When Is A Car This Big Actually Useful? - 2015 Honda CR-V Review
Engine: 2.0L R20 I4 SOHC i-VTEC (similar to previous gen CR-V)
Drive train: Front Wheel Drive
Transmission: 5 Speed Automatic
Second hand value (2018): ~RM100k. Still too early to be shopping for a used 2015 CRV in 2018.
The 2015 CR-V isn’t something I would buy. The first reason being I couldn’t afford one. The second reason being I prefer full sized saloons or station wagons for a family car. I did a review on the 2007 CR-V some time last year (link) and I think I understand what the CR-V aims to be. It’s a mere runabout vehicle. It’s in the name. Don’t believe me? Well, CR-V stands for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle and that is just what the CR-V is. Look it up. It’s no real SUV. It’s an entry level family crossover and we have to understand and accept that.
Is it comfortable?
By my standards, yes.
Is it quick?
Does it look badass?
No. It looks very corporate.
Who uses a CR-V?
Dads who want a full -sized saloon with a little extra ride height.
Is it expensive?
Yes. A 3-year-old CR-V will cost you at least RM100k. Just get a new one.
Is it fuel efficient?
Not bad for a car this size. It’s about as fuel efficient as my 2007 Proton Persona at 10.4km/l. It’s also almost 400kg heavier so that’s not bad.
Is it good looking?
It fits in with automotive styling of 2018, 2019, and maybe even 2020. 2010 and above cars tend to utilise light and shadow in their body panel design. Older cars had a little more ‘flat’ or bland surface.
Is it Luxurious?
Not quite. And I don’t think it was meant to be. It’s still entry level for a crossover. Real luxury SUVs would be either a Range Rover Vogue (body-on-frame), a Lexus LX570 (body-on-frame), or a Porsche Cayenne (Unibody). But those are cars for guys who are really ballin’.
What options do you have besides the CR-V?
To really have a close comparison, I’m going to disqualify Toyota’s Fortuner and Ford’s Everest because they have body-on-frame chassis. They’re built like trucks, hence the Hilux and the Ranger counterpart. Trucks handle very differently and serve different purposes.
A few names come to mind as contenders for the CR-V.
- Nissan X-Trail (~RM140,000)
- Haval H2 (~RM92,000)
- Hyundai Tucson (~RM120,00)
- Kia Sportage (~RM120,000)
- BMW X5 Hybrid (>RM300,000)
The Haval H2 might be the most appealing to me since it is both newer and cheaper. But I don’t know Haval that well so I won’t jump into any conclusions yet.
How Shall We Judge the 2015 CR-V?
If you’ve searched the depth of the internet and came across this review that I’ve written, my guess is you’re a well-to-do dad looking for a big car that still looks relevant today. But why would you want to buy a RM100k used car?
The new most basic CR-V (2018) would set you at RM140k plus. That’s not far off from what the 2015 model is selling for. It is still rather premature to be looking for a 3-year old car in this price range. You’re not getting any good deals and there’s not many on offer in the market. This page might be worth revisiting in 2020. We’ll see how the 2015 CR-V fares in the used car market then.
This is cheaper than a used Toyota Harrier from Japan (almost half the price) so you are kind of shopping in a middle, non-attention seeking, not so glamorous category. The 2015 CR-V won’t be turning heads like a V8 Toyota Land Cruiser, a Lexus LX570, or one of those massive Mercedes SUVs. Honda pitches this as a family car. And family cars have to be useful. So, let’s be fair and judge the 2015 Honda CR-V as a family car…
The CR-V is a Family Car
Stock photo of Malaysian family
Well, this will be bloody boring. I’ll try to make this as interesting as I can. The last time I was in my car with my entire family was during Chinese New Year. I had my dad, mom, wife, and sister in my good old 2007 Persona with a few containers of food.
Would the CR-V be a good family car?
Yes. It would have been way more comfortable than the 2007 Persona, give us more space, yet still consume fuel at a reasonable rate.
It looks decent as a balik kampung mobile.
Balik kampung trips usually take more than 2 hours. The CR-V has a unibody chassis and it sits rather low for a big car so it’s comfortable at high speeds and through corners. It has even got auto cruise so that’s a big plus for long haul journeys.
There’s not much of a ground clearance. It sits lower than how a body-on-frame SUV would. Put the CR-V next to a Toyota Fortuner and you’ll know what I’m talking about. So exercise a little caution when driving through rough terrain. I believe the 4WD version is a little bit taller, but the 2WD CR-V is very far from being an off-roader.
Is it really as useful as we romanticise it to be?
The utility that a car this size provides would be very useful in a country like America where the land is vast and road trips take 4…days. For family errands like the school run, you could use a Myvi. The kids would most likely ruin your interior anyway. What about the grocery run? There’s Tesco Delivery Service or Jaya Grocer Delivery Service. You don’t even need a car to do the grocery run anymore. What about moving? You could hire a moving service to help you with that.
It has massive space that’s occasionally useful. There’s always the romantic idea of fully utilising your trunk space but that rarely ever happens doesn’t it?
Advertisements would like to make you imagine using the trunk space for a picnic in the forest, carrying flower pots, or a day out at the beach, but I think the CR-V’s trunk space would usually be filled with golf bags. It’s a great family car for you if you can way more than just afford it. If you’re jeopardising your financial situation for the car, you’ll regret paying for the excess utility and comfort.
So, when is the CR-V’s size actually fully useful for the family?
I can only think of three situations where the size of the CR-V could be fully appreciated.
- Super long road trips (balik kampung included)
- Sending your teenage daughter to college
- Sending more than two family members to the airport
In almost every other situation, a saloon or a compact car would suffice.
On a side note..
A CR-V would be a great company car. You could pick up your client from the airport comfortably and t would be great to take you to business meetings across states.
What Is It Like to Drive?
It’s a cruiser - very relaxing and sensible. NOT quick. The size reduces manoeuvrability in tight city streets. The electronic power steering makes it very easy to handle. Instead of a hand brake, you get the foot parking brake. A car this size and with this price tag would have a reverse camera as standard. It certainly helps. One feature that I personally appreciate would be the little compass on the centre screen that shows which direction you’re heading towards – no map or GPS, just an arrow to show if you’re heading north, south, south east, or north west. For a guy who likes to drive without GPS, I really love it.
The seats are comfortable. They’re not sporty and don’t have leather trims but done well enough to make them feel slightly posh. This isn’t a hot hatch so there’s no ’driver-oriented’ interior kind of stuff going on. The centre dash isn’t pointed towards the driver. It feels like a family car, and that’s how it should be. You no longer get the foldable armrest from the 2007 CR-V. Instead you get the kind of arm rest that’s integrated with the centre console storage box.
The steering is leather wrapped, making it feel fancier than the Honda City and Honda Jazz. The red push start button felt a little out of place in a family car, but maybe some of you dads might appreciate the sporty touch in the interior. The red button is the only thing there to make it feel sporty. Everything else is very corporate and non-attention-seeking. The ‘metallic’ plastic trim on the dash keeps the interior relevant as we approach 2020.
The 2.0 L SOHC i-VTEC is the same engine from the previous generation CR-V. They’re both paired to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. Some components in the engine bay have changed like the air conditioning hoses, the position of the air filter, and the dipstick handle. Most probably things have been moved around and changed to adapt to feedback on the previous gen CR-V. Hopefully less potential of failure can be achieved. I feel like the engine sits a little higher but it still drives (corners) similarly to the older CR-V. The auto gearbox is decent for a cruiser car. The ECON button basically does the same thing in other Honda cars. You can read more of that in the Honda City article.
The dash display turns green when you’re driving economically, just like it would in the HR-V.
Fun fact: The HR-V stands for Hip and Smart Runabout Vehicle; The BR-V stands for Bold Runabout Vehicle. Wow, Honda. Very creative.
The fuel economy digital gauge responds immediately to your throttle, sort of telling you to take it easy with your right foot.
Some Notes from the Owner
The infotainment unit is an aftermarket unit. However, it feels more OEM than the OEM infotainment unit. This is the base model CR-V so it was equipped with a radio unit initially. This car hasn’t done much on the odometer. After 3 years, it has just recently crossed the 10,000km mark.
Well, if more CR-V owners are like this, it is definitely a car worth considering in the second-hand market a few years from now. It would probably be priced similarly to a brand-new, smaller Honda of the future. We’ll see.
To describe the driving experience, it is relaxed, comfortable, and sensible.
To describe the ownership experience, it is non-attention-seeking, no problems (yet), and not remarkable (which is good if you plan to stay low profile)
But don’t buy this yet. Wait for it to depreciate further. If you’re going to fork out RM100k for a car, might as well get a new car for a bit more money. The purchase would be way more satisfying.