Monday, September 10, 2018


2018 Honda CR-V 1.6L Diesel Turbo AWD 9AT at the American Cemetery, Taguig

By Monch Henares

Buying a car in the ’60s to the early ’90s was such a simple task. We only had to ask ourselves three main things before deciding on the make, engine size, and color. 

Number one, did we want a two-door coupé or a four-door sedan? Single men would always go for the two-door, because it exuded more machismo and made them look handsome, as some bilib-sa–sarili guys would claim. It is proven that a two-door coupé attracted the ladies and gave sort of a playboy feel, while a four-door sedan gave a more family and married with kids feel. I always wondered why a coupé was more expensive than a sedan with the latter having more doors, thus having more parts, right?

Number two, did we want to drive it with an automatic transmission or a manual stick-shift? Because an automatic transmission was an expensive option at the time, the majority of the cars plying the streets had the standard 4-speed manual type. Everyone in those days learned to drive a stick-shift, so shifting to an automatic was not a nightmare. Today, a good percentage of drivers can’t even drive a stick. They are missing all the fun.

Number three, did we want an air-conditioner installed? I remember it being so expensive to have an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) system installed. That’s why aftermarket air-conditioning shops like Mac Frost and Denso became a big name. We even had a choice of a built-in unit or a hanging type. The former was more difficult to install because it required the removal of the whole dashboard. It looked neater and resembled the OEM type, but it wasn’t as efficient as a hanging type that usually was installed under the glove box and always froze the front passenger to a block of ice. Thank God, ice-cold and efficient air-conditioning now comes standard on all the new cars.

Today, it is such a stressful experience for the regular Juan to choose and buy the right car.  Juan has to go through a ton of options to choose from. He has to take into account several factors and options for safety, convenience, body kits, engines (diesel or gasoline), and luxury.

I have helped several friends and readers choose the right vehicle for them. I first ask them what they will be using the car for.  What is more important to them? Is it safety, convenience, comfort, luxury, or the driving experience? The most important question is their budget. All these extra options don’t come cheap.

2018 Honda CRV 1.6L Diesel Turbo 9AT AWD standing proud

I recently test-drove a vehicle that had mostly all the options and features Juan would dream of. That vehicle was the 2018 Honda CRV 1.6L Diesel Turbo 9AT AWD.  Driving it up to the City of Pines was such a pleasure. I actually felt like a king, having all the comfort, protection, and power.

Earth Dreams 1.6L Diesel Turbo Engine, 120 HP w/ 300 NM of Torque

I love that it has a 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine mated with a 9-speed automatic transmission that is cockpit-controlled, with a push-button Electronic Gear Selector.  It had the power of a bull, and the precision of a timepiece climbing the steep inclines of Kennon Road.

7-inch touch-screen Infotainment System

Helping us find the best route was its Garmin navigation system, which is built-in to its 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. There is nothing more to add to this system. It’s a computer, GPS, entertainment, and voice-activated communication device all rolled into one.

We all felt protected with the front and side curtain airbags ready to surround us with the utmost safety in the event of a collision. Keeping us glued to the road were four Michelin Primacy 4 tires which are one of the safest tires in the market.

Honda SENSING™ at a touch of a button

What really sets this vehicle apart from the rest is the Honda SENSING™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies that comprises Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-speed Follow (LSF), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS).

Watch the Monchster Review: HONDA "SENSING" below.

The Honda sensing and cruise control, once set to your desired speed and distance, would brake and accelerate for you even at low speeds. Truly hi-tech stuff. What else will they think of? 

The Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) was so amusing. It uses cameras upfront and the system recognizes the broken lines on the road that keeps you in the middle of the lane at all times. 

Obviously, convenience is all over this in this Honda CRV with the presence of automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding mirrors, parking camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, and notably, an Electric Power Tailgate.

Car companies like Honda spend millions of dollars in research and development. Their main thrust is safety, convenience, fuel economy, comfort, and most important is the end-user. Cars may cost about 50 times the amount they did 50 years ago, but all that increase went to a safer, more economical, more reliable, convenient automobile, thus making it worth its value.

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Monch "Monchster" Henares is a feature writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer's "Road Talk", media blogger @ MonchsterChronicles, tech and motoring specialist, inventor, and automotive engineer. He managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He is now based in Manila, Philippines and is the President of BuidMeUp Corp.
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