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Honda CR-V Review

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Honda CR-V Test Drive And Review 

 

Perhaps it’s not exactly “cool” to say such things, but I’ve long had a soft-spot for Honda’s soft-roader: The CR-V. And, seeing has Honda have sold more than 5 million CR-Vs since they first appeared, I suspect I’m not the only one.

It’s not hard to see why. Since its inception the CR-V has offered car-like manners in a SUV package. It’s very nicely put together, and logically laid out and generously equipped inside, Honda’s reputation of reliability means it holds its money come trade in time, and these days, it’s a bit of looker too – in that trademark discreet and understated way we’ve grown to expect from Honda of course.

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It’s also hugely practical. Granted, you can’t get a seven seat CR-V, but as someone who’s more inclined to carry a bicycle or a bookcase, or in fact anything other than a sprawling brood, that’s never really bothered me – although I can appreciate it might put more family orientated buyers off. The boot is huge, especially so if you choose the drop the one-touch folding seats down (they are quite simply a work of genius and increase already generous loadspace up to a gargantuan 1660 litres) and the elevated driving position affords good views of everything fore an aft. There’s even a reversing camera option to help with the latter.

But I know what you thinking. Being a Honda and an SUV, a CR-V must be expensive to buy and run though, right?

Perhaps, maybe more so if you actually need the four-wheel drive ability the CR-V’s looks have always promised. However, if you don’t…

Honda CR-V HONDA PR HANDOUT Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

Like many an SUV maker these days, Honda offers a two-wheel drive only version of their school-run favourite. And, if you don’t happen to live right out in the far-unlit unknown or somewhere where you car’s kudos is judged only on its ability to cross unpaved surfaces or frozen tundra, the front-wheel drive 1.6 i-DTEC might right up your alley. And be honest: Were you really going take your CR-V on an artic adventure?

By ditching the extra drive shafts and associated four-wheel drive oily bits that went with them, and then fitting the CR-V with their new Swindon built and near featherweight ( it’s the lightest engine in class to be precise) all-aluminium earthdreams 1.6 litre four-cylinder diesel engine, Honda have managed to bring the CR-V’s mass down to just 1543kg. Or, to put it another way, they’ve made their SUV 100kg lighter than their Accord estate. As a result CO2 emissions are down to119g/km, meaning 1.6 i-DTEC’s annual road-tax is just £30.

CR-V  4 1_6 i-DTEC ENGINE

So where’s the catch? With only 1597cc under it’s bonnet surely the skins of rice puddings the world over can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that Honda’s latest doesn’t stand a chance of disturbing them.

Well no, not quite.

While it’s safe to say the CR-V is hardly the kind of thing you’d wantonly aim at an apex, even with just 118bhp it’s more than capable of keeping up with the daily grind. 0-62 in 11.2 seconds is about average for a family sized Crossover and 206lbft of torque helps to pull things along rather nicely. I did find the ride a bit brittle on some of the surfaces that pass for tarmac out here in the sticks, and there were occasions where I found myself using the rather nicely precise feeling gearshift earlier than expected on the hilly bits, but once out on to more the smoothly laid stuff the CR-V settled down rather nicely. Never once did it really seem underpowered in anyway.

Neither did it seem to trouble the fuel-gauge. These days we’re all wise to manufacturer’s official fule figures and Honda’s claim of 62.8 mpg is probably only attainable on paper (or in perhaps in The Power of Dreams) but a gallon sipped every 50 or so miles on a motorway cruise doesn’t seem out of the CR-V’s capabilities.

Honda CR-V HONDA PR HANDOUT Photograph: James Lipman // jameslipman.com

After a week in its company I was rather sorry to see it go. I’d also bet that with a set of winter tyres fitted, the front-drive only 1.6 i-DTec would probably be provide me with all the grip (and more) that I’d demand of in the wintery weather when compared to it’s all-wheel drive brethren shod with summer rubber.

It might not be “cool” to say this either, but Honda’s entry level CR-V might well be all CR-V you really need.

 

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 2WD

 Engine: 1,597cc, 4Cyl, 16V turbo- diesel

Transmission: 6 speed. Front Wheel Drive

Power: 118 bhp @ 4000rpm

Torque: 206 lbft @ 1750 rpm

0-62mph: 11.2 sec

Max Speed: 113 mph

MPG: 62.8 combined.

CO2: 119 g/km

VED Band: C

Price: £27,315 (Car Driven £27,815)

 
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