The Honda CR-V has been with us for over twenty years now, going through various iterations until the latest model released early in 2015. Over that time almost all of the niggles have been ironed out and now the CR-V has established itself as a cracking family vehicle.
The version we tested this time came in range-topping EX trim, metallic paint and Honda’s ‘Sensing’ technology (more on that below) plus four-wheel drive. This means the price ticket reads a not insubstantial £35,110. The new high-tech gadgetry however is worthwhile but if your budget isn’t large enough to cope then the range starts at a more modest £22k with a basic (and perfectly good) two-wheel driving version with many alternatives in between.
The Honda CR-V offers a comprehensive range of options including the a new 1.6L diesel engine (CO² 134g/km – 158bhp) as fitted to our car with a manual six-speed box. Buyers can alternatively choose the new nine-speed automatic in the 4WD version. This lively diesel replaces the clunky old 2.2L diesel motor from the previous model. We consistently saw over 40mpg which is pretty good for a large 4WD motor. A more abstemious driver utilising the big green ECO button could no doubt improve upon that.
For fans of petrol engines there’s a two litre but it doesn’t offer anything over and above the 1.6 diesel which is also available at a lesser 118bhp. Not sure why anyone would choose the latter because the 158bhp is so good.
The Inner Sanctum
Although this car appears on paper to be a bit pricey the company have used more high-quality materials than ever before 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.
There’s the rubber over-mat 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.
The Honda CR-V as tested offered leather seats, plentiful pockets, cup-holders and storage. The all black interior gloom is lifted by the big sunroof. 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.
Out On The Highway
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 Honda CR-V 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 very little wind noise even from around the big door mirrors.
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.
SENSING The Difference
Honda Sensing is a 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 at least mitigate its severity. Included in the package is a Collision Mitigation System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping and Lane Warning plus Honda Lane Watch which helps decrease your passenger-side blind spot when changing lanes. ‘Sensing’ costs £1500 but in my view it works well and isn’t too intrusive. Worth the extra.
Would I Buy One?
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 the SUV 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. It would absolutely be on my short list for an SUV. Geoff Maxted