Cars

It’s Been Around for Years But the Honda CRV’s Still Got It

There are tons of compact crossovers available in the market today, but you can’t go wrong with the CRV.
IMAGE PJ Caña
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My friend Pedi had a silver Honda CRV in the early 2000s. We took that thing everywhere—gigs, concerts, dinner and drinking sessions, and even the occasional road trips. I remember thinking how easy and dependable that ride was, and thought to myself I wouldn’t mind getting one for myself when I have the money.

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Fast forward nearly 15 years later and, while I still don’t have the money, I finally got to own a CRV, at least for a few days.

Honda CRV in the Philippines

The 2018 version of Honda’s compact crossover is a lot different from the second generation CRV Pedi had all those years ago.

For starters, the test unit I drove had a much sleeker body compared to my friend’s angular, almost boxy unit. This new version of the CRV is sportier and more aggressive but still exuded buckets of style and finesse. It also has full LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels and had a nice sheen in its gleaming black finish. Overall it’s the kind of ride you wouldn’t be embarrassed to walk over to when the valet pulls up in the driveway. 

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Photo by PJ Caña.

This edition of the CRV retains a 2.0 liter SOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a new CV (continuously variable) transmission. Driving it felt a lot like driving a regular sedan—whether it was on paved city streets or slightly bumpier stretches of country roads—only you’re seated a bit higher up and there’s a slightly more confident feeling that you can conquer that crater on the road up ahead that’s too big to avoid.

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Inside, it’s spacious and comfortable, and I didn’t get that slight anxiety operating a vehicle for the first time. Everything was simple and user-friendly: the gear shift, dashboard controls, even the phone tray with a rubber surface that you can remove to reveal a deep cavity where you can place other sundry items. This is also where you can find the USB and power outlets, and even an HDMI port.

One can make the argument that putting all of these ports out in the open would make more sense but if you’ve ever been bothered by multiple cables snaking and getting tangled up all over the the dashboard, you’ll appreciate having everything neatly tucked away in a recess like this. (Besides, there’s one other power outlet just under the gear shift, if you really need to plug in your device in a place that’s easier-to-reach).

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Likewise, the seven-inch digital display is just as easy to operate. Connecting your phone via USB or Bluetooth is a breeze and the speakers give off a nice, rich sound. 

One other creature comfort I appreciated was a camera sensor that automatically shows an image of the traffic or pedestrian situation on the vehicle’s right side when you turn the signal stick as you’re making a right turn. It’s Honda’s way of improving visibility and minimizing accidents.

Photo by PJ Caña.
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Inspecting the second row, I found a spacious interior with plenty of legroom. The fancy, top-of-the-line diesel variant of the CRV that’s about P400,000 more expensive has a third row that brings its total driver and passenger count to seven, but a third row doesn’t exist in this version here, which would mean more space for the rear seat passengers, I assume.

In the few days I had the car, I drove it to our house in Cavite, ferried my sister and her kids in it, went grocery shopping with it, took it on a Sunday drive with another friend, and even showed it off to my Pedi, who had long-ago traded-in his CRV for a smaller but brand-new Brio. In every single one of these experiences, the CRV delivered. To top it all off, I started out with a full tank and I didn’t need to replenish the gas by the time I had to return the unit days later, which speaks volumes about its fuel efficiency. (I had the Econ Mode on except when I needed power on long runs at the South Luzon Expressway. Overall I managed about 15 kilometers per liter on the CRV).

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The idea of a lendout is to approximate the feeling of owning the vehicle long enough to gauge if it would fit your lifestyle. In this case, driving the CRV for a few days only reinforced what I already knew: that I wasn’t wrong to covet the car back when Pedi drove me and our friends in his unit all those years ago. If anything, the experience only reinforced that want.

Now to save up enough to actually buy it.

The SRP of the Honda CR-V 2.0 S is P1.64 million.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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