Weekend Courier - - Driveway - Bill Buys

HOW did Honda get that much room into such a com­pact SUV?

Its CR-V has al­ways been gen­er­ous in space and fit­ment, but the lat­est one is a ver­i­ta­ble model of what can be achieved with mod­ern pack­ag­ing.

The car is just 11mm (about the width of a skinny pinkie) longer than its pre­de­ces­sor, but the wheel­base has been in­creased 40mm, it's a bit wider too, yet the in­te­rior space has swelled to such pro­por­tions that there's even a seven-seater avail­able in its five-model range.

All use the same pow­er­train: a re­tuned ver­sion of the Civic's 1.5-litre turbo four cylin­der and it drives through a con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion.

There's 90mm more rear legroom, more shoul­der room front and rear, and a much big­ger cargo hold, now able to swal­low 522 litres or 1084 litres with the 60/40 split­fold rear seat folded flat.

In the lat­ter mode, you can chuck down a rug and eas­ily sleep in it, or load up Ikea's big­gest chal­lenge and have room to spare.

It's ob­vi­ously some­what less so in the seven seater, but our spacewa­gen was the flag­ship five-seat CR-V VTi-LX, the sole model with all-wheel drive.

It costs $44,290, with oth­ers priced from $30,690. The seven-seater is $38,990.

Its good looks apart, it's also well pre­sented in­side and the dash­board in­cludes a a tri-view re­verse cam­era and a 7.0-inch colour touch­screen with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto smart­phone mir­ror­ing, a bin­na­cle with colour dis­play, a clear rib­bon­type rev counter and a prom­i­nent dig­i­tal speed read-out.

The seats are fine and there's good vis­i­bil­ity all round plus lots of odd­ment stor­age, cuphold­ers, door pock­ets and USB out­lets front and rear.

The VTi-LX runs on 18-inch al­loys and is richly ap­pointed with the lat­est in elec­tronic safety fea­tures, such as au­to­mated emer­gency brak­ing, for­ward col­li­sion and lane de­par­ture warn­ings. It has a vast panoramic sun­roof, leather trim, 8-speaker dig­i­tal ra­dio and self­lev­el­ling LED head­lights.

There's also a pow­ered tail­gate with pro­gram­mable open­ing height so you can tai­lor it to suit your garage roof. We also liked the wide an­gle mir­ror in the sun­glass holder that gives front-seat oc­cu­pants a view of what those in the back are up to. What does it drive like? The 140kW/240Nm en­gine is smooth, quiet, eco­nom­i­cal and runs along hap­pily in the city and open coun­try roads.

Rob got bet­ter than nine litres/100km in the ur­ban traf­fic crawl and be­low eight on the open road.

The colour ini­tially looked black, but was in fact a deep metal­lic green, and bronze in some light. Honda calls it Mid­night For­est. Rob just calls it ‘spec­tac­u­lar’.

Ver­dict: A pleas­ant, well built ve­hi­cle with sure-footed han­dling, big on com­fort, safety, and, did we men­tion space? Im­pres­sive.

Spaced out... Honda’s CR-V.

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