Long-term tests

Honda CR-V: Second report

Our man gets to know the Honda CR-V well as he criss-crosses the UK

Could our Honda CR-V be the most travelled example in the UK? A quick look at the map shows our SUV has crossed the length and breadth of the country in the past three months. It was pressed into action as soon as it arrived, and since then has been to southern England, Scotland, Wales and numerous other photoshoot locations across the country, racking up over 7,000 miles.

The Honda has a tough act to follow in the shape of my previous car, the Audi Q3, but it’s already proved its worth thanks to the extra space it has compared to Audi’s crossover.

A large boot swallows all my camera gear and the back seats are wide enough for three adults – yet they’re usually occupied by my two daughters and their Barbie gear.

Unfortunately, the Honda doesn’t fare so well in other areas. The engine doesn’t feel very powerful, but that seems to be down to the automatic gearbox rather than the 148bhp 2.2-litre i-DTEC itself. In standard auto mode, the car doesn’t like to be pushed and the diesel doesn’t sound very refined.

It’s more responsive in Sport mode, but then the transmission holds on to gears for too long when accelerating and doesn’t always drop a gear when you slow down for a corner. Steering wheel paddles allow you to change gear whenever you want, but I think the manual gearbox is a better choice.

On the plus side, the CR-V comes into its own on the motorway. The engine’s muscular mid-range torque seems to be more readily available here, which makes long-distance trips very easy. The comfortable seats also take the strain out of long-distance journeys, although they could offer a bit more lateral support for faster corners.

The interior as a whole is a bit of a muddle, with lots of surfaces and separate screens for the radio, climate control and fuel economy readouts spread across the dash.

I’ve found the Bluetooth system frustrating, as it failed to import contacts from my phone, and if you press any button on the phone itself, the car disconnects. It won’t let you relink the phone until you’ve parked, either. This is obviously a safety measure, but it feels like overkill.

Still, some of the other interior details are well thought-out. The gearlever is mounted high up and close to the steering wheel, and just below that are the controls for the heated seats, which have been a boon during these cold winter months. Behind these switches are three cup-holders, which are great for storing odds and ends – or, in my case, food and drink for frequent long-haul journeys.

The CR-V’s straightforward sat-nav has also proven to be very accurate and easy to use. The zoom button on the side of the screen is a nice touch, as it allows you to quickly navigate the screen without having to go through menus.

I’ve hardly any complaints about the build quality of the cabin, either. Even compared to my old Audi, the Honda’s fit and finish is excellent, and all the switchgear operates with slick precision. In fact, the whole car feels robustly screwed together, which is a testament to the skilled workforce at Honda’s Swindon factory in Wiltshire.

Overall, the new CR-V is a decent family car that’s very easy to drive and impressively spacious. It’s not in the least bit exciting, but as I’m rapidly closing on middle age, maybe that makes it the ideal car for me right now...

Our view

“Honda used to be famous for innovation. But the CR-V offers little extra compared to cheaper Korean rivals.”Dean Gibson, Deputy road test editor

Your view

“The CR-V essentially belongs on the road. It wouldn’t let you down if it snowed, but I’d think twice before taking on any serious off-roading.”Fadyady, via www.autoexpress.co.uk

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