23 April 2011

CR-V’s Outback Odyssey

Honda Magazine: Issue 51


It’s fair to say that not everyone driving a Honda CR-V was anticipating a gruelling cross-country safari, but that’s exactly what we did.

Against a backdrop of the harsh Australia outback, one expects to see hardcore, fully-tricked 4WD beasts bristling massive spotlights and armoured with bullbars and winches. But the otherwise meek, mild Honda CR-V took us on an odyssey across sweeping plains and parched deserts in a relaxed comfort more akin to a family sedan.

Out on the open road, CR-V cruises effortlessly and economically, gobbling up the miles but not the fuel. We enjoyed 10.0L/100km across our 3000 kilometre trek without too much regard to peddle pressure. As our journey progressed from well-dressed bitumen to naked limestone, the CR-V was able to adapt effortlessly thanks to its Real Time 4WD and smooth 5-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic Control. Smarter than your average 4x4, CR-V’s 125kW, 2.4-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine will only apply power to the rear wheels when the front wheels require assistance, like on loose, uphill sections or sharp corners in the dirt.

When you combine the intelligence of the all wheel drive system with ABS brakes, traction and stability control, and a cabin with six airbags, it hardly seems fair.

Contenders in drive.com.au's Small 4WDs Mega-test
With at least seven serious contenders vying for this hotly contested compact SUV segment, the third generation CR-V still punches above its weight against all contenders. The notoriously thorough Fairfax motoring journalists took the entire segment out for a drive and found the stalwart CR-V tops in the group despite serious new competition from Korea, Germany and Japan.

“Not only does it drive well but it scores highly for interior design, engine and gearbox combination, noise refinement, comfort and practicality,” wrote Jez Spinks after the exhaustive test.

But the drive.com.au team weren’t game to take their cars off road, so here is where we fill in that gap. Oh, and to raise the bar a bit higher, we’re towing a trailer.

Heading out of the grandeur of the Flinders Ranges in spring, we made a beeline for the vast nothingness along the Oodnadatta Track where asphalt is unheard of. Sand, gumball-sized pebbles and the occasional water-filled ford were all par for the course along a route that took us as far as the opal outpost of Coober Pedy. So harsh and remote is this town, many choose to live underground to escape the baking summer heat. Astronauts come here to train and film crews shoot sci-fi features in the otherworldly terrain.

As we rolled into the car park of our subterranean hotel, the CR-V had taken the whole South Australian outback in its stride proving that, properly prepared and carefully driven, some of the world’s most notorious roads were within the grasp of this near bulletproof runabout.

Recommended Accessories:
  • Modulo Front Skid Plate
  • Modulo Rear Skid Plate
  • Modulo Side Step Set with metal finish
  • Fog lights and Garnish Set
  • Luggage Area Protector Lining or tray
  • Bonnet Protector
  • Roof box
  • Internal luggage guard
  • Sump guard (aftermarket)