The new CR-V is outfitted with an improved suspension system, which Honda claims to provide better handling and comfort. The day kicked off with a driving exercise on a specially made course that tested this crossover’s road holding abilities. The course included an emergency evasive braking exercise, a slip test, and slalom so that we may find out for ourselves how well this new car performs.
With the help of ABS and EBD, the CR-V stopped on a dime even on a wet slippery surface. And even if both right wheels were immersed in a soapy strip of water during the test, it got itself out of the slipperiest of conditions with no fuss, thanks to its Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). This demonstrated how the CR-V could prevent accidents by keeping the driver in full control, despite these extremely demanding conditions. Though, I don’t suppose anyone could ever run into the possibility of getting into an accident in the real world by passing over of a huge pool of soapy water. But on the off-chance that a soap factory suddenly exploded and disastrously spewed a foot deep of soap suds over an area measuring one kilometer in radius, it's good to know we'll be safe in these vehicles. Kidding aside, those exercises perfectly recreated real life accident-causing scenarios such as aquaplaning, where cars without a system such as VSA would normally spin out of control.
Honda also brought with them the 2007 CR-V as a point of reference. The changes to the suspension were made very evident in the slalom. The 2010 CR-V exhibited a more responsive handling characteristic that resembled a sedan compared to older version, which leaned into corners deeper much like a typical SUV.
A Road of Discovery
After the quick morning shakedown, we set off for La Union with scheduled bathroom breaks and driver changes every 100Km or so along the way. To my dismay, no one in our group bothered to bring an MP3 player, let alone a CD to keep us amused on our day-long trip. This could have been the perfect opportunity to make the most of the CR-V’s AUX-in and USB input. On the bright side, this minor setback really made me appreciate the additional seals and insulators Honda has implanted onto the new CR-V to improve Noise, Vibrations and Harshness (NVH) levels. Wind and road noise were kept to a minimum, even while traveling at speeds exceeding the legal limits on the highway.
Everyone got a chance to drive both the 2.0 and 2.4L variants of the new CR-V. Traversing less-than-perfect roads, both CR-V’s held on strong and true. The suspension soaked up all the bumps and bruises on the pavement rather well, and never did we hear a squeak nor a rattle. Although, we did notice that the 2.4L had a stiffer and bouncier ride. Nevertheless, be it the driver’s or back seat, I always had more than enough room to move around and feel comfortable.
For the entire trip, the 148Hp 2.0L CR-V averaged a respectable 11 Km/L, whereas the 2.4L variant only went as high as 9 Km/L. But the extra 20Hp the 2.4L pumped out was very well appreciated on two-lane national roads where quick overtaking maneuvers were necessary. Plus, the 2.4L engine had a quicker throttle response compared to its 2.0L counterpart. Though the fuel economy figures we got were a bit low compared to some people’s standards, I have to point out that we drove these cars pretty hard to stick to the event schedule - passing other cars, trucks, buses, and livestock along the way.
Time to Unwind
Our destination for the evening was Thunderbird Resorts - Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union. This 5-star hotel is a paradise getaway nestled on a cliff with a perfect view of the sea. Its Mediterranean motif transported us to the land of mythological gods, completely sweeping us off our feet. We spent the night there for some well-deserved R&R but had to be up and about by daybreak to take photos of the new CR-V whilst we were in that beautiful setting. And even before we could take a chance to enjoy the sunrise, we were back on the road again.
From La Union, it would take another 200Kms to reach our next checkpoint at Bale Dutung (Wooden House) in Angeles City. There, multi-talented artist and chef Claude Tayag and his wife Mary Anne prepared us a real eye-opening 10-course Filipino meal that truly pleased our palate. It was not only a feast fit for a King, but also served as an educational experience on our country’s history and heritage. Tasting their exquisite cuisine and learning of local food culture made me want to stay, but sadly, after lunch was over, we had to travel back home to Manila and call it a day.
At Days End
Spending 2 days, clocking in a total of 15 hours and 600Kms, on the road, I thoroughly enjoyed driving the new CR-V. It had the resilience of a sedan and the versatility of an SUV, proving that it can cross over class boundaries. Of course, the new CR-V still comes with dual SRS and side airbags, projector headlamps, back up sensors, HID (2.4L variant), climate control (2.4L variant), and EURO-4 level emissions. A little bit really went a long way as Honda's subtle external and internal improvements on the 2010 edition made the established CR-V platform even better.