Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Honda Roadtrip: CR-V’ing to La Union

Lagalog is really the commuting and walking type at heart.  But when Honda sent an invite for road testing the 2010 CR-V from Manila to La Union, I considered myself fortunate to have two weekdays free.  Besides, I’ve always passed through La Union for trips farther north but never really stopped long enough for more than a cursory look.
At first, I thought I was an oddity in our batch, the lone blogger among motoring beat mainstream media members – Michelle Callanta of Gadgets Magazine; Steven Yu, Patrick Tadeo and Mikko David of Top Gear Magazine/Online; Eric Tipan of Jam 88.3/C! Magazine; Anjo Perez of Manila Bulletin Cruising; and race car legend, Mike Potenciano with my friend, Lindy Pellicer, of Turbo Time.  But as it turned out, the trip went well; it’s a road trip after all and it's right down Lagalog’s alley.

The trip took us through the ultra-smooth NLEX and from Pampanga onwards, through the small roads leading to La Union that alternate between rough and uneven, smooth-flowing and crawling with tricycles, buses and motorbikes; the better to test the car’s comfort level, road handling and nimbleness.

Lacking sleep the days leading to the trip, I was a willing passenger on the way to Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, some 274 kilometers from Manila and while the 2.0 CRV’s ride was comfortable I felt it was wanting in power when overtaking on smaller roads and getting back on the lane quickly enough. (But I must say that the Urban Titanium shade was really way cool!).
As an avid commuter, I am used to bumpy rides (the rougher, the better to sleep) but hey, I sure can appreciate smooth ones.  The CR-V ride was consistently smooth throughout.  I can’t hear anything much from outside which is good, so that calls for music for the long drive.  

The built-in USB cable is a welcome feature though I wish there was an iPod/MP3 player cable as well (as I've forgotten to bring my iPod USB cable).  The cabin’s quietness only underscored the audio system’s lack of bassy-ness which was more apparent at the back than the front seats.


The Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point with its Mediterranean-inspired architecture served as a cool backdrop to the stylish lines of the CR-V (think white CR-V against the white walled Greek-inspired architecture). The spiffy accommodations and the nice sunset along the rocky shore were added treats. 

A road trip wouldn’t be complete without the eats so there were food stops along the way including a really memorable lunch on day two at Claude Tayag’s Bale Dutung (read about it at happyfoodies.com).

I got my turn to drive on the way back and there was a palpable difference in passing power (especially after we discovered the "hidden magic" button at the side of the stick, go figure). My only complaint: the trip seemed to be too short to enjoy the comfy ride.  In conclusion, while I’m a backpacker and avid hiker, if I would have to ride/drive for a road trip, this car would be really cool. 

This trip was made possible by an invite from Honda Cars, Philippines,  for the Honda CR-V Discovering Crossover Test Drive.  Lagal[og] thanks Hiroshi Shimizu, HCP President; Sheryl Delos Santos of the Public Relations Division; and Christopher Chan of the Marketing Sales Department for this road trip.
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