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Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE 2WD

Click to view picture gallery“People always seem surprised to
  hear that Honda’s five-seater CR-V
  is the world’s best selling Sports
  Utility Vehicle (with over five million
  sold world-wide). Unless, of course,
  they’ve already driven one; then they
  just nod their head knowingly...”


WHILE THE POPULAR-WITH-UK-BUYERS CR-V is a handsome beast, gauging its 'street' appeal is best done by considering the alternatives in this size class that would be Audi's Q3 and Q5 models. Says it all, really.

Part of its sales success is down to the fact that you can have your CR-V with either two driven wheels or four. Going for the 1.6 i-DTEC diesel with 2WD brings benefits in fuel consumption officially this version will return 62.8mpg. While few cars actually manage to live up to their posted figures in real-world driving conditions, the CR-V does.

A week's hard driving saw our overall test average come out at a genuine 55.1mpg. Impressive not just for coming so close but also in its own right as the 4.57-metre long, five-seater CR-V is a sizeable piece of automotive real estate.

“Few cars actually manage to live up to their posted figures in real-world driving conditions. The CR-V does.
Our overall test average come out at a genuine 55.1mpg. Impressive not just for coming so close but also in its own right as the 4.57-metre long, five-seater CR-V is a sizeable piece of automotive real estate...
Swing open a door and climb aboard access is easy through large door openings. The cabin is smart, not showy; the kind that will still look good several years down the line.

And it's spacious, too. Headroom is abundant; you'll also find bags of room between your shoulders and the door as well as between the front seats; elbows can be rested on fabric-covered outer armrests on the door panels and on a sliding front centre armrest. The seats are large enough for even rugby-playing friends, who will be able to get comfortable without shoe-horning. Absolutely a cabin for travelling long distances in.

You sit high and there's a nicely angled left foot rest to take the strain when in 'the cruise'. Plus there's ample foot room for the driver to wear boots along with power lumbar adjustment for their lower back as well as firm built-in support for their shoulders. Not only will he or she be sitting pretty in the CR-V's A1 driving position but there's fine visibility in all directions, including to the rear through the back screen.

Thoughtful touches are to be found throughout the cabin including deep sun visors that really do keep the glare out of your eyes, particularly on winter afternoons; and a very practical wide-angle mirror that drops down above the rearview mirror for an all-seeing view of the back cabin (brilliant if there are youngsters back there).

The cabin also boasts plenty of storage solutions including a triple cupholder-cum-tray with a flip-over lid, a high-set gearlever that brings the leather gearknob conveniently close to your left hand, and big buttons for the climate system. Apart from that the multifunction remote controls on the wheel cover just about everything: voice, phone, cruise, speed limiter, audio, and driving info.

The three-dial set comprises of a central speedo flanked by a small rev-counter and fuel gauge; the trip info is shown in an inner circle within the speedometer with more detailed infotainment displays on the larger, crystal-clear dedicated screen in the central fascia spot reserved for the SatNav screen in models further up the trim ladder.

Supporting the Eco mode is a shift 'adviser' adjacent to the rev-counter the good news is that it's not 'bossy'. Driver's who like to be aware of how economically they're driving will appreciate the green glow that indicates that they are. However, if you choose to just get in and get from A to B and fill-up as and when the range hits a favoured number then the CR-V is too polite to make you feel guilty.

“Thoughtful touches are
to be found throughout
the cabin including deep
sun visors that really do
keep the glare out of your
eyes, particularly on
winter afternoons;
and a very practical wide-
angle mirror that drops
down above the rearview
for an all-seeing view of
the back cabin (brilliant if
there are youngsters
back there)...
The SE is well specced with dual-zone climate control, cruise control and speed limiter, driver's power-adjustable lumbar support, CD/DAB radio with USB and Aux sockets (iPod compatible), multifunction steering wheel controls, heated powerfold door mirrors, all electric windows, Bluetooth hands-free, auto-dim rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera, daytime running lights, auto lights and wipes, tyre deflation warning system, a full set of airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, Trailer Stability Assist, Hill Start Assist, a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating, Eco Mode and stop-start, and a set of 17-inch alloy wheels.

Three powerplants are on offer: a 1.6-litre i-DTEC with 'Earth Dreams Technology'; a 2.2 i-DTEC diesel; and a 2.0 i-VTEC petrol. The 1.6 diesel we've been driving all week is a very undiesely diesel (and that's a very good thing indeed!). Stirred by a quick and accurate six-speed manual gearbox, it's eager to share its 118bhp and 221lb ft of torque with you and will nip to 62mph in 11.2 seconds. Maxed out, it will take you to a no-nonsense 113mph.

On motorways it's a smooth performer, lapping up the miles well above the legal limit an ability that makes it a very suitable Continental family cruiser. Plus it's equally happy to pull as well as carry, and in 1.6-litre 2WD guise can be relied upon to tow a braked 1,700kg.

With 589 litres of boot space, swallowing five people's luggage is all in a day's work. Pull the release levers in the boot and the 60:40-split back seats automatically self-fold and tumble (while neatly avoiding the seatbelts) to create a 1,146-litre cargo bay with a long, seamless floor.

Left in its default 'boot' configuration, a tough lightweight waterproof boot liner is perfect for muddy hounds after a trek through the woods. Hiding luggage from prying eyes is a smooth-operating roller blind that latches easily. You can also take for granted useful bag hooks and netted side pockets as well as a space-saver spare wheel stored under the boot floor.

Riding in the rear is no hardship in a CR-V — kids will do anything to hang out there. And who can blame them: they get their own climate control vents, the seats are set high so views out are great, there are bottle-holding bins, a well-padded centre armrest with two built-in cupholders, and the seatbacks offer a choice of two angles both of which are just right for a spot of chilling. Grown-ups will also like all of the foregoing, as well as the fact that entry and exit is easy.

“Topping it all,
particularly given that it’s
most likely to serve as
family transport,
is the compliant ride
that makes the CR-V
ideal for long half-term
trips either at home
or across to France...
Adults will benefit even more from the abundant foot room and lounging leg room. Drivers will like the fact that the headrests can be flopped down for uninterrupted rearward visibility when driving alone or accompanied by a single front passenger. Even the 'piggy in the middle' slot is no cop-out and provides ample headroom with decent room for feet thanks to there being no central tunnel intrusion.

Have you noticed how lots of passengers, riding in all sorts of cars, like to 'hang' from a grab as they go along? No idea why they like doing this, but they too are catered for in the CR-V which has a damped grab for everyone sitting next to a door.

High up on the CR-V's long list of likeable features are its car-like driving dynamics. The steering is weighty enough, turns-in cleanly, and the brakes feel reassuring plus it's easy to place accurately in heavy traffic, as well as when pressing on down country lanes. Body-lean is well managed and although high-riding it always feels secure. Overall it's pleasant and easy to drive and it's default state is 'unruffled'.

Topping it all, particularly given that it's most likely to serve as family transport, is the compliant ride that makes the CR-V ideal for high-mileage half-term trips either at home or across to France. Of course, you can't please everybody; 007, for one, wouldn't like the ride at all but then he prefers his pleasures shaken…

Offering a choice of two- or four-wheel drive allied to an extremely comfortable and spacious passenger compartment, it's not hard to see why Honda's CR-V has become the world's most popular Sports Utility Vehicle. A very easy car to say 'Hai' to!
MotorBar

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE 2WD | £25,060
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds | Test Average: 55.1mpg
Power: 118bhp | Torque: 221lb ft | CO2 119g/km