Text: Vince Pornleos / Photos: Dean Ang | posted October 30, 2012 17:37
The right balance
A few months ago, we drove the all new CR-V in top spec 2.4L EX trim, and found it to be a very well rounded crossover... especially in a highly competitive segment. This time, we're trying out the 2.0L LX trim, just to see if this better priced variant can hold true to its more premium priced brother.
On the outside, the 2.0L LX is identical to the 2.4L EX model apart from details like the side mirror lights. The body has the same, sleek design, and still has the same rear end. The CR-V is still rather simpler to look at when compared to other models in its class like the Tucson, Sportage or CX-5, but still, it wouldn't look out of place at all parked outside a house in an affluent village or in the trendier parts of the metro.
Inside, again, it's the same apart from a few details. The same, premium feel to the cabin is present, along with the quality materials. This one doesn't have leather seats either, and the steering wheel is slightly different. Again, like the 2.4 EX, it has the same, hard plastics. There's the same space, as well as the easy-to-use lever to put down the rear seats.
The real differences are in the features. The 2.0L LX model doesn't have niceties like the back-up camera (for precise and convenient parking), a manual aircon instead of dual zone climate control, a handsfree Bluetooth system for your phone, a sunroof or the intelligent multi-info display like the one in the CR-V EX and Civic.
The engine is, of course, different. Instead of a 185 PS 2.4L motor, this model gets a smaller 2.0L SOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine with i-VTEC. It has less power at 153 PS and 190 Newton meters, but doesn't feel like a slouch either.
On acceleration, the engine can easily handle the weight of the CR-V. It's a front wheel drive now as opposed to the 4WD system in the EX. The transmission still has 5 gears though, so the engine has the same amount of speeds to play with.
What I'm glad they didn't omit was the ECON system. With the system turned on, the CR-V shifts more efficiently and adjusts the throttle response for better fuel economy. As a result, in the city I was getting 7.5 kilometers per liter with ECON ON in moderate traffic. On the highway, the results were better than the 2.4 liter model with economy ranging from 11.9 to 12.4 if you're really frugal, cruising at just 80-100 km/h.
However, there was a marked difference in ride comfort over the EX. Through the course of the drive, it felt slightly stiffer on the road than the 2.4L model; it's definitely not harsh, but noticeable nonetheless. The only conclusion as to why has to be the 74 kilos of extra weight that accounted for the 4WD system and other features in the top spec variant.
Overall, I prefer this variant over the top spec. Nice as the features are in the EX, they're really just extras that we don't really need to pay for unless you really want it. As a result, the price of the Honda CR-V 2.0L LX is significantly lower than the EX at PhP 1,425,000.
Well rounded and more attractively priced, the CR-V LX strikes a better balance than its top-of-the-line brother.