By Mike Torpey on 2018-03-30 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Honda CR-V 1.6
i-DTEC EX 4WD
SUBSTANCE over style has proved a winning formula for Honda as its compact SUV the CR-V continues to blaze a trail of success.
Already one of the most popular vehicles of its type in the world, the CR-V has more than 800,000 sales to its name - and that's just in Europe.
No market is more competitive for SUVs than in the UK and while a plethora of, to be brutally honest, more sharp-looking contenders continue to enter the sales arena, buyers still flock to the CR-V.
For good reason too, because the ‘beauty' of this conservatively designed model is that it does everything with exceptional competence.
Want a car that's meticulously engineered - actually British-built and developed in Swindon - expertly refined, sensibly designed and has rock-solid reliability, then the Honda ticks the boxes.
Up for grabs with a choice of two diesel engines, with 120 and 160ps of power, plus a 2.0-litre petrol unit, and in four trim grades, the CR-V costs from an attractive £23,475 for a 2.0 i-VTEC petrol S variant with front-wheel drive.
This model came with the higher powered of the two diesels, which is from the Japanese brand's Earth Dreams Technology series, a six-speed manual gearbox plus four-wheel drive.
And while the car's official Combined fuel consumption figure was 57.6 miles per gallon, we managed to eke out an average 46.8mpg over a stint of what was exclusively urban driving.
In the circumstances that was a pretty fair return, in a car that's comfortable, spacious and quite relaxing to pilot.
Safety kit like intelligent-Adaptive Cruise Control and Honda's City-Brake Active System come as standard on all models and there's an upgraded connectivity and infotainment set-up too.
The dash is wrapped around a seven-inch touchscreen to which a smartphone can be connected via MirrorLink and the short-shift gearstick is mounted high for easy access.
Otherwise you get a genuine five-seater with plenty of head and legroom - including in the centre rear seating position - and in the case of the high grade SE trim, the seats are in a classy perforated leather finish.
The CR-V is also top of the pile when it comes to luggage space which ranges from a useful 598 to 1,669 litres, and that's not far off the capacity of a small van.
And if mucky trips to the sports field or local tip are regularly on the agenda, well the CR-V's flush-fit plastic tray in the boot is a God-send.
Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX 4WD
Mechanical: 160ps, 1,597cc 4-cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via six-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 122mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 133g/km
Bik rating: 31%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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