FOR A prime example of how to design a successful compact SUV you need look no further than Honda's CR-V.
Itsrecord speaks for itself, because being one of the most popular vehicles of its type worldwide, with more than750,000 sales since launch in 1997, says it all.
And although being around for so long, the current generation is well established in the fast track of this highly competitive market sector.
The CR-V is a very British contender too, being built at Swindon in a variety ofevolutions including four and two-wheel-drive options.
But the big change on the CR-V in recent times has been the introduction of a new diesel into the range's engine portfolio.
This 1.6-litre 160ps unit allied to the company's latest nine-speed automatic transmission was the star of the show in the 1.6 i-DTEC EX automatic version I drove and was a showcase of how Honda is keeping up with the fast pace of technology and powertrain requirements of today.
The engine-transmission marriage offers one of the best power to consumption ratios available.
With a torque figure of 360Nm and a 0-62mph sprint of 10.6 seconds, there is no question over the punchiness of this diesel with an easy 120mph plus maximum on tap.
Add in a combined mpg readout of 55.3 for this 4x4 version then the picture emerges of a highly efficient SUV that leaves the old gas-guzzling reputation of these vehicles in a cloud of dust.
The development of this vehicle can be summed up as a well thought-out programme of enhancement that brings in the latest and most vital selling points for the SUV customer who want more and more as time goes on.
The latest generation of the CR-V includes all-new connectivity and infotainment features, premium safety and an enhanced suspension which combines refinement plus dynamic capabilities.
The Honda Connect in-car audio and entertainment system offers an advanced mix of audio, Bluetooth, internet, satnav and rear view parking camera.
The Connect system is compatible with Android 4.0.4. the world's most popular Smartphone operating system, using the familiar pinch, swipe and tap functionality, accessed through a seven inch display screen.
The latest model has also been tweaked to give it a more British road stance. For instance, the redesigned headlamps flow into the new grille and a new bumper and skid plate impart a wider appearance.
On the road, this CR-V is a class act, the new engine which replaces the larger 2.2-litre i-DTEC diesel is aided by a new two-stage turbo which offers a high power output and much improved efficiency. The latest nine-speed automatic transmission offers a wider spread of gears giving a better response to driver inputs.