When you’re on a good thing ...

Honda was an early adopter in the SUV field and its fourth-gen­er­a­tion CR-V stuck to the blueprint

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - with Gra­ham Smith

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A GREAT all-rounder for to­day’s av­er­age fam­ily, the SUV is an at­trac­tive blend of prac­ti­cal­ity, flex­i­bil­ity and com­fort that also adds the safety, drive­abil­ity and per­for­mance of the sedans and hatches we used to favour.

When Honda, an early adopter of the genre, came out with the first CR-V in 1997 the seg­ment wasn’t as crowded as it is now. De­spite the in­tense com­pe­ti­tion, the fourth­gen­er­a­tion CR-V had many fans when it ar­rived in 2012.

It stuck with the same suc­cess­ful for­mula of a high­rid­ing, com­pact wagon. There were three mod­els, front and all-wheel drive, and petrol and diesel en­gines. The cabin had am­ple ac­com­mo­da­tion for five adults with their gear, the dash and con­sole were well laid-out and the con­trols were easy to use.

Ini­tial en­gine op­tions were petrol fours of 2.0-litre and 2.4litre ca­pac­ity. Honda re­sponded to the grow­ing de­mand for diesel in 2013.

Per­for­mance of the fours was mod­est, par­tic­u­larly the smaller mo­tor, which could feel stretched when fully loaded. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel brought lower fuel con­sump­tion but also the drive­abil­ity that comes with diesel torque.

The trans­mis­sion choices for all en­gines were a six-speed man­ual or a five-speed auto. Some other brands stuck diesel buy­ers with man­ual gear­boxes but Honda did the right thing, op­tion­ing the 2.2 with the fivespeed auto for a more pleas­ant driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. If

Honda was tardy with its diesel it didn’t miss out on a wagon with­out the cost and weight of AWD.

As a re­sult buy­ers could opt for a sim­pler front-wheel drive model, as well as those with the on-de­mand all-wheel drive.

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Honda has long been renowned for its de­sign and build qual­ity, and this Thai-built CR-V was sim­i­larly highly rated.

Own­ers we con­sulted gen­er­ally had high praise for their cars. The main com­plaints that came out of our sur­vey were that the air­con­di­tion­ing isn’t great, and the per­for­mance of the 2.0-lite petrol en­gine is ad­e­quate, but not thrilling.

In some re­spects Honda took a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach with the fourth gen­er­a­tion, such as stick­ing to a con­ven­tional auto trans­mis­sion while oth­ers plunged into new-age al­ter­na­tive au­tos, such as the dual-clutch ex­am­ples and CVTs.

That’s good news for those un­con­vinced by the new au­tos — they don’t have to worry about the gl­itches that are plagu­ing the new­com­ers.

The CR-V is no off-roader, so be wary of any car that ap­pears to have been used that way. The best thing to do is to walk away, there are heaps of CR-Vs out there that have been well treated and they are the ones to look for.

Also check for a ser­vice record that shows the car has been well main­tained.

OWN­ERS SAY

Jim Adams We have a 2.0-litre VTi and it’s OK but not out­stand­ing. It’s noisy, guz­zles fuel, the air­con is poor and the cabin feels cheap. Will David­son Apart from the air­con, which is rub­bish, we like our 2.0-litre VTi-L. Over­all it is com­fort­able, per­forms well and has been re­li­able. Ge­orge Hodg­son I bought my 2011 2.4-litre AWD VTi-L new and it has been great. It’s good to drive, is eco­nom­i­cal and the cabin is spa­cious. He­len Burns We have a 2.0-litre VTi and find it pleas­ant around town and nice on the high­way, although the ac­cel­er­a­tion isn’t great. The cabin is spa­cious and com­fort­able but the air­con isn’t very pow­er­ful. Jill Robert­son We have a 2.0-litre VTi-S FWD and we think it’s a great fam­ily car. It drives well and is com­fort­able but could do with more power.

SMITHY SAYS

Gen­er­ally sound SUV choice for the fam­ily on the move.

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