By Aries B. Espinosa
WHEN Honda Cars Philippines sent us local motoring media on a ride-and-drive of its 5th generation diesel-powered 7-seater CR-V from Manila to Bataan province early 2018, we got to appreciate for a day the power, stability, and drive technologies of the top-of-the-line diesel CR-V, the SX Diesel 9AT AWD powered by the 1.6-liter i-DTEC turbo engine on both well-paved highways and on dirt roads.
During that drive, we got to feel the oomph of its 300Nm of torque; the stability of the McPherson strut front suspension and the new E-type multi-link rear suspension; the larger tire size for better grip on all surfaces; the 208mm ground clearance; the enhanced Real Time All Wheel Drive system to better manage all surfaces (the system transferring 10% more torque to the rear wheels when needed); the safety and driver-assistive feature Honda Sensing with the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Low Speed Follow (LSF), and; the standard safety features such as the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Agile Handling Assist (AHA) and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) to help prevent over and under steering on high-speed corners.
This gentle beast of a diesel workhorse was so feature-laden, I just had to have a return engagement to explore the other amenities and functions of this compact crossover.
That chance I got when last month, I drove a four-person video crew in a Passion Red Pearl CR-V SX Diesel to the mountainous regions of central and northern Luzon to document a cycling tour.
During this 5-day epic tour, the four of us spent at least eight hours inside the CR-V every day. Naturally, we arrived at the following conclusions about our ride and our “mobile home” on the road:
1) The power tailgate, activated by the key fob, is truly useful when your hands are carrying cameras, tripods, drones, lunch and luggage;
2) The fold-down rear seats are perfect when you need to take low-speed, tracking shots of your subjects;
3) The panoramic sunroof is a cameraman’s heaven for over-the-roof shots;
4) All seats are comfy enough to spend the entire day on without complaining about back problems;
5) But the middle seat in the second row could get equal design treatment as the six other seats. Every passenger who got assigned to that middle seat for the day wanted to be relocated the next day;
6) The 300Nm of torque and 120ps of power makes going ahead of the pack a breeze. In no time, we were well ahead of the main group and had enough time to set up the video equipment;
7) Despite the mountain terrain involving long ascents, and the rather “inefficient” style of my driving when we had to alternately zoom ahead of the pack or slow down to a crawl to track the rear, the CR-V SX Diesel consumed no more than 1.5 full tanks of fuel for the entire 1,200-km trip (the CR-V SX Diesel did get an official 23.96 km/liter reading in the 2017 DoE Ecorun);
8) The 208-mm ground clearance and the AWD sure gets useful when crossing shallow rivers;
9) When your passengers need you to open the sunroof, or to connect their Bluetooth devices to the infotainment pronto, it’s great that the driver can easily reach those controls;
10) For a video crew to afford the P2.125-million price tag of the CR-V SX Diesel, they need to work this hard everyday for the next three to five years. The good news is that they’d still get to enjoy their weekend days off.