Honda CR-V 1.6

i-DTEC EX

Honda CR-V, side
Honda CR-V, front
Honda CR-V, rear
Honda CR-V, dashboard
Honda CR-V, engine
Honda CR-V, boot, seats up

THE fourth generation of Honda's CR-V underwent a modest refresh for 2015, following its launch in 2012.

Over its entire lifespan it's been a huge seller for Honda and the latest Swindon-built model is no exception.

It's easy to forget that Honda was something of a trail-blazer with its original CR-V in 1995 when there weren't many compact SUVs on the market and back then ‘crossover' was a word one used to describe a Subaru Outback.

The CR-V is a compact SUV that makes a lot of sense. Firstly it's not oversized in the Chelsea Tractor sense, yet the level of practicality it offers is immense.

You still get that elevated driving position and commanding view of the road but although it's a big-ish vehicle - certainly bigger than most crossovers - the CR-V doesn't really feel any bigger than a family estate to drive around in on a day to day basis

However on the inside it is huge,with a large and comfortable cabin and a truly cavernous 589-litre boot.

Every time I've driven it I keep thinking there are going to be a couple of fold-up seats in the boot to turn it into a seven-seater but there aren't - the CR-V is only available as a five-seater.

It means it pretty much trumps all the opposition when it comes to load-lugging capacity and therein lies one of its greatest strengths. Ford Kugas, Mazda CX-5s, Kia Sportages and Nissan Qashqais virtually pale into insignificance in comparison.

There are two engines available - a 1.6-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre petrol. There are two versions of the diesel - offering 118bhp or 158bhp while the petrol delivers 153bhp.

It's hard to imagine UK buyers opting for anything other that one of the diesels.

If you want a diesel four-wheel drive you'll need to opt for the more powerful variant, with the lower-powered unit available only as a two-wheel drive.

In terms of transmissions Honda's nine-speed automatic gearbox is only available on four-wheel drive diesel models.

The petrol model is available as two-wheel or four-wheel drive and buyers can opt for a manual or an auto.

There are four trim levels S, SE, SR and EX. All come with alloy wheels, Bluetooth, climate control, cruise control and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, while SR and EX models feature sat-nav as standard. The SR comes with half leather and half Alcantara upholstery while the EX is full leather.

The 2015 model year refresh saw some slight changes to the exterior with new bumpers, headlights and new alloy wheels, while the interior benefits from higher quality plastics in the cabin.

The key changes related to a changing engine line-up, dispensing with the old 2.2-litre diesel powerplant, and the replacement of an old five-speed automatic transmission with a nine-speed one.

When it comes to handling the CR-V is pretty much as one might expect - essentially SUV-like, insofar as it's not the sort of vehicle that's been designed for going round corners at high speed.

However it's also a noticeably comfortable vehicle to travel in with a supple suspension set-up that soaks the lumps and bumps up well.

It also feels particularly at home on the motorway and is well insulated too. Easily the sort of vehicle one could cover a lot of miles in without any bother.

FAST FACTS

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX

Price: £33,060

Mechanical:158bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 122mph

0-62mph: 9.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 55.4

Insurance Group: 25

C02 emissions: 133g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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