Guardian Express - - DRIVE WAY - Iain Curry

HONDA’S CR-V has been part of Aus­tralia’s SUV land­scape for more than 20 years, and has forged a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most prac­ti­cal and de­pend­able soft-road­ers on our market.

The fifth-gen­er­a­tion CR-V ar­rived in July this year, mean­ing fourth-gen­er­a­tion models, launched in late 2012, are swelling the used car clas­si­fieds as loyal own­ers look to up­grade.

These Thai-built five-seat CR-Vs are renowned for their fam­ily-friendly space with ex­cel­lent rear legroom and size­able boot, plus a rea­son­able claim for ride and han­dling be­ing truly car-like.

Don’t ex­pect much off-road abil­ity though, even with all­wheel-drive.

If we look at the fourth-gen CR-Vs from their Novem­ber 2012 in­tro­duc­tion through to mid-2015 there are hun­dreds on the used market, a re­minder that these were, for a time, Aus­tralia’s best-selling petrol mid-size SUVs.

Two petrol and one diesel en­gine were avail­able (all four­cylin­ders), trans­mis­sion was a six-speed man­ual or five-speed auto, and you chose be­tween front or all-wheel drive.

A trawl through the clas­si­fieds re­veals all-wheel drive, petrols and au­to­mat­ics were the pop­u­lar picks, and they’ve held their value well.

CR-Vs of this vin­tage start at about $17,000 for a man­ual front-drive, while all-paw and more pow­er­ful ver­sions can be had from about the mid-$20K mark.

Tow­ing ca­pac­ity is aver­age for all at 1500kg.

The en­try-level VTi came with a rather gut­less 114kW 2.0-litre en­gine and fron­twheel drive. Good­ies in­cluded 17-inch al­loys, cruise con­trol, rear cam­era, Blue­tooth and USB con­nec­tiv­ity.

This spec was mir­rored in the base all-wheel drive VTi that used a meatier 140kW 2.4litre petrol en­gine and came only with an auto gear­box.

The VTi-S AWD ver­sion added rain-sens­ing wipers, fog lights, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, leather steer­ing wheel, sat­nav and rear park­ing sen­sors. The CR-V is cer­tainly the choice for small fam­i­lies on the school run rather than dirt track ad­ven­tur­ers.

En­gines are smooth if hardly thrilling but, for those seek­ing a com­posed and comfy ride with im­pres­sive space, the mid-size Honda holds the aces.

Bonuses are an abun­dance of stor­age bins and bot­tle hold­ers, plus an easy one-touch fold­ing set-up for drop­ping the rear seats to ex­pand cargo room from 556L to 1648L.

Com­fort­able, spa­cious and so far very re­li­able, the CR-V ticks key boxes for fam­i­lies. Aim for an AWD ver­sion with the perkier 2.4-litre en­gine or, if you travel longer dis­tances or need to tow, seek out one of the rare diesel models.

Honda CR-V has held up well in the used market.

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