HONDA CR-V: efficient proposition

IS it really as far back as 1995 that Diana gave ‘that’ interview to the Beeb’s Martin Bashir? And was it really that long ago that they started selling appliances with pre-wired plugs for the first time?

1995 was notable for some significant deaths – Fred Perry, ex-PM Harold Wilson, Ronnie Kray, Fred West (no real loss there, obviously) but also for one significant birth – Honda’s CR-V.

In a year that also saw the MG name make a return with the MGF, Honda saw fit to hit these shores with its super-practical SUV, and it’s a winning formula that has found some five million homes worldwide in those 18 years.

Now, with a more chunky and rugged look, yet being slightly smaller in terms of length and height, it still comes with that valuable commodity that families crave in a car – loads of space.

Plus, for the first time in Europe, CR-V has a choice of either two or four wheel drive.

The new aggressive look is a definite improvement on its predecessor and instantly gives the CR-V a bit more appeal and less anonymity.

Its biggest plus point for me is the fact that hidden inside that smart new exterior is a very useful boot. Vast, in fact.

It’s got a wide opening and the loading height is low, though the tailgate doesn’t quite extend out of “ouch, *@*&!” territory, so big blokes beware. And big babes too, for that matter.

Even with the seats up it’s got a capacity of 589 litres, and if you need the rear seats down just pull one of the handles on either side at the back and they fold flat in one easy motion.

In the back there’s more than enough room to allow three adults to travel in comfort and with a flat floor they can stretch their legs without obstructions. And for those who need to know these things, the hip point of the rear seats has been lowered by nearly 4 cms to give a better seating position as well as more headroom.

The front cabin doesn’t disappoint either, with above average head, leg and shoulder room and a good all round view through the glass.

Considering its price tag the CR-V lacks a bit in the quality of the dash area – the plastics used don’t quite live up to the picture painted by the exterior of the car, but there’s no denying the high level of equipment. S trimmed CR-Vs get plenty to begin with, SE adds extras like a rear view camera, electric mirrors, Bluetooth, and park sensors, with the SR sampled here adding in bigger 18 inch alloys, rear privacy glass, a premium DAB audio system, ambient light in the door lining, half leather and alcantara trim, active cornering light system and roof rails. So no skimping on equipment.

CR-V has always found favour for its car-like driving dynamics. There’s a bit of roll but nothing that makes you want to grip the wheel tighter for reassurance, because everything hidden away underneath is doing what it’s supposed to. The brakes are good, the gearbox is a model of precision, and the smooth and refined 2.2 i-DTEC engine has more than enough grunt to cope with everyday motoring situations.

CR-V also comes with an ECON setting, to help with the fuel bills. You’ll notice a green ring round the main central speedo when you’re doing it right.

Its relatively high price might put some off, but they’d be missing out on a British built car that is now a more efficient proposition than before.

AT A GLANCE: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC SR 4wd; £28,540; six speed manual gearbox; 150ps, 350Nm; 0-62mph 9.7 secs, top speed 118mph; Fuel – urban 42.2, extra urban 53.3, combined 48.7; CO2 154g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4570/1820/1650 (l/w/h).

© Wheelwrite 2013

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