Hon­daout of the rut

The CR-V of­fers some­thing for both town and coun­try, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - In The Garage -

IAM gen­er­ally not a fan of on­de­mand all-wheel-drive sys­tems off-road but the more time I spend with our long-term Honda CR-V, the more im­pressed I am.

Al­low­ing for the fact that it was never in­tended to be a rugged bush basher, the com­pact Honda can get it­self into — and out of — some im­pres­sively rut­ted trails.The only thing hold­ing the CR-V back from gen­uinely gnarly off-road tracks is the rub­ber.

Swap the road-ori­ented 17-inch 225/65 tyres for some all-ter­rain units and the 185mm ground clear­ance will then be the only thing you have to worry about.

The Honda was used as a pack car for a run in a re­cent Nis­san Navara out­ing and it lost ground only when the roads be­came treach­er­ously mushy. By that stage the Navara was also slid­ing in high-range 4WD.

But on its home ter­ri­tory — roads — the CR-V eats 4WDs. It is more car than off-roader with the zip, han­dling and size to make it a city com­muter.

MacPher­son struts take care of the front sus­pen­sion with a multi-link set- up at the rear. It takes silly speeds for the front end to start push­ing and at reg­u­lar pace it gen­uinely drives like a high-rid­ing sedan.

Park­ing is easy, though my wife says it could still do with the sen­sors that are stan­dard on the high­er­specced Lux­ury model.

She has no com­plaints about the load ca­pac­ity and the tail­gate lifts up eas­ily.

This is the third gen­er­a­tion of the CR-V and it was launched in Aus­tralia in 2007. As such, it’s start­ing to show its age in ar­eas such as the fivespeed auto trans­mis­sion when its ri­vals have six, lack of Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and no iPod/ USB con­nec­tion to the sound sys­tem.

The of­fi­cial fuel use is 10 litres for 100km and cars­Guide has av­er­aged 11.8, but we are us­ing the E10 ethanol mix, which should ac­count for about 10 per cent more.

Ver­sa­tile: the Honda CR-V can tame the bush as a com­pact SUV but is much more at home on the bi­tu­men.

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