Honda keeps up the quality with latest CR-V
HONDA was quick off the mark and into the soft-roader market with its CR-V in 1995. The first imports were in 1997 and it set a standard for refinement with a modest off-road ability should you need it.
In those days, it was fashionable and reasonably practical to mount the spare wheel on the tailgate – albeit adding to the length of the vehicle and making the opening action heavier and more cumbersome. The vehicle would shudder when the tailgate was swung shut.
This first model had a tray in the boot for wet storage, and even a shower accessory, for hosing off muddy boots or dogs.
The wheel came inboard in 2007 as the CR-V moved up from recreational vehicle to lifestyle vehicle.
Since 2000, it has been built in Swindon, Wiltshire, for export to more than 60 countries.
The 2007 model was revised for 2010 with minor styling changes and a new diesel engine with the option of a five-speed automatic gearbox. This current model went on sale last January.
Prices start at £21,005 for the SE grade which has 17in alloys and not quite all of the kit you’d expect. The automatic is £22,355. The 2.2 diesel is £22,880, or £24,404 with automatic gears. Both engines deliver 148bhp but the diesel gets there at lower engine speed and has far more torque. It is not only more economical, but quicker accelerating than the petrol model.
My test car was the 2-litre petrol CR-V with manual gears. Key figures are 34.9mpg, 190g/km CO2 and 10.2 seconds for 0-62mph. The diesel’s data are: 43.5mpg, 171g/km and 9.6 seconds. The automatic gears knock the shine off all these results, but the diesel automatic is seen as an important model to compete with key rivals.
A feature I found useful on the CR-V was the lower parcel shelf, a stiff platform which allows demarcation of loads. This is not supplied with the base SE model. Honda says you can get a set of golf clubs under the lower shelf, or two mountain bikes in the load area when the seats are flat. I found the fit better by taking off the front wheels.
Air conditioning is standard on all three versions. ES grades (from £22,805 for petrol) have cruise control, the double-deck cargo space, electric folding mirrors, leather/Alcantara heated seats, headlight washers, front fog lights, leather steering wheel and gear knob, rear parking sensors, unique interior inlay trims and a USB connector for an iPod.
The EX (from £26,405) has DVD voice-activated satellite navigation with premium audio and subwoofer, full leather upholstery with front heated seats, Xenon headlights and auto headlight -on function, rain-sensing wipers, reverse tilt mirror and eight-way driver powered seats, a panoramic glass roof, which runs from the top of the windscreen and stretches over the rear seat occupants.
A reversing camera is fitted as standard on EX models, and optional on ES models with satellite navigation. The rear seats are split 40/20/40 so the centre perch is squeezed. The seats slide by 15cm (nearly six inches).
Verdict: One of my favourite town-to-country 4x4s. The navigation advice on the test car was slow to kick in and missed some roundabouts completely – and these were not newly installed.
Economy on test was 30 to 32 miles a gallon. It drives very nicely and feels almost like a car. Body styling is a matter of opinion. Mine is that it could be better. The front looks a bit dishevelled. More: 0845 2008000. Or: Freelander, Sportage, Hyundai ix35, BMW X1, Kuga, XC60, X-Trail, RAV4, Qashqai and the Tiguan all pitch in to this sector.
OUT AND ABOUT: Honda’s latest CR-V.