I was overwhelmed when my dear editor gave up his seat to Langkawi and handed it to me in a silver platter. It’s per the phone actually. I know for sure no one for sure especially Botak would gave up an opportunity for a test drive regardless what model, makes or even year of manufacture for that matter. And it would be utterly stupid of me not to take the advantage for sure. Honda Malaysia organized a test drive in Langkawi late April. What I thought would be a tiring drive to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur was in fact a relaxing flight to Langkawi and the test drive was around the picturesque island. Upon arrival at the airport of Langkawi, there’s 10 new CR-Vs to transport us to the Andaman Resort. We’re pampered like kings and queens and Botak sure as hell regretted not going for this one.
After a sumptuos lunch, we gathered for the introduction and briefing by Mr. Yoichiro Ueno, Honda MD & CEO, followed by Mr. Kazuhiro Sekine, A. LPL, a technical talk by Mr Azlan Yeng afterwards and the Test drive route and safety briefing by Mr. Ivan Khong. After the talk and everything, we’re formed into groups and we’re ready to roll.
The route given is a complete mixture of a bit of drag strip and also some B-roads around the island. So we get to test the speed and handling of the CR-V. Of course you can’t expect an SUV to response like a drag monster or something of that sort but surely for an easy and relaxing drive, yes it is the car for you to choose if you’re into all that comfort and all. Handling wise, at corners, I tried to push it over the limit and surprisingly, despite the size and tilt, it stood its ground without fail. being an SUV, we had it both on tarmac and gravel and even on the sandy beach of Langkawi, without being stuck at any of the surfaces. I was impressed.
Right after the test drive session, we head back to the hotel for the press conference and the Q&A session with the Mr. Ueno and Mr. Sekine. Mr. Sekine did explain about the difference and upgrades on this new CR-V. Other than the stylish handsome design of the car which is not to my liking, power comes from the same engine of the previous model but with coatings applied onto the pistons to lessen the friction hence reducing the strain to the engine. After all, less friction also means more power. The gearbox ratios are still the same as the previous version with final drives being bettered to gain more power. The suspension set up also has been improved by lowering the mounting to bring the car more closely to the ground. And then, dinner was served and we ate like there’s no tomorrow.
The very next morning, we had breakfast before participating in an explore race. The race consisted of photo hunt, word search, load the trunks, hard corners with and without the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), reverse slalom, and also fuel efficiency. Talking about how spacious the car is, with the 1 hand action by pulling the handle under the back seat, the back seat intelligently folds and we manage to load 1 large, 4 medium, and 2 small sizes suitcase and also 3 golf bags without even blocking the back window. At the reverse slalom, we are allowed to use only the reverse camera but it helps a lot. And also the hard corners, there’s quite a difference hitting the corners with or without the VSA. It’s so much at ease with the VSA. Soccer mums would surely love the new CR-V.
Done with the explore race, we had our lunch back at the hotel and the final event that most of us been waiting for, the price giving ceremony for the winners. Sad to say, I didn’t get to win anything. Bummer. It was free and easy afterwards and some of took the opportunity to take the best of the picturesque scenery to complete the photo shoot while some basked away in the sun. All in all, the new CR-V is a great SUV that worth every cents for its efficiency, handling and comfort. You can’t expect an SUV to perform like a super car but it’s enough for moms and dads to rush to schools and pick your kids ever when you’re late accidentally or for that dreaded moment you desperately need a toilet and you’re about a few clicks away for the nearest one.
words & pix: Faiz Zakariah