm in length. Of course length is usually where it counts but CRV feels as big inside as the previous model, if not a smidge bigger.
For those of us who contemplate charismatic cosy country cottages, there is 170mm of ground clearance, so as not to become bogged in the driveway. No weekend should be ruined by bad design and although I didn’t have such a cottage of my very own, there is one I can borrow. This means we did get the chance to make sure an average bloke won’t embarrass himself, by being blokey. There’s an appealing Tonka Toy look about the new CRV which will be exactly what the demographic will want and she looks good bumping down a mountain-top country lane.
“The next day we are back in those narrow lanes with overhanging trees. We are heading out for a day’s antiquing. As if in a nod to the change of season, a brilliantly coloured red leaf dropped through the open sunroof to the squeals of excitement of those in the rear seat. We broke the day up by lunching at a smart café which has taken up residence in an old garage in Leura. As we sat down at our table a bloke sitting a metre away said “Hey mate, is that the new Honda? It’s not too shabby is it?” And with that my opinion was cemented.
At the end of the day all you really want from a car is that is looks good, is value for money and will last, the rest is icing on the cake. The CRV is a good package. Would I have one? Yes, if I was in the market for a compact SUV. “
Honda CR-V DTi-S manual – $38,290
Honda CR-V DTi-S auto – $40,590
Honda CR-V DTi-L auto – $45,340