The Honda CR-V is a master of deception. Now in its fourth generation, it’s been bodybuilding over the years and now dwarfs the 1995 original.
The concept is the same though – a roomy five-seater SUV with a cavernous boot.
Available with a variety of petrol and diesel engines, and in two-wheel or four-wheel-drive, from the outside it disguises its size well – the car equivalent of Spanx.
Inside it boasts a commanding driving position and enormous sense of space, front and back. In fact I’d go further, because we’re taking space for the rear passengers.
OK, the analogue instruments look slightly dated, but it does feature a multi-media screen in the centre console which switches to a much-needed reverse camera view to aid parking.
But it’s the new 1.6 i-DTEC engine that’s the real revelation. It makes this big car feel nippy, whilst being capable of up to 62.8mpg. For the record, it tops out at 113mph and can manage 0-62 in 11.2 seconds via a six-speed gearbox.
It should be noted that this version of the CR-V is only available in front-wheel-drive, but then, how many cars in this class are actually used as serious off-roaders?
Sadly the noise suppression in the cabin is not so hot – there’s no mistaking the diesel clatter and there’s even a touch of wind noise at motorway speeds. That said, the eager engine is coupled with light steering and responsible handling, so it’s not all bad.
The CR-V is also one of the safest compact SUVs you can buy thanks to its five-star Euro NCAP rating – it boasts six airbags, tyre pressure monitors, stability control with trailer assist, and three Isofix points as standard equipment.
Once a pioneer in the “soft roader” sector, the Honda CR-V is now up against the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5 and Hyundai i35. In its latest incarnation, the Honda CR-V is up to the challenge.
So there you have it. The CR-V won’t turn heads, but it’s practical, well-built, particularly frugal in diesel 1.6 form and comes with a three-year, 90,000-mile warranty.
And to cap it all, there’s the Honda badge and all that it stands for in terms of build-quality, reliability and resale value. And don’t forget, the CR-V is built in Swindon, so it’s British too.
The CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SR manual I tested came with the metallic paint option, bumping the on the road price up £500 to £27,380.