Honda CR-V 1.6

i-DTEC EX AWD Auto

Honda CR-V, dynamic
Honda CR-V, front quarter
Honda CR-V, profile
Honda CR-V, rear
Honda CR-V, interior
Honda CR-V, auto gearshift
Honda CR-V, boot

HONDA is enjoying something of a resurgence at the moment, with figures released in January revealing that it was Europe's fastest growing mainstream car brand last year.

High-profile and eye-catching arrivals such as the NSX supercar and the all-new Civic may be behind this fresh momentum - but the importance of the CR-V to the Japanese car maker's success cannot be underestimated.

This trusty SUV has been a staple of the Honda range since 1995, quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular vehicles in its class with well over seven million having been sold worldwide, including more than 800,000 in Europe.

Its appeal is built on a deserved reputation for space, practicality and, like all Honda's, reliability. It may be regarded as a slightly boring, sensible choice by some, but the CR-V leaves few boxes unticked as a great family all-rounder.

Offering the elevated ride height and chunky looks that characterise the SUV market, it gives a commanding view of the road for the driver and a sense of security to passengers.

There's plenty of room for five adults to get comfortable with sufficient storage cubbies for all their belongings and the tactile, soft touch fixtures and fittings all have an upmarket look about them while, at the same time, feeling robust and built to last.

The boot offers an impressive 589 litres of space, enough to cope with a family's holiday luggage, while the 60-40 split rear seats can quickly be tilted and folded to free up a flat-floored 1,669 load bay. There is, however, a lip to negotiate heavy items over.

Light, accurate steering makes manoeuvring this sizable motor fairly painless - although the parking sensors and reversing camera that come with the range-topping EX spec I drove are a big help here too.

The supple suspension makes for a cushioned and comfortable ride and refinement also impresses, with the CR-V focusing on a relaxed rather than engaging drive. There is some body roll in corners, but not as much as some rivals, and the car never feels unstable,

Two Euro6-compliant 1.6-litre diesels and a 2.0-litre petrol are the engine choices, the lower-powered diesel and petrol only being offered with two-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox.

Plumping for the more powerful 160ps oil-burner, however, gets you 4x4 traction and the option of the very smooth nine-speed automatic transmission which this car boasted - and it's an impressive combination which offers a good balance of performance and economy.

The engine has enough pull to get you from 0-62mph in a snip over 10 seconds and onto a top speed of 122mph, with gear-changes being imperceptible.

Response is prompt if you ask for a sharp injection of pace while town driving is handled in an unfussy manner and motorway miles gobbled up with ease - making this an effortless car to drive despite its imposing proportions.

And while the CR-V's looks and image may be reserved, the current fourth generation model boasts some cutting-edge tech, especially in flagship trim.

Standard kit includes an app-based seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, sat nav, Bluetooth, digital radio, leather upholstery, panoramic glass roof, climate control, power adjustable driver's seat and powered tailgate.

The Honda Sensing pack this car also featured combines camera and radar technology to add a raft of additional safety features such as collision and blind spot warning systems, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a collision mitigation braking system.

FAST FACTS

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX AWD Auto

Price: £36,710

Mechanical: 160ps, 1,597cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 122mph

0-62mph:10.1 seconds

Combined MPG:53.3

Insurance Group:27

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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