By Patrick James on 2016-07-15 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Honda CR-V 1.6
IT is one of the those motors that reminds you of that annoying TV advert.It does what it says on the tin.
The Honda CR-V has been one of the pace setters in the highly-competitive SUV market since it burst onto the scene in 1997.
The figures speak for themselves, with three quarters of a million already sold in Europe since its debut and its easy to see why.
Revamped last year, it continues to offer bags of room, be immensely practical with its one-pull folding and tumbling rear seats, huge boot and cabin storage and it is relatively cheap to run.
Available in two or four-wheel drive, the refined and frugal 120ps diesel engine tested here in the two-wheel drive version not only delivers impressive economy, a claimed 62.8 mpg, but low CO2 levels, of 119g/km which will make it attractive to business users with a benefit in kind tax rating of 23 per cent.
There is a more powerful 160ps diesel mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox and a two-litre petrol engine, but this diesel is refined and smooth and offers decent enough performance mated as it is to six-speed manual geabox.
The spec range starts with S, SE, SR (driven here) and ends with the range topping EX model.
All feature alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, while this model includes goodies like powered half leather heated front seats, roof rails, privacy glass, high intensity and cornering lights, ambient lighting and high quality sound and sat nav system.
It looks sleeker and more dynamic than its predecessors with revised grille and headlamp cluster with LED daytime running and projector headlight.
LED combination lamps also feature at the rear and new design 17 and 18-inch alloys round off the package.
The interior feels much more upmarket as well. It has large glass areas and feels light and airy, especially with the panoramic roof.
High quality plastic trim complements the re-shaped chrome-effect inlay running the width of the dashboard.
This is dominated by the seven-inch touchscreen displaying the Honda Connect system and infotainment controls, which can be a bit fiddly to use.
The binnacle centre point is one large dial which glows red, amber and green to tell you how economically you are driving.
The infotainment system is fitted as standard on all grades above the entry level and gives front-seat occupants fast and easy access to everything from vehicle information and rear-view parking camera, to music and Bluetooth connectivity for smart phones. The system's functions include internet access, two pre-installed apps.
The cabin is a quiet and comfortable place to be and accommodates five occupants in comfort.
On the road, the engine pulls well and enough with good torque levels for motorway overtaking and remains reasonably stable on bends, with only the slightest of wallowing. With four wheel drive, the car will also grip well when pushed.
In practical terms, the already spacious 589 litres of capacity in the boot, opens out to an enormous 1,648 litres of flat load space with the one touch folding rear seats flat.
Add to this a length of 1,570mm and it can easily accommodate two mountain bikes or four sets of golf clubs.
Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SR
Mechanical: 120ps, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 62.8
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 119g/km
Bik rating: 23%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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