High Price Tag on the New Honda CR-Vby Opinion Express November 2, 2018 0 comments
Many car buyers consider the price of the new Honda CR-V as too high for a vehicle in its category.
When you see the new Honda CR-V for the first time you really like the way that the fifth-generation of Honda’s Sports Utility Vehicle has turned out. It really looks good, but then you look through the last window of the car and see something strange — a third row. A third row whose headrests are barely far enough from the second one. And you keep puzzling over why it exists. This puzzles you so much that you attempt to fit in there. You then realise that the third row is not designed for a 5’11” 85-kg male and is more appropriate for a much smaller human being, preferably before the growth spurt which humans tend to have between ages 11-12.
Here is the thing, to be fair, third rows are on the whole a pretty bad thing in many vehicles. The Maruti Ertiga’s third row is tighter than the CR-V’s and even though it is more comfortable in a Ford Endeavour or Toyota Fortuner, these are not places you would want to spend extended periods of time in. The CR-V’s third row reminded me a bit about the third-row on the Skoda Kodiaq. Frankly, I would rather take a bus than sit in the third row of any non-purpose built vehicle, but if I really needed a third-row to transport a lot of children for example, I would pretty much stick to a Toyota Innova. And this is the piece of advice I hand out to a lot of people, if a third-row is really that important to you in a vehicle, and you are spending Rs 25 lakh, just buy a Toyota Innova.
So the third-row in the CR-V is a bit of gimmick and given the price of the new Honda CR-V, it is more likely than not that if you bought one of these, you would already have a second and maybe a third car in your garage. You see, in this and in most cars with a third-row, they are pretty useless when you go on longer drives because using the third-row means you have little luggage space, and they are as such only meant for the school run. Maybe you could get a Volvo XC90 with a totally usable third-row of seats but that costs a lot, lot more.
And that is a pity really, because I really liked the new CR-V. The cockpit layout, particularly the way information is displayed is excellent, the overall finish of the cabin is superb and it really does feel plush. As I was driving the four-wheel drive diesel, you really cannot tell that you are driving a huge car powered by a 1.6-litre engine thanks to a wonderful nine-speed gearbox because it delivers all the grunt you need for city driving. And that passenger side lane camera makes you forget that you are in a wide car. Sure, even the Honda Accord has that but in a car as large as the CR-V and especially since I had it for a longer period of time, I think it was a great feature which should come down the value chain into smaller cars in future years.
But then again, this specification of the CR-V has an ex-showroom price of Rs 38.3 lakh. Which is not chump change given that the top-specification Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour cost within a few tens of thousands of the CR-V. Both of them are bigger and more powerful. And frankly, if you wanted a badge and four-wheel drive performance, neither of these cars fit the bill, because there is the Mercedes-Benz GLA220d 4MATIC, which I drove for two weeks and had a blast, because it does not pretend to be something it is not. Which you suspect that the CR-V does pretend to be. Again, that costs more or less the same and while it is smaller, at least you get German badge value for your money. Although and this is irritating more than anything else, the Mercedes does not have a touchscreen, but after a week or so you get used to the scroll-wheel.
And that is a pity. The CR-V remains the original SUV in the Indian market, when the first generation and second-generation CR-V’s were launched, you loved them for their performance and combination of size and value. You can argue that the Creta’s success today is because it is the same size as the original CR-V, a size that everyone loves. It is almost as if Honda does not want to sell the CR-V. That is a pity, because this is a nice car, but even if it were five lakhs cheaper it would make more sense. I really wish that Honda did more than just the Amaze and City in the market.
Writer: Kushan Mitra
Courtesy: The Pioneer