Honda CR-V £n/a
WE SAY: IF YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN, LOOK AWAY NOW – NOTHING TO SEE HERE. BUT IF YOU DO...
Honda makes exciting cars. Shame the CR-V isn’t one of them. From the all-new, fifth generation of the world’s best-selling SUV (yes, really), we’re promised better handling, more space, safety and tech and much besides. As indeed we’re promised from every car. But the big news is that this time around, Honda won’t offer a diesel engine. In a small SUV. Where, for all its sins, it still does the numbers. Brave.
Until the hybrid arrives next year, your only option is the 1.5-litre 4cyl petrol from the Civic. It’s fine. Well-mannered as anything around town, although despite trick noise-cancelling tech, things get a little louder when you start to plunder the depths of its power and torque reserves.
This isn’t helped by the transmission. If you want AWD, you have to have a CVT. Shame – if there’s one thing Honda does better than any other mainstream carmaker, it’s manual gearboxes. And CVTs are generally awful. This one isn’t the worst – provided all you do is pootle, it won’t annoy you. Much. The infotainment most definitely will, though, as it’s rubbish. The steering and ride impress, though. The former is well-weighted and direct and the latter especially well mannered. But this is a family SUV. How it drives is secondary to its main purpose – carrying stuff, such as people. Five or, if you’re prepared to sacrifice a few litres of bootspace (and a valid excuse for not giving four of your kid’s friends a lift home), seven. And they’re good ones, if a bit harder to manipulate than rivals’. It has a boot too. And it’s big. The new CR-V is the same size as the car it replaces (a rarity these days) – mainly because Honda has stretched the wheelbase by 30mm (pushing the wheels closer to the corners) and widened the track so you get more space inside.
This is A Good Family Car. Spacious, comfortable, reasonable to drive and, as it’s a Honda, it should comfortably outlast its first eight owners. And their kids. Bit dull. But aren’t they all? TOM HARRISON