Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC SE 17 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Honda's quasi-offroader has the intelligence to make it appealing, even to greenies

    THE SUN MAY be shining now, but who can forget the chaos earlier in the year when snow brought the country to a slithering standstill? And who were the only people smiling? Those drivers with four-wheel-drive capability. Suddenly the band of brothers normally held responsible for personally destroying the environment were hailed as heroes as they happily gave lifts to neighbours, did the shopping for pensioners and generally managed to get from A to B and back to A again without any trouble.

    Problem is, as soon as the sun starts shining again, the evil looks start being directed at those who drive anything larger than the average saloon car; and that’s why the drivers of the latest Honda CR-V can keep the smile on their faces.

    The new-look CR-V — Honda’s popular and versatile, Swindon-built quasi-offroader — has a footprint no bigger than the average family saloon, spends most of its time in two-wheel drive (only switching, cleverly, to four-wheel drive when the electronic system determines it’s needed) and, at 171g/km, has one of the lowest CO2 emission figures for a car in its class.

    Since the current bodystyle was launched in 2007 — with its ample cabin and large, split-level boot offering useful practicality and its low centre of gravity which gives the CR-V its car-like handling characteristics — the Honda has consistently topped the SUV sales tables.

    This latest generation not only sees the car’s popular looks refreshed to incorporate a distinctive new front bumper and grille, a revised rear bumper, and colour-coded bumpers on EX grades, but also sees the introduction of a new 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel engine and an eagerly-awaited automatic gearbox for diesel models.

    The CR-V is brilliantly packaged, versatile and ideal for family needs

    More quiet and relaxed

    Inside the cabin there’s upgraded fabrics and plastics which help give the CR-V interior an even more premium finish, plus there’s a new audio console design. The comfortable and spacious cabin is also even quieter and more relaxed as a result of improved sound deadening. There are big seats for both front occupants, and those passengers in the back can take advantage of the Honda’s particularly impressive rear-seat configuration.

    The CR-V is brilliantly packaged and versatile, which makes it ideal for the enthusiastic driver who still has practical and family needs. Because of its clever styling, the Honda carries and hides its size and bulk remarkably well. It’s also as manoeuvrable and nimble as any current family saloon or hatch. To be honest, it’s far more car-like than a 4x4 of this size really has a right to be.

    One of the delights of any Honda, and the CR-V is no exception, is that they are easy to drive. Its excellent clutch and clean-acting, low-effort gearchange makes for smooth progress, as do a well-weighted brake pedal and precise steering. This is backed up by an ESP system – Honda calls it vehicle stability control – which counters under- and oversteering skids.

    Manual versions of the torquey diesel CR-V crack 0-62mph in 9.6secs with a top speed of 118mph, while the auto makes 0-62mph in 10.6secs and has a top speed of 116mph. Fuel economy for the CR-V remains excellent at 43.5mpg for the manual and 38.2mpg for the auto.

    Value-for-money spec

    While the comprehensive range starts at £20,720 for the 2.0-litre SE petrol, it’s the diesel range which dominates the market in the UK. The entry-level 2.2-litre SE is priced £22,595. The CR-V has always been recognised as offering value-for-money specification and the new car’s equipment levels continues to impress.

    The SE comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cloth upholstery and power heated door mirrors. Over and above this, ES grades get 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, plus, among other goodies, auto dimming mirror, cruise control, double deck cargo space, dual-zone air conditioning and front and rear parking sensors.

    The top of the range EX also enjoys an eight-way driver power seat and electric lumbar support, an alloy step garnish, HID Xenon headlights, full body coloured bumpers, full leather upholstery with heated front seats and a panoramic glass roof among its myriad of standard features. So, the snow has gone and the sun is shining. What better time for Honda to put a smile on your face.

    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £22,695 / £23,765
    Engine / Power: 2197cc / 148bhp
    How fast?: 0-60 mph 9.6secs, Max 118mph
    How big/heavy?: H1675mm W2091mm L4530mm / 1770kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 43.5mpg / CO2 171g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 28 /
    Alternatives: Land Rover Freelander, BMW X1, Nissan Quasqai

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