New on the blockPM drive

2007 Honda CR-V 2,2 CDI
Date:31 July 2007 Tags:,

The Undiesel
2007 Honda CR-V 2,2 CDI

While the bureaucrats and technocrats debate the imposition of Green taxes on fuel guzzlers, notably sport-utilities, Honda brings in a new SUV.

A pained look briefly takes the smile off the face of local bossman Graham Eagle when we bring up the subject of proposals for an SUV-biased Green levy. Only briefly, though. Because Eagle’s as aware as we are that not only is the latest diesel version of the best-selling CR-V a winner on its own terms, but it actually makes nonsense of the anti-SUV debate.

Why?

Simply, it’s as refined and economical as the average shopping hatchback, while giving away nothing to the competition in the hotly contested SUV sector.

The CR-V is hardly new, and quite frankly its engine is not new, either. But, to South Africans, the turbodiesel is a big deal because it’s the company’s first engine of this type. Oh, and it’s also a peach of a motor.

The man picked to design Honda’s first diesel met two important criteria: firstly, he designed the VTEC variable valve concept, and secondly, he hated diesels. This is his revenge – the Undiesel. Real diesels just don’t drive or sound like this jewel.

According to Honda, its remarkable refinement comes courtesy of a series of vibration-reducing technologies, including offset cylinders, a second-order balancer shaft, pendulum-type engine mountings, an acoustic engine cover and an under-engine tray.

We clocked some leisurely kilometres on twisty back roads in the Cape Winelands, where we also had the opportunity to scramble up some choice rocky mountain tracks. The combination of proven drive system (nominally 2wd, with 4wd automatically when needed) and a generous 340 N.m of torque at
2 000 r/min didn’t miss a beat. One minor quibble: Honda says it’s pleased with the vehicle’s turning circle, but more than one of us found it to be anything but the snappiest turner on the block.

Like many of its stablemates, the Honda sometimes feels like a bit more oomph than its rated 103 kW would be nice – during overtaking, for instance – though there may be some psychological element to that: when other engines would be yelling “Enough!”, the Honda simply smiles sweetly and says, “Could you rev it a bit harder?” It just doesn’t feel like it’s working hard. The sort of vehicle that would revel in tow duty, we’d say, especially since its stability program has Trailer Stability Assist built in.

Quoted diesel consumption in urban driving conditions is 8,1 litres/100 km; it clocks 6,5 on the combined cycle. In local trim the diesel is matched with a
6-speed gearbox, which should help economy. Speaking of local trim, that includes a double-deck luggage bay for more stowage options.

Price: R326 900.
– Anthony Doman

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