Honda CR-V 2.0 S CVT
Text and photos by Eric Tipan
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, the CR-V lineup is now dominated by diesel models (there are three) and the 2.0 S CVT (continuously variable transmission) is now the entry-level option at just P1.678 million.
Generally, variants at the bottom of the totem pole usually come with limited features and basic amenities, which makes any owner feel like you’re missing out. Well, I take it out for a week to see how its fit and feel fares versus its siblings and the rest of the compact SUV segment.
Maybe it’s just me, or it’s that white body, but it seems like the new CR-V (launched October 2020) looks slimmer but still sophisticated in a minimalist sort of way. While it doesn’t have the upmarket exterior amenities of the SX Diesel like the power tailgate and panoramic sunroof, it still gets the important ones like full LED headlamps (with auto levelling), LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lights, LED taillights, and an LED high-mount stop lamp.
Save for not having the i-DTEC badge, it’s still the same highly versatile and undoubtedly stylish CR-V body that’s familiar and remains a highly coveted model because of its looks and reputation.
While it remains to be the only five-seater CR-V (all the diesels are seven-seaters), the wheelbase of all variants is the same, which means you’re getting the same amount of space with the gas version, just in a different configuration.
I know it’s cliché but the cabin is a real mix of function and style. This interior design may be four years old but it’s definitely still a leg up over its competition in the segment. Look at the placement of the gear shifter. Putting it there was ingenious and means that more space will be available for other uses such as cubbyholes and compartments for phones, cables, cards, etc.
There are only a few silver accents, which is good because having too much is often gratuitous and makes the cabin look like it’s trying too hard.
On the leather steering wheel, it’s nice that Honda changed the volume adjuster to a plain push-type instead of the swipe feature from a few years back. It was so sensitive that you couldn’t get it to adjust properly.
Young buyers will like the seven-inch touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) the most. It is vibrant with large characters that are easy to see even under the sun, and while there are a number of sub-menus to deal with, the whole graphic user interface is still simple enough even for non-techies.
Plus, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity and four USB ports (two in front and two in the rear).
There’s also the dual climate control system with rear vents, the whopping 522 liters of storage space behind the second row, and did I not mention that this is the lightest variant of the CR-V with just 1,505 kilos of curb weight?
Which bring us to the engine and efficiency of this CR-V. This gas-powered model uses a four-cylinder, 16-valve 2.0L i-VTEC engine with 154 PS and 189 Nm of torque that’s mated to a CVT.
There’s an Econ mode that retards throttle response and the air-conditioning unit to save fuel. When that’s turned on, acceleration is somewhat measured, which means it will take a few more seconds to pass cars on the highway. I suggest to turn it off if you want a more spirited performance on SLEX. If you’re driving mostly on city roads, always keep it on.
In normal mode, response time picks up but not by much. It is really when I went to Sport mode (on the gear shifter) that I really felt the torque kick in and a palpable enough push.
One super trait of the CR-V is keeping NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels really low even when the roads get really bad. What is audible however is the grunt of the engine when you rev it past 3,000 RPM.
Fuel economy is a very good 8.1 kilometers per liter in both highway and city roads.
Traditionally, CR-Vs move great on the road and it’s no different here. Handling is excellent. Steering feedback is not too light, nor too heavy either. It does very well around corners despite the high ceiling and provides a total sedan-like ride during the drive.
You don’t lose much with this variant; same style, space, infotainment system, wheel size and number of airbags as the SX. Plus, it also has leather seats, a LaneWatch Camera and even a low-tire-pressure warning system. Yes, it misses out on the diesel engine (with the cheaper fuel) but I’d say it has a better gearbox with the CVT.
If ‘less is more’ is your motto, you’ll appreciate what you’re getting with the Honda CR-V 2.0 S CVT.