Honda CR-V: road test
The CR-V is one of the finest five-seat SUVs on the market.
What is it?
The stylish and exceptionally spacious five-door Honda CR-V is a British-built SUV available with two- or four-wheel-drive and with the option of a new highly-efficient and punchy powertrain.
How safe is it?
While the latest CR-V has not been re-tested it carries over the five-star Euro NCAP rating of the previous model. The high seating position gives good all-round visibility.
Who should buy one?
The Honda CR-V combines space, flexibility and practicality with good driving dynamics and impressive economy – making it the ideal choice for the active family who enjoy a little sophistication along the way.
Road test by Maxine Ashford, published 21 May 2015
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
While many of the changes to the latest CR-V are cosmetic there are a number of new features of note especially beneath the bonnet.
The vehicle is available with a choice of two 1.6-litre diesel engines (120PS and 160PS) along with a 2.0-litre 155PS petrol derivative. The most notable option here is the new Euro 6-compliant 160PS diesel that replaces the outgoing 2.2-litre engine. It weighs 65kg less than the 2.2 which translates into better economy.
Honda has also introduced new front suspension bushes and dampers to improve the ride and stability – an area where previous models have come under fire in the past.
Buyers have a choice of two- and four-wheel-drive models. We tested out the range-topping EX spec which always comes fitted with 4WD. It was powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine delivering 160PS with a six-speed manual transmission.
First impressions are vital and the new wider front and rear bumpers give the CR-V a sportier, more aggressive stance and the performance matches the looks. Admittedly the CR-V has never really competed with the likes of Audi or BMW for edgy driving dynamics, but it is a well-respected all-rounder. The acceleration from the new powertrain is both smooth and responsive with plenty of power on tap and the road-holding is flawless.
There is a slight amount of body roll when attacking bends at pace, but it has certainly been reduced compared to the previous model.
Another factor of note is the improved insulation which results in a much quieter cabin. There is still a little wind noise due to the large door mirrors, but road and engine sounds have been minimised.
The high-seated driving position is another plus-factor especially as the CR-V is likely to feature regularly on the school run where all-round visibility is essential.
And although we didn’t have the opportunity to test the car’s 4×4 capabilities it is a proven soft-roader that will keep you moving during the colder months when an unexpected snow flurry falls.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
This is an area where the CR-V truly excels thanks to its bright, spacious cabin, generous boot capacity and trademark Magic Seats technology which makes raising or lowering rear seats as simple as possible.
All occupants are treated to ample leg, head and shoulder space and there is easily enough room to accommodate three adults in the rear.
Luggage restrictions need never apply as the boot has a capacity of 589 litres, which should be ample space for a family’s holiday bags. The capacity can be increased to a whopping 1,669 litres by pulling on a cord in the boot and lowering the 60:40 split-folding rear seats to a flat position. A powered tailgate is also a bonus when approaching the vehicle laden down with shopping bags.
In addition to the boot, there are a number of good-sized storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including cup holders, deep door pockets, a practically sized glovebox and handy central bin.
Every CR-V comes with Honda’s City Brake Active System. By using radar to scan the road ahead, this feature is designed to prevent low speed collisions up to 20mph.
A world first for the Honda CR-V is the intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, a £1,500 option. Once again it uses radar along with camera technology to detect if a car is going to cut into your lane and reacts to prevent a collision.
All CR-V models are richly equipped. Even the entry-level S grade has a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and 17-inch alloys. Move up through the range to introduce the likes of front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, roof rails, satnav, leather upholstery, powered seats and a panoramic glass roof.
All the technology is very simple to use and neatly designed to create a clutter-free cabin layout.
The CR-V has never been a bargain-basement car and the latest model remains quite pricey. Admittedly the entry level 2.0-litre 2WD petrol model carries a reasonable price tag of £22,345, but our test car in range-topping EX trim with extras would cost £34,520.
However, running costs should be affordable. Some diesel models deliver a combined fuel economy figure of 64.2mpg and carbon dioxide emissions as low as 115g/km.
The 5dr adds useful space and practicality to the MINI hatch range.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds
Economy: 55.4mpg combined
Insurance: Group 27
Tax: Band E (£130)
Figures for the Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX Manual (160 PS)