Heels & Horsepower Magazine

Honda’s Trendy CV-R Gets Minor Updates

By H&H Admin

The Honda CR-V has an impressive track record in South Africa, having pioneered the compact SUV sector of the local market when it was first introduced here more than 20 years ago. 

To ensure that it retains all of its lustre and to enhance its already attractively rugged appeal, designers of Honda’s CV-R have endowed it with a subtly changed exterior and interior tweaks, aimed to ensure that the mid-size SUV continues to draw attention. 

A realignment of the range sees changes to the drivetrain and specifications of the 1.5T Executive. Most notably, this model now offers front-wheel drive.

The range still consists of four models offering two different engine options and varying specification levels. 

To ensure that it retains all of its lustre and to enhance its already attractively rugged appeal, creators of the CR-V have endowed it with subtle exterior enhancements. 


The front-end of the CR-V is still dominated by a broad-barred grille which is framed by curved, slimline headlights with integrated daytime running lights. Dual air intakes with a dark meshed finish split the colour-coded bumper, while a metallic scuff plate underlines the CR-V’s undeniable SUV identity.

At the rear, the inverted LED taillight clusters are linked by a chromed garnish strip and positioned high up on a tail gate that extends all the way down to bumper level. Adding a sporty touch to the 1.5T models are twin exhaust tailpipes, housed within the rear scuff plate.

Contrasting protective cladding on the lower sections of the body panels, together with pronounced wheel arch extensions, enhance the CR-V’s rugged looks, as do new, larger 19-inch alloy wheels on the top-of-the-range 1.5T Exclusive model. 


On the inside, the Honda CR-V’s interior remains largely unchanged assuring families of continued premium finishes and unparalleled space, making the cabin an altogether pleasant place to be in. 

As with the previous model, one of the key interior highlights is the full-colour TFT driver information interface, which is located in a dedicated binnacle directly ahead of the driver. The display is dominated by a graph-type rev counter, accompanied by a digital speedometer.

Depending on the model, a centrally located 5-inch or 7-inch display provides user-friendly access to the CR-V’s infotainment system. The centre stack also houses the controls for the dual-zone climate control system.


There are two drivetrain options for the upgraded CR-V. 

The first is Honda’s familiar 2,0-litre four-cylinder i-VTEC petrol engine. This normally aspirated unit features 113 kW of power and peak torque of 189 Nm. 

The 1 997 cc engine is linked to Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with G-Shift control logic and provides all the convenience of an automatic gearbox.  Drive is to the front wheels.

The second engine option is a 1 498 cc turbo powerplant which 140 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque.  It too is mated to a CVT gearbox. 


As was the case with the previous range, the upgraded Honda CR-V line-up consists of four models, with a choice of two engines and four specification levels. All derivatives feature Honda’s latest-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). 

Honda CR-V 2.0 Comfort CVT

The 2.0 Comfort is the base model of the range and offers an extensive list of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. Powered by a proven 2,0-litre petrol engine with a CVT gearbox, the 2.0 Comfort has a top speed of 192 km/h, while fuel consumption is claimed to be 7,3 litres.100km on a combined cycle.

Distinguishing features include:

  • Aluminium-look front and rear scuff plates
  • Brushed aluminium roof rails
  • 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/65 R17 tyres
  • Cloth upholstery and metallic accents
  • 5-inch full-colour display 
  • Four-speaker audio system, as well as Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Dual-zone climate control 
  • Rear park distance sensors 
  • Electrically operated exterior mirrors
  • Dual front and side SRS airbags
  • Curtain airbags
  • Three-point inertia reel seatbelts all round
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
  • Agile Handling Assist (AHA
  • Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)
  • Hill Start Assist (HAS) systems
Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance CVT

The CR-V 2.0 Elegance is technically identical to the more affordable Comfort model in terms of drivetrain and exterior execution. However, the Elegance offers an enhanced package of interior features. 

Distinguishing features include:

  • Leather upholstery 
  • Heated front seats
  • 7-inch Display Audio interface 
  • Eight-speaker audio system as well as Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Eight-way electric adjustment (front seats)
  • Memory function for the driver’s seat
  • Front and read Park Distance Control 
  • Downwards tilting left exterior mirror (for better visibility when reversing) 
  • Leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel 
  • Gear shift paddles for manual CVT operation
  • Auto-sensing windscreen wipers
Honda CR-V 1.5T Executive CVT

The 1.5T Executive is powered by Honda’s force-induced, 1,5-litre petrol engine, delivering 140 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque paired to a CVT gearbox as standard.

The exterior design of the 1.5T Executive shares all the key features of the 2,0-litre models, but gains 18-inch alloy wheels, shod with 235/60 R18 tyres. 

Distinguishing features include:

  • Auto-levelling full LED headlights 
  • Inverted LED daytime running lights
  • Leather upholstery
  • Digital Driver Information Interface 
  • 7-inch Display Audio infotainment system as the 2.0 Elegance
  • Start/stop button
  • Remote central locking system 
  • Keyless smart entry
Honda CR-V 1.5T Exclusive CVT

The flagship of the new Honda CR-V range is the 1.5T Exclusive. Mechanically, it is identical to the Executive model, combining the same 1,5-litre turbo engine with a CVT gearbox. However, setting it apart from its lesser siblings are new 19-inch alloy wheels and three-element LED front fog lamps.

Distinguishing features include:

  • Auto High Beam headlights
  • Leather upholstery 
  • TFT-based Digital Driver Information Interface
  • Panoramic sunroof 
  • Integrated satellite navigation system
  • Electrically operated tailgate with programmable opening height
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) 
  • LanewatchTM

Honda Sensing, which comprises of:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
  • Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed following (LSF) 
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS)

The colour line-up for the upgraded CR-V includes Platinum White, Lunar Silver, Modern Steel, Crystal Black and Brilliant Sporty Blue. A new addition is Coffee Cherry Red.


Recommended retail pricing is as follows:

2.0L FWD Comfort CVT R556 100

2.0L FWD Elegance CVT R617 900

1.5T FWD Executive CVT R699 900

2.0L FWD Exclusive CVT R796 300 

The range is backed by a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a five-year/90 000 km service plan. Also included is a three-year AA Road Assist package. 

Service intervals are set at 15 000 km for the 2.0-litre models, and 10 000 km for the 1.5-litre turbo variants.

Updated Honda Amaze Now Available In South Africa

Honda has upped the ante with a number of changes and upgrades that will see the Amaze find further favour with local buyers. 

The updated Amaze appeals to buyers of all ages who appreciate Honda’s reputation for reliability, combined with a value-added purchase price, great fuel efficiency and low total cost of ownership.

Designed as a sedan from the ground up, the updated Amaze remains unmistakably Honda, but in a compact package that is stylish, well specced, comfortable and now better suited to the needs of a discerning market.

As before, Honda’s renowned i-VTEC engine technology ensures that the Amaze has the performance to match its looks, while delivering exceptional fuel efficiency. 

With two equipment levels – Trend and Comfort – on offer, Amaze buyers have a choice of features. High levels of standard equipment and uncompromising safety remain a priority on all models though.


The new Amaze is powered by a proven four-cylinder engine. The 1 199 cc unit employs Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system, ensuring optimum performance and fuel efficiency.

Maximum power output of 66 kW is reached at 6 000 r/min, while the torque peak is 110 Nm at 4 800 r/min. The baseline Amaze Trend model is available with a five-speed manual gearbox only, while buyers of the Comfort model can also opt for a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

Amaze models with manual transmission achieve a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,6 litres/100 km, and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 12,3 seconds.

The Amaze CVT versions are slightly thirstier at 5,7 litres/100 km and require 13,5 seconds to accelerate from 0-100 km/h.  

All derivatives have a rated top speed of 150 km/h. 


All Honda Amaze models are fitted with dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts front and rear, and ISOFIX child seat anchors. On the active safety front, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) are standard.


The range of exterior colours for the updated Amaze include Platinum White, Lunar Silver, Radiant Red and Meteoroid Grey, the latter being a new metallic colour.


In addition to competitive pricing, the exceptional efficiency of the new Amaze contributes to economical running costs – something which is becoming an increasingly important aspect of vehicle ownership. Additional peace of mind is provided by a two-year/30 000 km service plan.


The new Honda Amaze recommended retail pricing is as follows:

Honda Amaze 1.2 Trend: R209 100

Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort: R234 700

Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT: R252 800

The range is supported by a full five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a two-year/30 000 km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals.

Meet the Winners of Honda Quest 2021

Press Release: Honda Motor Southern Africa

Congratulations to the winners of Honda Quest 2021: Ruan Ueckermann & Neil Rieck.

The winners were announced at a victory ceremony held on November 10, 2021 at Kaleo Guest Farm.  The champions were ‘crowned’ by Yuishi Fukuda, President of Honda Motor Southern Africa.

This year’s pairs were particularly strong and the 7 teams got a taste of some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes in South Africa whilst putting their riding skills to the test. 

Just 9 days before the final event, the 14 contestants were strangers; polite and formal around each other. But within a very short period of time, no one would have believed that they had just met. It wasn’t the dust and travel grime that made them gel so well; rather, it was the adventure journey that had irrevocably changed them. 

The final tally of the adventure was very close amongst the heroic group; however, Ruan and Neil’s infectious energy, ability to approach every challenge with a smile and unwavering consistency both on and off the bike saw them richly deserving of their grand prize the Honda Africa Twin motorcycles which they competed on.

There’s a new Honda Ballade in town and it’s surprisingly impressive

My first out-of-town launch invitation for post-COVID 2020 arrived courtesy of Honda Motor Southern Africa.  The Japanese automaker was set to introduce the 8th generation Honda Ballade and the exciting Honda WR-V.  

– Vuyi mpofu, editor, heels & horsepower magazine

I had been confined to Gauteng for almost 8-months but finally, I was about to walk down the aisle – of an aeroplane – once again.   The flight was eerily empty and I felt like an extra in a horror movie; you know the one that gets killed first by the ominously mysterious forces of darkness whose only real purpose in the film is to give the viewer sleepless nights and nervous thoughts about the safety of taking a shower!

Arriving in Cape Town, my driving partner for the 2-day event asserted his masculinity and informed me that we would be driving the range-topping Honda Ballade RS first. Then he flashed his customary cheeky grin at me before graciously offering to pack my luggage into the car, and whisking them away before I could respond.  

The all-new Ballade represents many generations of Honda innovation at its best

– Dinesh Govender, Honda GM of Automobiles and Corporate

The Ballade is one of my all-time favourite products from Honda.  It was first launched in 1982 and won the hearts of many motorists, quickly becoming an iconic model in the South African motoring arena.  Now, almost 40 years later, the Ballade remains one of South Africa’s most recognisable brand names and re-enters the local motoring fray with 3-models as follows:

  • Comfort – which offers an entry-level spec grade
  • Elegance – which offers a mid-level spec grade and the
  • RS – range-topping spec grade

“With a strikingly sporty and sophisticated exterior design, exceptional interior space and an extensive list of high-tech features, the all-new Ballade represents many generations of Honda innovation at its best,” states Dinesh Govender, Honda GM of Automobiles and Corporate.

The Honda Ballade falls within the C-Segment and competes against the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3 and VW Polo sedan.


The new Ballade boasts an athletic and dynamic look and is built on the same platform as its predecessor.  However, it is larger than its out-going sibling and sits 1100mm long, 55mm wider and 10mm lower than the previous derivative. It has a long bonnet and short front overhang giving its sculptured body shape the appearance of low and wide stance. 

The Comfort and Elegance models are equipped with projector-type halogen headlights, while the range-topping RS model is fitted with LED headlights and fog lights.   All models come standard with LED daytime running lights and distinctive LED taillights that wrap around the side of the body to accentuate the vehicle’s aerodynamic design. 


The Comfort and Elegance models are equipped with 15-ich alloy (w)heels, while the RS model gains 16-inch alloys. The flagship RS model is further differentiated through the addition of exclusive RS design elements including front and rear sport bumpers, a rear trunk spoiler, a mesh-type grille and unique fog light housing.

Incidentally, Honda uniquely defines ‘RS’ as ‘Road Sailing’, which the manufacturer likens to the smooth nature of a boat sailing on water.  RS, as executed by Honda, does not mean dynamically sporty driving.  Rather RS, in Honda-speak, refers to the aesthetics of the vehicle – boot spoiler, sunroof, faux carbon-fibre diffuser and honeycombe grill. 


Inside, the Ballade is surprisingly spacious.  Rear legroom is quite impressive however headroom could be a bit of a challenge for those who are accustomed to reaching objects in high-standing cupboards.   

In the Comfort and Elegance models, occupants are greeted by high-quality fabric upholstery on the seats, while those opting for the Ballade RS, will enjoy premium leather upholstery.   The all-new Ballade’s interior is modern and driver-oriented reflecting Honda’s less-is-more design philosophy. Clearly the brief to designers was for them to focus on driver-oriented ergonomics, as is evident in the vehicle’s comfortable seating position which allows for easy access to the various vehicle controls. 


Electrically operated side mirrors and windows, cruise control, automatic air-conditioning and auto headlights are all standard features across the range. 

The flagship RS model gains a host of additional features and technology such as smart entry with walk-away auto-locking, a rear-view parking camera, electric sunroof, and an all-new intuitive 7-inch TFT multi-information display replacing the traditional analogue instrument cluster. This allows the driver to easily adjust the contents displayed on the instrument cluster via controls on the steering wheel.


The latest-generation Ballade offers a host of standard safety features across the model range. Active safety features include an advanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) which allow for more effective vehicle control. Rear parking sensors are standard on all but the base Comfort model, while the Elegance and RS models gain a reverse parking camera for added convenience.


Passive safety is provided for by driver, front passenger, side and curtain SRS airbags as standard across the model range. In addition, all models are equipped with seatbelt pre-tensioners and ISOFIX child seat anchors.

“The all-new Ballade is a product for our Honda loyalists and Honda fans alike, who have grown up with the brand in their households and who appreciate the inherent values and qualities associated with owning a Honda,” Govender says.


When I realized that the new Honda would probably still come fitted with CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) my heart sank and I was about as happy as a deflated balloon.  CVTs are really not my thing. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever seen the words ‘CVT’ and ‘excitement’ ever used in the same sentence.  They tend to be whiny, monotonous, high-pitched, headache-inducing driving companions.  Imagine getting your toddler a happy meal but driving off before collecting the toy – yeap, that’s my general demeanour when driving anything CVT related. 

That said, the new Ballade is fitted with a revised version of Honda’s Continuously Variable Transmission which features ‘G-Design’ shift control. This creates the sense of driving a traditional automatic transmission through the integration of artificial gears during acceleration, but with the enhanced efficiency of a CVT.   

The all-new Ballade is a product for our Honda loyalists and Honda fans alike, who have grown up with the brand in their households and who appreciate the inherent values and qualities associated with owning a Honda.


The new Honda Ballade still features a 1.5-litre petrol engine but unlike the 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC unit in the outgoing Ballade, the latest model has a new and improved 1.5-litre DOHC engine (with iVTEC technology). The Ballade’s new heart, beats a slightly higher power output of 89kW and 145Nm of torque. 


When it was my turn at the wheel, I had the look of a toddler who had discovered not one but two toys in her happy meal!  I was awe-struck by the on-road stability of the new Ballade, which I attribute to its low centre of gravity.   The engine didn’t feel at all underpowered and believe me, I pushed our test unit as far as I safely could, just to see when the engine would start to complain. I also couldn’t believe the CVT wasn’t screaming blue murder and I wondered if it would tell me where to get off if I prodded it long and hard enough.  


Thankfully I didn’t place any bets on such an eventuality because I would have been out of pocket.  The new Ballade took my ‘abuse’ in stride and didn’t as much as a murmur in defiance.  

The highlight of the drive for me though was the revised CVT, which had me doing a hypothetical moon-walk, backwards in my head. Not only is it as silent as a radio during load-shedding, but I was also pleased with its quick responsiveness.  It didn’t go on an infuriatingly endless hunt-for-the-right-gear which CVTs tend to do.  

Although I was extremely impressed by the Ballade’s drive and performance, I am still not ready to give it my all.  The launch took place at sea-level where most vehicles put their best foot forward by default. The real test will be when I get the Ballade on test in my natural habitat, Gauteng, which is at a much higher altitude than Cape Town.   At that point, we will know for sure if I can fully recommend the new Ballade as the newest member of anybody’s family. 


You would think that after driving as hard as I did, the new Ballade might have emptied its tank in silent revenge but it didn’t.  Honda claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 5.5-litres per 100km which I am inclined to optimistically accept at this point.  I will have a better sense of what the efficiency might be when I drive the Ballade in Gauteng and in a more mild-mannered way.

According to Founder of Green Building Design Group and Green Mobility Guru for Driving In Heels, Songo Didiza, the carbon emissions of 131g/km in the new Honda Ballade is quite impressive. “There are motorcycles with higher carbon emissions than this”, she added.   


The colour line-up for the new Ballade includes a new Platinum White (Pearl), Radiant Red (Metallic), Lunar Silver (Metallic) and Modern Steel (Metallic)


Based on its performance at launch, I give the Ballade a confident 7 heels out of 10


For additional peace of mind, the Honda Ballade range comes standard with Honda’s five-year/200 000 warranty, as well as a four-year/60 000km Service Plan with 15 000km service intervals. Customers also have the reassurance of three-year AA Roadside Assistance.


Ballade 1.5 Comfort CVT                                 R336 500

Ballade 1.5 Elegance CVT                               R366 900

Ballade 1.5 RS CVT                                          R396 900

Go to @heelsandhorspowermag (Instagram) for on location images of the launch.