MOTORISTS seeking economy tend to think they have to opt for a small family hatchback with a small engine, but it's surprising just how frugal some large cars can be.
A recent spell with a large four-wheel-drive SUV saw me averaging nearly 53 miles per gallon over almost 400 miles.
But with the ultra economical 1.6-litre Honda diesel engine in its globally popular CR-V it probably shouldn't have come as too much of a surprise.
The engine was developed originally for the Honda Civic and proved so successful it was decided to lift it into the CR-V to replace the existing 2.2-litre diesel.
And despite the hefty jump in vehicle size the home grown engine has proved just as successful in the bigger vehicle.
In many ways Honda was ahead of the game, as more and more manufacturers are now opting to use smaller but more powerful engines in all their vehicles.
The CR-V has proved to be one of Honda's biggest success stories. Motorists like it for its looks, high driving position, reliability, generous interior space and four-wheel-drive safety.
And while it is a big vehicle it has all the driving characteristics of a family hatchback, so unlike many of its competitors it's not intimidating to drive.
Opt for the top-of-the-range EX version and you get a whole host of features which help you warm to this car even more.
The up-market interior boasts high quality perforated soft leather upholstery with heated seats and a memory function on the driver's side. Then there's a full length glass panoramic sun roof with an electric blind for when the sun is too hot.
A power tailgate - which opens right down to the rear bumper - gives access to a very spacious luggage area (589 litres) which swallows up large suitcases with ease and is lined with a removable thick rubber mat with a side walls, just in case you have to carry anything that's wet or dirty.
The 60/40 split rear seat means that when you need to accommodate very large items the seatbacks can be lowered in one simple movement. You simply pull a loop on the seat and the squab flips forward, the backrest folds flat and the headrests automatically move out of the way. The whole thing is incredibly user-friendly.
Inside the cabin there's space galore, with rear seat passengers able to stretch their legs out comfortably and have plenty of elbow room even when there are three people in the back.
The EX comes with keyless locking/unlocking and ignition as well as a very user-friendly satellite navigation system.
Despite its size the CR-V is very easy when it comes to parking thanks to a rear view camera and moving gate system on the screen so you can see exactly what you are reversing towards and ensure you miss anything that might be in the way.
On the road it's a comfortable, quiet car that soaks up the bumps and helps take the stress out of long distance motorway driving.
Honda CR-V I-DTEC EX
Mechanical: 158bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 122mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 55.4
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 133g/km
Bik rating: 28%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles