Honda’s CR-V wants to prove it­self as civilised on tar­mac as in the mud

The Herald Business - - Motoring -

WITH the new CR-V, Honda is try­ing to find the au­to­mo­tive elixir of a chunky 4x4 that drives like a car to pla­cate the green lobby but still ap­peals to mums on the school run. Tech­ni­cal prac­ti­cal­ity comes in the shape of Honda’s in­tel­li­gent four-wheel-drive sys­tem. The CR-V uses what it calls “real time” four­wheel-drive.

In con­trast to ri­vals which have per­ma­nent 4WD, and thus are less fuel-ef­fi­cient, the CRV’s sys­tem di­rects the power to the front wheels in nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions and only di­verts it rear­wards when it senses the front tyres are strug­gling for grip.

One of the pri­mary re­sults is that it’s a de­light to drive on the road. It also means it’s far friend­lier to the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists than they would oth­er­wise ex­pect. The 2.0 i-VTEC petrol ver­sion pro­duces 200g/km of CO2 while the diesel does even bet­ter at 173g/km.

The latest CR-V has a lower cen­tre of grav­ity, wider stance and a num­ber of changes to steer­ing and sus­pen­sion ge­om­e­try which have all helped to en­hance han­dling.

Im­prove­ments made to the driv­ing dy­nam­ics are re­flected in the styling of the ve­hi­cle, es­pe­cially the coupe-like ta­per­ing side win­dow profile

The front has been given a dis­tinc­tive dou­ble grille as the fo­cal point, flanked by pro­jec­torstyle head­lights and a large bumper. It all makes for a mus­cu­lar front end, em­pha­sised by the car’s wide track and 17 or 18-inch wheels.

At the rear, a ver­ti­cally open­ing tail­gate is the main de­sign fea­ture and the spare wheel has gone from the door and is now un­der the load com­part­ment floor.

Two ac­tive safety sys­tems are avail­able, and they’re unique to the SUV seg­ment. The first, adap­tive cruise con­trol (ACC) is a radar­con­trolled cruise con­trol func­tion which main­tains a set dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle in front, while col­li­sion mit­i­ga­tion brak­ing sys­tem (CMBS) pre­dicts col­li­sions and warns the driver, be­fore ap­ply­ing strong brak­ing and re­tract­ing the front seat­belts if the sit­u­a­tion be­comes crit­i­cal. Both sys­tems are op­tional de­pend­ing on spec­i­fi­ca­tion grade.

Inside the cabin, ac­com­mo­da­tion re­mains gen­er­ous with sim­i­lar di­men­sions to the pre­vi­ous model. Load space is ex­tended back­wards and ac­cess is im­proved by larger doors that open wider, and lower sills.

The in­te­rior is high qual­ity, fea­tur­ing metal­lic el­e­ments on the dash­board. Front seats are larger and more com­fort­able and the steer­ing col­umn is ad­justable for reach as well as rake. Re­lo­ca­tion of the gear lever to the base of the cen­tre stack cre­ates more floor space.

Pas­sive safety mea­sures in­clude dual stage SRS front airbags, side airbags for front seat pas­sen­gers, full-length cur­tain airbags, front and rear seat­belt re­minders and ac­tive front head­rests. All are stan­dard.

Power comes from a new 2.0-litre petrol or a 2.2 diesel en­gine. Honda’ s cel­e­brated 140PS 2.2-litre i-CTDi diesel con­tin­ues and re­mains the pick of the bunch.

Its at­trac­tion has grown fur­ther as aero­dy­namic ef­fi­ciency has im­proved by 12% re­sult­ing in even bet­ter fuel econ­omy.

Prices for the new CR-V – which has three spec lev­els, SE, ES and EX – start at £17,872 for the en­try-level 2.0S petrol and rise to £26,772 for the 2.0EX. The cheap­est diesel is the 2.2 i-CDTI at £19,102 with the most ex­pen­sive oil­burner, the 2.2EX com­ing in at £26,802.

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