Honda CRV Sport 2008 Review

Honda CRV Sport fq

There’s a prevalence of cars with ‘sport’ in their name. While our adult population engages in less and less sport, at least we can have a car that makes us look like we appreciate it (and we can ferry our offspring to their sports in the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality.)

So is this Honda CRV Sport really a sporty option? CRV has been stated by Honda in various global markets to mean ‘Compact Recreational Vehicle’ and ‘Comfortable Runabout Vehicle’. You could easily apply both of those without batting an eyelid, but Sport?

To me, a sport specification should be figure-hugging seats, stiffer suspension and more power. But in the CRV you get a sunroof, comfortable leather seats with fold-down armrests and 8-way electronic adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and xenon headlamps — hardly sporting options. In fact, it’s the same five-speed automatic gearbox, 2.4-litre 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC engine, 125kW, 218Nm, wheels, suspension, brakes and steering as the other CRV models. The Sport doesn’t even get the manual gearbox that the CRV and CRV Plus get! Taking liberties with naming, I think!

It does have enough pep to overtake in sensible places on the highway. The ride is compliant, and grip is excellent from the four-wheel drive system. As you would expect, it comes with a range of driver aids including vehicle stability assist (VSA), ABS, emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution.

Visibility forwards is excellent as the CRV sits higher than a car; visibility on the rear quarters is blocked a bit, but the mirrors are large and reversing sensors warn you of obstacles.

Honda’s instrumentation layout is clear and easy to read. Between the rev counter and speedometer is a large LCD that shows instantaneous fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, distance to empty and the number of kilometres travelled — more useful than other cars that make you scroll through screens to see this information.

Having the instantaneous fuel consumption there encourages you to limit use of your right foot. I managed to keep the CRV’s fuel consumption at just below 10l/100km range during my time with it, which matches the quoted ADR figure.

The boot has an interesting shelf that splits it in two and is useful for storing lighter items on while keeping heavy items separate in the lower half of the boot area. Because the rear seats also recline and slide forwards and backwards, the boot blind accommodates this by clipping to the headrests. The sliding seats move far enough forwards to liberate a significant amount of extra boot space if the rear seats aren’t needed.

This abundance of storage is mirrored in the front, with a central binnacle capable of holding over 20 CDs — good for the entertainment, which comes courtesy of a six-CD in-dash player, reasonably proficient speakers, and an auxiliary in for an MP3 player. An iPod input is an option. Audio controls and the cruise control are integrated into the steering wheel, which is one of the weak points in the car — it’s far too thin.

I also can’t quite understand why, when Honda has done such a great job on the leather seats, that the dashboard plastics have been totally overlooked.  They’re hard and feel a bit cheap.

Honda’s advertising campaign for the CRV says that evolution didn’t spend hundreds of millions of years perfecting the square. I wonder whether the new CRV is a bit too curvy. The CRV isn’t particularly ugly, but it does have an unusually curved rear three-quarter window that doesn’t follow the roof line, and I found it difficult to take any more than a few photos before I’d exhausted the interesting bits. I think I like the previous version’s looks (the facelifted generation-two) a bit more.

Dynamically, it’s not a sports car, but it is a family-friendly vehicle with a dash of versatility; a car that is at home ferrying dirty children back from soccer practise as it is going shopping, threading through city streets, or going on a long journey. Sensible fuel economy, ample space and good visibility will endear it to many.

Price: from $43,500

What we like

  • Easy to drive
  • Comfortable
  • Practical

What we don’t like

  • Dashboard plastics are very hard
  • Steering wheel is too thin



On Demand Real Timeâ„¢ 4WD system

2.4 litre, 16 valve DOHC i-VTEC engine with power of 125kW @ 5800rpm and torque of 218Nm @ 4200rpm

i-VTEC (Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift, Electronic Control) performance and economy enhancing technology

Drive-by-Wire (DBW) electronic throttle control

Emissions fall within LEV II and Euro 4 international standards

91-octane fuel. 58 litre tank capacity

5-speed automatic transmission with Gear Logic Control

296mm front ventilated brake discs and 305mm rear solid brake discs

MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link double-wishbone rear suspension with front and rear stabiliser bars

17″ alloy wheels, 17 x 6.5JJ with 225/65 R17 tyres. Full size alloy spare wheel underfloor Speed-sensitive hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion steering


Driver and passenger front Dual stage i-SRS airbags, side front airbags with passenger side OPDS and full length side-curtain airbags

Active headrests for front seats, height adjustable headrests for all five seating positions Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)

Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) collision compatibility body design with G-force Control (G-Con)

Side intrusion beams and impact absorbing bumpers

3-point ELR seatbelts (front & rear). Pretensioners, load limiters and height adjustable anchor points for front seatbelts

ISOFIX child seat attachment points (2), child seat tether points (3) and Automatic Locking Reel (ALR) seatbelts (3)

Child-proof rear door locks

Engine immobiliser, security alarm and remote central locking on all doors with visual answer back. Interior master door lock switch


Body colour bumpers and door handles, with black mud guards

Power adjustable and retractable body coloured heated door mirrors with integrated side turn indicator

Rear lifting tailgate with window wiper (intermittent with reverse gear synchronisation)

Privacy glass for rear side, quarter and back windows

Variable intermittent windscreen wipers with automatic rain sensor

Xenon High Intensity Discharge headlights (HID) for low beam, halogen high beam, auto on/off

Front fog lamps

Four sensor reversing proximity warning system


Leather trimmed tilt and reach adjustable 3-spoke steering wheel, leather trimmed gear shift lever

8-way electric seat adjustment with power lumbar support (driver) and 4-way manual seat adjustment (passenger), ergonomically designed, 2-stage heating

Independent digital climate controlled air conditioning for driver and front seat passenger Cruise control, with controls integrated into the steering wheel and illuminated

Electric glass sunroof with tilt /slide function and integrated sliding shade, with one-touch open/close function and anti-trap sensor

Front and rear seat folding armrests

Centre console with twin cupholder, storage compartments and storage for 24 CDs


Power windows with driver’s auto up/down and anti-trap, driver’s door mounted central locking and rear window lock/unlock switches

Leather upholstery with metal-effect trim

Driver and passenger vanity mirrors, front map reading light, ambient interior light, glove box light and accessory 12 volt sockets (3)

Rear seat with 40:20:40 upper split, 60:40 lower split and long object pass-through, sliding and folding

Spring dampened handgrabs, one with fold down coathook in rear

Sunglass storage box with ‘conversation’ mirror in front headlining

Multi-information Trip Computer with outside temperature display and fuel usage information

‘Double Deck’ rear cargo organiser and Tonneau Cover


Integrated in-dash 30W x 4 stereo tuner with 6 disc CD changer and 6 speakers, MP3/WMA compatible and speed sensitive volume adjustment (SVC)

Auxiliary audio input jack in centre console (suitable for a portable music player)

Remote audio system controls integrated into the steering wheel and illuminated

Every new Honda comes with a body and mechanical warranty and 24 hr road-side assistance.

DIMENSIONS & Clearances

Length (mm) 4519

Width (mm, inc. door mirrors) 1820

Height (mm) 1679

Wheelbase (mm) 2620

Track — Front /Rear (mm) 1565/1565

Weights (kg) (Plus models add 14kg): manual 1557

Ground clearance — unladen (mm) 185

Ground clearance — fully laden (mm) 140

Approach angle (degrees) 28.0

Departure angle (degrees) 23.2

Ramp-over angle (degrees) 18.0

Auto / Sport Auto 1587 / 1617

Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock 2.96

Turning circle (metres) 11.0

Luggage capacity to window line — rear seats up (litres) 443

Luggage capacity to roof line — rear seats folded (litres) 2064

Towing capacity — maximum warrantable (kg) 1500

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

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