Honda CR-V 1.6L i-DTEC – A Great All-Rounder

Honda CR-V, Howards Motor GroupWe took the previous model CR-V White Edition on a South Coast road trip last October and found that it was a good and versatile SUV from the Honda stable. You can read about our trip here and much of what that reveals is carried over in the new vehicle. The good news is that some of the niggles have been resolved and now it’s a cracking family vehicle.

The tested version came in range-topping EX trim with pearlescent paint and Honda SENSING technology (more on that below) plus four-wheel drive which made the price at the showroom door a not insubstantial £34,520. The new high-tech gadgetry however is worthwhile but if your budget can’t stretch to it, the range starts at a more modest £22k with a two-wheel driving version and many alternatives in between (see the spec sheet below).Honda CR-V, Howards Motor Group

For 2015 the Honda CR-V – available from a comprehensive dealer network including the established Howards Motor Group – gains a comprehensive range of enhancements including the new 1.6L diesel engine (CO² 133g/km – 158bhp) fitted to our car with a manual six-speed box. Buyers can alternatively choose the new nine-speed automatic. The diesel replaces the old 2.2L diesel motor from the previous model. We consistently saw over 40mpg which is good for a large 4WD motor. A more abstemious driver utilising the big green ECO button could no doubt improve upon that. If mileage isn’t an issue there’s petrol engines in the catalogue too.

Inside The Box

Although this car appears on paper to be a bit pricey the company have used more high-quality materials variously around the cabin. The standard seven-inch touchscreen looks great and to keep the dash neat the CD player lies hidden behind the screen, to be revealed at the touch of a button. In fact, the car is festooned with handy features like this.Honda CR-V, Howards Motor Group

There’s the rubber overmat in the cavernous boot (with powered tailgate) for muddy days, thus protecting the carpet. The rear seats split and, at the simple pull of a cord, collapse and fold themselves to increase the load space to an enormous 1146L. Tech-heads should be satisfied with 3 twelve volt sockets (one in the boot) plus 2 USB points and even an HDMI socket. I particularly liked the floor mats. They are a generous size and fit perfectly. This helped make cleaning the interior a doddle.

I found the inside a bit sombre, although the big glass roof helped, and some of the plentiful pockets, cup-holders and storage collected dust to easily for my liking but most folk will be happy with the quality and comfort overall. All the controls are nicely placed and easy to use. The usual suspects were on parade; Bluetooth, climate, and so on being present and correct. Music streaming is a straightforward exercise.

On The Road

The driving position gives you a good view of the road without feeling too elevated, while on the move the soft suspension and well-weighted steering make long-distance driving a cinch despite the big 18” alloys. With the 1.6L diesel engine I used the manual first and second gears to move away and creep but once into its stride the long third power picked things up and the SUV really got going with ample performance for overtaking and the like.

Honda have clearly put some effort improving the CR-V’s high-speed refinement. Bosses say the revised version is six percent quieter thanks to new sound absorption in the doors and pillars, plus the front end is better sealed in an attempt at reducing wind noise. New carpets and dash materials improve things even further. At motorway speeds I have to admit that all was serene with hardly a wind murmur even from around the big door mirrors.Honda CR-V, Howards Motor GroupHonda SENSING is a new suite of driver assist-technologies that can help you
sense things you might miss while driving. In some cases, they can even help you avoid a collision or mitigate its severity. Included in the package is a Collision Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping and Lane Warning plus Honda LaneWatch which helps decrease your passenger-side blind spot when changing lanes. When you use your right turn signal, a view of the passenger lane with nearly four times more area than the mirror alone appears on the Display Audio screen. Your dealer has all the nitty-gritty.Honda CR-V, Howards Motor Group

I haven’t driven the nine-speed auto yet, but it seems to me to be the preferred choice. There are flappy paddles behind the wheel apparently but this is not a car for keen drivers. Certainly, Honda have made the CR-V more responsive; the track is wider and there’s an extra half a degree of positive camber allegedly, but the fact is this SUV is for all-round family use and it serves no purpose to try and hustle it along. Sit back and chill, that’s my advice.

Verdict

SUV buyers of the world can’t all be wrong. The Honda CR-V is consistently one of the best sellers on the market despite the fact that some competitors are cheaper. It feels robust, the interior has all you need and is roomy and comfortable. Outside there’s many smart styling tweaks to keep the design fresh. Although it’s not a car that engenders thrills it is a vehicle that you know will take you and your family up hill and down dale safely and you can’t say fairer than that.Honda CR-V, Howards Motor Group
Geoff Maxted