The new benchmark? 2024 Honda CR-V first drive impressions – Feature

If there’s one thing I’ve always maintained is that Honda never ever made a bad CR-V. Throughout the generations, each and every model has become an instant hit and has raised the bar in its class for others to beat. So when this latest model came out, everybody had lofty expectations, especially with the first hybrid-powered CR-V hitting the market.

Keen to find out, Honda PH let us media take it on a journey through the twisties and expressways of the north.

Honda CR-V first drive

2024 Honda CR-V RS e:HEV

Our drive would start in Okada, take us through parts of the Bataan loop, and end up somewhere in Subic to cap the day off. There would be three of us per car and I was assigned to be a passenger for the first leg of the journey. We were lucky also to be assigned a white top-of-the-line CR-V e:HEV, which at first glance is actually menacing with the black accented rims and body trim.

Honda CR-V first drive

I particularly like how the brand went with a slightly more conservative design language compared to the radical design of the previous model which didn’t age so well in hindsight. Also, what’s this new generation model to my eyes is noticeably bigger in terms of width and length, it adds a much-needed presence that dwarfs the RAV4 and matches the PPVs.


The first leg of the journey from Okada to Shell in NLEX allowed me to bask in the brilliance of the CR-V RS e:HEV, it is a treat to be inside with a sporty-plush interior. The black and red colors give the interior a modern but tasteful look, while the plush soft-touch materials and leather upscale the interior compared to most of its competitors.

Honda CR-V first drive

As a passenger, I noticed also how quiet and relaxing the cabin is, the e:HEV power unit is refined by hybrid vehicle standards, it tries not to present itself or make a fuss under normal driving conditions.

After the rest stop it was my turn to drive, and boy oh boy was it a joy! The power delivery and instant torque the hybrid provides are smooth and purposeful. It didn’t feel like it was running out of juice at higher revs and speed, the CR-V just wanted to keep pulling, and surprisingly the engine note would put a smile on any VTEC lover’s face.

Honda CR-V first drive

The loveliness of the Honda Sensing safety suite also adds to a relaxing driving experience, on SCTEX I was happy to glide through the highways using the Sensings latest features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and more. I honestly think Honda’s ADAS system is one of the best in the business.

In terms of handling, that’s where the CR-V really blew my mind. Something this big and heavy shouldn’t be handling this wheel, but because it’s a Honda it knows how to move when the going gets curvy and twisty. The steering has heft which gives you a proper feel for the road surface, and the body control is so much better than I was expecting, I felt good pushing the CR-V e:HEV. Putting it into sport mode also has some gimmicks, the 200 plus HP hybrid engine conjures up its “boost” and upon flooring the car some sporty engine sounds are pumped through the speakers.

Honda CR-V first drive

2024 Honda CR-V Turbo AWD

After our lunch stop at the secluded but somewhat strange Rancho Bernardo in Bataan, we were asked to switch cars and try out another variant of the CR-V, this time our steed would be the turbo AWD. Immediately the interior already sets itself apart from the RS, the AWD takes cues from the previous model by adding some nice faux wood panels instead of the sporty black of the RS. It also lacks a sunroof but overall not much difference in terms of features and creature comforts, but the one thing it has over the RS? it has 7 seats.

Honda CR-V first drive

Once again I was a passenger for the first part of the AWD journey, and much of the characteristics of the RS are also present in the AWD in terms of comfort and riding experience. It was in the driver’s seat that things were much different in a good way.

Honda CR-V first drive

If the RS blew my mind, the AWD took it a step further. The combination of the turbocharged 190 hp engine and the AWD system makes it a truly sporty SUV/Crossover. It felt even more planted and surefooted compared to the RS, and the predictable power delivery made for some spirited driving along the Bataan-Morong road. Violently attacking tight corners and hairpins with the sudden mash of the accelerator didn’t upset the car at all, it would gladly keep up with speed freaks but also turn into a gentle cruiser when needed.

I honestly think the AWD is the “bang-for-buck” choice in the lineup.

Honda CR-V first drive


Honda has done it again, they in my opinion have raised the bar for others to try and reach. The all-new CR-V is class-leading in every way, especially in being able to provide the practicality one needs from an SUV/Crossover but does not sacrifice the fun a Honda should provide.

Priced at PHP 2,590,000 for the RS e:HEV and PHP 2,280,000 for the Turbo AWD the CR-V comes at a high premium. However, I think it is a more than worthy alternative to the diesel-burning PPVs, in fact, I would get the Honda CR-V over any PPV at the moment. It is that good.


Pablo Salapantan

Pablo Salapantan

Pablo's first word was probably "Car", and this has developed into a personal passion that has consumed his professional life as well.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

YugaAuto: Automotive News & Reviews in the Philippines