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Honda CR-V 1.5T EX AWD

Date: 21 November 2018   |   Author: Rachel Boagey

The Honda CR-V, first introduced in 1995, is now in its fifth generation.
We find out how it deals with modern demands.
Standard equipment:
Parking sensors and a rear-view camera, collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition
Engines:
Petrol: 193hp 1.5 turbo
Equipment grades:
S, SE, ER, EX
Transmissions:
n Six-speed manual, CVT automatic

What springs to mind when you hear the words comfortable runabout vehicle? Not a lot? Well, what if we told you that's exactly what CR-V stands for? You might have heard of that, because it's the world's bestselling SUV, although overshadowed by others in the UK. 

Argulably ahead of the game when it was launched in 1995, the CR-V was ploughing its own furrow, as a comfortable, practical, family car. That's an approach that continues with the latest CR-V.

Honda has upped its game for perceived quality in the latest version, with a more upmarket feel than before, and switches and controls that are pleasant to the touch. In fact, other than the plethora of confusing buttons on the steering wheel and the foibles of the hit-and-miss touchscreen infotainment system, it's difficult to think of too many areas that fall short of premium German offerings. 

153924_Honda _confirms _economy _and _emissions _data _for _CR-V_Hybrid _and _announces _key

You certainly won't find fault with the space and practicality, with a wide variety of storage options, including deep cubbyholes, sliding trays and large door bins. 

In the back, the family-orientated focus continues, with rear doors that open to almost 90° making it especially easy to manoeuvre baby or booster seats - and still get in and out yourself. 

In addition, there's loads of knee and headroom for harassed parents to stretch out and catch a cheeky 40 winks. 

The CR-V's boot is also larger than most of its rivals, coming in at a massive 561 litres. Furthermore, the boot is well designed with a useful luggage-retaining net, plenty of tethering points and rear seats that can be folded flat simply by pulling a lever in the boot. 

Not surprisingly, you do lose some space when the (optional) third row of seats is fitted - a feature we haven't had in the CR-V up to now - pitching it as a slightly more compact alternative to the Nissan X-Trail, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. 

There's no denying that any portly SUV, including the CR-V, is improved by a diesel engine, thanks to the strong low and mid-range grunt that they generate, but in Honda has decided to abandon diesel power and instead offer the CR-V with either a petrol engine or a petrol hybrid - the latter will arrive early next year.

A conflict of intent perhaps, as the company remains committed to diesel in the current Civic. 

153923_Honda _confirms _economy _and _emissions _data _for _CR-V_Hybrid _and _announces _key

Until then, the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which also features in the Civic range, is the only power source, although it can be paired with either a six-speed manual or CVT transmission, and with front-wheel drive or part-time all-wheel drive. 

The car we tested came with the CVT and all-wheel drive. It's not at all bad. Yes, things aren't exactly rocket-propelled when pulling away from the mark and you can sense that the engine prefers to be revved hard where the real meat of its power lies. Thankfully, the transmission does its best to compensate for the engine's fundamental lack of low-end grunt, and delivers fairly smooth and reasonably flexible low-speed driveability.

The ride is also generally smooth and quiet over most surfaces, and even on testing windy roads there isn't much in the way of sloppy body roll. Things are also civilised on the motorway with very little wind and road noise disturbing proceedings.

When it comes to emissions, choosing the four-wheel drive has a big impact on the amount of CO2 the car emits with a combined 162g/km, so that's definitely something to think about when deciding which version to go for.  

Given the choice, we'd be inclined to save a couple of grand and go for an SR trim car rather than the bells and whistles EX as it still gives you sufficient creature comforts, including a leather-lined interior and heated front seats, along with all the latest safety kit.

Overall, the latest CR-V offers a strong combination of excellent build quality, exceptional space and practicality, and a half-decent driving experience. Unfortunately, it cannot match the easy driveability or the fuel efficiency of many diesel-powered alternatives.

Honda CR-V 1.5T VTEC EX - AWD CVT

P11D £35,885 

On sale November 2018 

Residual value 35.8% 

Depreciation £23,035

Fuel £8,963

Service, maintenance and repair £2,465

Cost per mile 57.4p

Fuel consumption 39.8mpg

CO2 (BIK band) 162g/km (33%)  

BIK 20/40% a month £197/£395

Boot space 561 litres

Engine size/power 1,498cc/193hp


Verdict


7/10
  • Great driving style for its size, impressive practicality and comfort.
  • Pricey, no diesel available.

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