New 2020 Honda CR-V will cover all bases but can it win you over the Proton X70?

Hans · Oct 25, 2020 12:00 AM

Thailand market model shown, colour options may vary

Honda Malaysia has announced that it will be launching a new 2020 Honda CR-V before the year ends, and it will have an expanded list of features.

The new CR-V is equipped with full suite of Honda Sensing, which will now be available even on the 1.5L VTEC Turbo 4WD variant, while LaneWatch blind spot detecting camera will now be standard on all variants.

Hands-free power operated tailgate

The power-operated tailgate will be upgraded to a hands-free operation one, but we believe this is limited only to higher range variants.

But the most important question is of course, is it a better car than the Proton X70?

If you are looking purely from a purchase price point of view, then no. It’s hard to argue the Proton X70’s price. Thanks for lower excise duties, the highest specifications Proton X70 Executive undercuts the equivalent Honda CR-V 1.5 TC-P by over RM 50,000. That’s a lot of money.

If you are shopping on a budget, then it’s hard to argue against the X70 but then again, if you have a tight budget, you should remember to put aside more money for tyre replacements. The X70’s 18-inch/19-inch tyres costs, versus the CR-V’s 17-inch/18-inch sets.

Fuel cost is also a lot higher. One of the biggest plus points of the CR-V is its fuel efficiency (by SUV standards). Our last test showed the CR-V 1.5 TC-P burned only 7-litre/100 km despite driving in the city. A Proton X70 would do a mid 8s in the same road conditions.

Overall maintenance cost is also higher for the Proton, but not by a lot.

Still, let’s be honest – it’s quite far-fetched to say that all of the above will add up to RM 50,000. There’s no denying that the Proton X70 is a value for money champ.

So why should you still consider a Honda CR-V then? Because it’s the best all-rounder. 

Despite not being the youngest and newest SUV on the market, the Honda CR-V is still the most family-friendly C-segment SUV on sale today.

No other SUV in its class match the CR-V’s space. Not the Nissan X-Trail, not the Proton X70, and definitely not the Mazda CX-5, which has the smallest interior.

In the CR-V, you sit tall enough for a more commanding view of the traffic, and yet the cabin’s floor is still low enough for young children and the elderly to climb in to.

The centre console is big enough to fit even a medium size handbag, or months of supply worth of wet wipes.

Which car can match all these utlity space?

The CR-V is not a car that you find appealing in a short test drive at a showroom, because practicality is something that you notice only when you start using it in your daily life. It’s the small little details that you will become apparent only when you start using it.

For example, its low-ish ride height makes it easier for kids to climb in to unassisted. The wide door opening aperture makes it the easiest to load and strap your child into a baby seat.

Legroom and shoulder room is better than any of its rivals. Nevermind the CX-5 or X70, the CR-V’s rear has enough space to match luxury sedans.

For the new 2020 CR-V, the rear design has been tweaked slightly for a sharper, slightly sportier look. It's now highlighted with dark chrome and smoke-finished LED tail lights. The rear bumper also gains a new wing-style chrome fascia and a new tail pipe finisher.

The CR-V's boot is 522 litres big. The Proton X70 matches quite close at 512 litres but what the brochure doesn’t tell you is that the X70’s tonneau cover is mounted very low and if you use it (which you obviously have to, unless you want your cargo exposed), available boot space becomes significantly less.

Useability of X70's boot is hampered by its high boot floor and low tonneau cover

Never mind about the CX-5, which has the smallest boot in its class – 442 litres.

The CR-V’s boot floor is also the lowest and has the widest aperture, which means that it’s the easiest to load and unload cargo.

In terms of handling, it has to yield to the Mazda CX-5. You win some, you lose some.

On straight roads, which is how most of our highways are anyway, the CR-V gives the best straight line performance, but you have to remember to slow down more for the bends.

Outgoing CR-V had good straight line performance, just slow down more for the bends.

Ride comfort is average, and this is one area where it has to yield to the Proton X70. 

Its interior is super-practical but it’s not the most beautiful or most expensive. That honour goes to the Mazda CX-5.

Another plus point for the CR-V are its Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. In our part of the world, Google Maps/Waze and Google Assistant voice command makes more sense than Hi Proton and its China-apps centric software.

Integration with Google Maps is very well done

Its Honda Sensing ADAS suite is also more complete than those offered by other rivals. Among its rivals, only the CR-V comes with adaptive cruise control that works in stop-go traffic (Honda calls it Low Speed Follow). It also adds Lane Keeping Assist (audible warning only for X70).

The LaneWatch camera is especially appreciated on rainy nights, conditions where regular blind spot monitors don’t help much as you can’t see much of the left-side mirrors due to the wet windows.

There’s no one perfect SUV for everyone. You have to ask yourself what’s your priority, and what are you willing to pay a premium for.

Choose for Honda CR-V for its safety, space and practicality; a Proton X70 for its value for money; a Mazda CX-5 for its more emotionally engaging driving experience and premium cabin.

Prices for the new 2020 Honda CR-V have yet to be announced, but it is now open for booking and you may find out more at www.honda.com.my. The outgoing pre-facelift Honda CR-V was selling from RM 144,629 to RM 168,465, without SST.

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