Honda’s ever-popular CR-V has been completely redesigned this year, carefully refining a formula that has made this crossover SUV a favorite among customers around the world. Now in its sixth generation, the mechanical improvements are incremental from a global perspective, but in the Philippines, the presence of a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder VTEC Turbo and a 2.0-liter e:HEV hybrid drivetrain significantly change the character of this crossover SUV. In addition, the 2024 Honda CR-V also places greater emphasis on driving dynamics, which for this generation, is setting benchmarks in the segment.
Honda’s Electrification Flagbearer
With that in mind, you’re probably most keen to find out how the 2024 Honda CR-V performs with the hybrid drivetrain. If there’s one word to describe this engine, that would be smooth. I’ve comprehensively reviewed the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, but in Honda’s application, I found the 2.0-liter to be better executed. As with all hybrids, the two electric motors fill in the deficiencies of the gasoline engine, but Honda’s application seems to operate more smoothly in how it operates the two powetrain sources–especially when at a stop.
More amazing is the fact that in terms of power delivery, there’s more exhilaration in the CR-V. Whereas the Toyota Hybrid System’s e-CVT holds the revs under hard acceleration, the Honda e:HEV system simulates gear changes, so there’s no engine droning to speak of. Combined with the 2.0-liter i-VTEC motor’s sound (some of which is fake synthetic noise, by the way), it’s also the more acoustically tuned of the two. Lastly, even when hammering the CR-V through mountain passes, there’s no way to catch the e:HEV hybrid system off guard. It’s really that well-tuned.
But What About That Turbo?
However, the P2,590,000 asking price of the range-topping RS e:HEV might be too much for most people. And no, you won’t recuperate the extra cost of the hybrid with its fuel efficiency (which is excellent, mind you, at 19-26 km/l). Therefore, with the 380 units that Honda has sold so far since its launch in September, most went for the 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo. This engine is what’s also found in the Civic and formerly, the Accord, and it’s a small turbo engine that we love.
This engine produces 190 horsepower and 240 Nm of torque. With this engine being fitted under a ton of Hondas globally, you can bet that the Japanese automaker has perfected this engine at this point. Small engines are very much dependent on boost to generate their power, but that boost pressure comes in at just the right time in order to deliver power naturally and in a linear progression as opposed to explosively delivering it and overwhelming the vehicle. That CVT, however, simulates gear changes at light throttle applications, but treating it like a sports car will fill the cabin with the drone of the engine.
As for fuel economy, the turbo is expectedly thirstier than the RS e:HEV, but with its fuel economy ranging anywhere from 8-14 km/l, that’s still very good for the class.
Balanced, Yet More Engaging
Regardless of which engine you choose, though, the 2024 Honda CR-V perfectly nails the driving dynamics part. Whereas I found the past two generations to be focused too much on comfort that it pretty much makes the driving experience dull, the new CR-V brings back some of that Honda flair in terms of sportiness. I’d still prefer the Mazda CX-5 or even the CX-60 if sportiness were to be concerned, but the CR-V is in a close second.
The steering is very direct and responsive, with a decent amount of road feel and precision to let you know where to point the vehicle when going through twisties. At the same time, chassis tuning is excellent. As with every new car, the rigidity of the structure is always improved, and in this case, the new CR-V feels rock solid–even when opting for the RS e:HEV with its panoramic sunroof. There’s barely a shake or a vibration to rattle the experience or upset the handling. It’s also worth noting though that the RS e:HEV feels a tiny bit grippier due to its Dunlop Sport Maxx tires versus the V and VX’s Micheling Primacy tires.
Likewise, the suspension tuning is top-notch. The long travel suspension allows for plenty of room for compression, and at the same time, the suspension is just right in its damping. It’s not too stiff that the ride becomes jittery, nor too soft to make the car feel unwieldy through corners or undulations. In short, the CR-V’s handling and comfort is perfectly balanced, but with more of that sportiness this time that we’ve missed from past CR-Vs.
If there’s one shortcoming though, that would be the road noise. It’s not terrible, but relative to the segment, most of the competition is better at suppressing tire noise. Wind and engine noise, however, is well suppressed, so overall, the CR-V still offers a serene experience.
Evolution, Not Revolution
The 2024 Honda CR-V won’t be breaking any design barriers with this sixth-generation model. There’s nothing inherently wrong with how it looks, but there’s nothing amazing about it, either. By simply evolving as opposed to revolutionizing the previous generation model’s looks, the new CR-V looks more timeless–one that will still look good 10 years down the line. Also, thanks to these refinements, the CR-V has already carved out its own design identity in the segment. Or you could probably mistake it for a Volvo XC60 from behind due to how the LED taillights are designed.
Speaking of which, LED lighting all around the vehicle is standard across all models, along with 18-inch wheels. The RS e:HEV does improve upon that formula with body-colored cladding along with the same wheels but painted in black. There are two exhaust pipes on both models, but in the RS e:HEV, only the right side is the real exhaust pipe.
As for the interior, there’s going to be a strong sense of deja vu once you sit inside the new CR-V. This time, however, it’s not deja vu from the previous CR-V, but with the current Civic. It might be unimaginative from a design perspective, but that familiarity means an interior that’s typically Honda–very intuitive and second nature to operate. It certainly helps that the materials used are plush, while the knobs and buttons are solid and satisfyingly clicky to operate.
Space and practicality has always been a Honda hallmark, and the new CR-V is no exception. There’s plenty of space on all two rows, but the third row that’s fitted in the V and VX, just like in the past CR-V, is small and meant for kids. Opting for the e:HEV hybrid means ditching the third row since the third row’s placement is where the batteries of the hybrid system are located. On the upside, the RS e:HEV offers a lot more cargo room since there’s no third row eating into the cargo area.
Plenty Of Tech For Days
When we posted the prices and specs of the 2024 Honda CR-V, there was a strong sense of sticker shock among our readers since it’s the first time that the base price of this compact crossover has gone past the P2 million mark. However, even the base V is well-equipped with tech–even beyond what the previous range-topping SX AWD Diesel offered. All variants get a 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster, white ambient LED lighting, a 9-inch infotainment with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging, a powered driver’s seat, a powered tailgate, and the LaneWatch blind spot camera just to name a few.
The VX, which also comes with AWD, largely mirrors that of the base V but adds power adjustment for the front seats, faux wood interior paneling, and a 360-degree camera system. The RS e:HEV, meanwhile, is the pinnacle of the range with its Bose sound system, panoramic sunroof, heads-up display (HUD) and red stitching. Basically, you’ll probably be content with the base V already, with the rest of the range having nice-to-haves, but not exactly necessities.
As with most new Hondas nowadays, the new CR-V also comes with the full Honda Sensing safety suite, which includes:
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
- Lead Car Departure Notification System (LCDN)
- Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning (RDM with LDW)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Auto-High Beam (AHB)
For the first time in a Honda, the CR-V RS e:HEV comes with adaptive matrix LED headlights. This type of headlight not only turns the high beam on or off, but the headlight cluster can make small adjustments to the beam so it won’t dazzle other drivers, even if the headlights are in a constant high beam state.
Setting New Classh Benchmarks
As you read this first impressions review, you’ll most likely think that the CR-V blends a lot of familiarity. Yes, it does not reinvent the CR-V formula of practicality, comfort, and usability, but as incremental as the formula has improved, the refinements have made this a class benchmark. The 2024 Honda CR-V remains a family-friendly and safe bet, but now with some of that sportiness that we’ve missed from past generations of this compact crossover. At the same time, the new, e:HEV hybrid system makes this vehicle not just more efficient, but also one of the best-driving CR-Vs of all time, thanks to its unbelievable fuel efficiency and the improved performance and refinement of having electric assistance.