2012 Honda CR-V EXView Vehicle Profile
2012 Honda CR-V heads back in time to 1812
Two hundred years ago, the United States invaded Canada, crossing the Niagara River at Queenston Heights, Ont. The ensuing battle resulted in a resounding victory for the home team, kicking off the conflict known as the War of 1812.
This war isn’t as famous as others but it’s still a very important period in Canada’s history, although not so much in the U.S. After all, it was the only time foreign troops have ever invaded the American capital, and the White House, a prominent and important symbol of American democracy, was torched by British troops. No wonder they pretend it never happened.
Many re-enactments have been planned for this bicentennial year, so Team Road Trip loaded up a Honda CR-V and headed to Fort Erie for our War of 1812 Tour.
Honda’s CR-V has been one of the most popular vehicles in Canada for several years and it’s easy to see why. It’s small enough for easy city manoeuvring and to get impressive fuel economy but large enough to haul lots of necessary “stuff” while providing exceptional comfort.
With 185 horsepower and 163 lb.-ft. of torque on tap from the 2.4 L DOHC four-banger, the CR-V has adequate grunt for most situations. Even though the industry is awash with six- and eight-speed automatic transmissions, the CR-V plods along with five. Cruising on the freeway is effortless, the tach indicating a stress-free 2,000 rpm.
The ECO setting smoothes power delivery, changes gears at lower revs and also reduces auxiliary power requirements, such as the air conditioning. This all aids in lowering fuel consumption and, when in ECO mode, there’s a ring around the speedo that glows green if you’re saving the polar ice caps. If you get your foot in it, it glows white.
The new CR-V’s cockpit’s feels much larger and brighter than the previous generation, which always felt somewhat bunker-like to me. The seats are firm but comfortable, controls fall easily to hand and the noise level seems down as well. The cup holders are really deep — a small coffee disappears right to the lid, making it difficult to pick up.
A great feature is that you can lower the rear seats with one pull on a lever accessible once the rear hatch is open. The rear seat headrest pivots down, the seat cushion flops forward and the seat back lowers itself. Slick. I hate it when the headrests force you to move the driver or passenger seat forward to make room when lowering the rear seat.
The dash-mounted information screen needs work. It either shows the radio station (good), a large analog clock (not required), a blank screen (also not required) or distance left in the tank and average fuel consumption — something that’s already on display in front of the driver. Must have been designed by Honda’s Department of Redundancy Department.
Steering is quick with reasonable feedback. Overall, the CR-V felt agile and handled fairly well, although with some body roll.
In ECO mode and with cruise control set, we headed across the Big Smoke for Queenston Heights and the Brock Monument, the 56-metre resting place of Gen. Isaac Brock, who was killed in the war’s first battle.
We picked up the Niagara Parkway at Fort George and took it all the way through the tourist zone of Niagara Falls (twenty bucks to park — really?) all the way to Fort Erie. It’s a scenic drive although with a 60-km/h speed limit, somewhat leisurely. If you want to get there quickly, take the QEW.
At Fort Erie, we watched a War of 1812 battle re-enactment, complete with cannons, flintlock muskets, lots of noise and clouds of black power smoke. It was odd to see soldiers in period uniforms before the “battle,” talking on cellphones, texting and checking their email. Once the shooting started, it was obvious no one wanted to be the first casualty and have to lie face down in the wet grass for the next hour.
Next stop was the Chippewa Battlefield, which has been left exactly as it was in 1814, when 2,000 British, Canadian and aboriginal troops attacked 3,500 Americans before being driven back. Three weeks later, the Americans were finally repulsed at the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane in what’s now part of Niagara Falls.
The CRV’s fuel consumption ranged from 6.9 L/100km (freeway cruising in ECO mode) to 7.9L/100km during everyday driving in “normal” — all distances with air conditioning on.
The 2012 CR-V’s improvements will undoubtedly allow it to hang near the top of the compact SUV segment. It’s a great package — lock, stock and barrel.
2012 Honda CR-V EX 2WD
ENGINE: 2.4 L DOHC, V-TEC, EFI, five-speed automatic
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 6.9 L/100 km-7.9 L/100km
POWER: 185 hp, 163 lb.-ft. torque
COMPETITION: Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX5, Kia Sportage, Nissan Rogue
WHAT’S BEST: Luggage space, comfort, economy,
WHAT’S WORST: Sluggish in ECO mode, needs another gear
WHAT’S INTERESTING: Pull one lever and the rear seats fold flat
The vehicle tested by freelance writer Steve Bond was provided by the manufacturer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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