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Honda CR-V

Date: 01 November 2006   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Small 4x4
Prices: £19,000-£25,000
Key rival: Toyota Rav4

To counter the growing anti-off-roader movement, Honda is heavily pushing the CR-V's green credentials under the banner "not all 4x4s are the same".

Unfortunately, while the car is greener than a lot of other vehicles, which is very noble, promoting it in this way disregards the fact that the CR-V is also a good car in its own right.

Honda CR-V spec

We already know Honda's 2.2-litre diesel is a great engine. It might not be the most powerful available, but it is the least diesely in terms noise and vibration, while keeping the appealing power delivery and miserly fuel consumption of a diesel.

The 43.5mpg combined fuel figure puts the CR-V ahead of its rivals. As BusinessCar went to press the full costs were not available, but early indications as well as historic data from the previous CR-V show the Honda should perform well.

We drove the top EX trim, which Honda expects to take 35% of sales. It gives you all the extras you'd reasonably want as a business driver including satnav, Bluetooth phone connection, MP3 player socket, leather and aircon. Honda, however, is charging extra for cruise control - something that 20,000-miles-a-year drivers insist on - although it is a clever cruise control bundled with collision mitigation and bendy headlights.

Inside, you won't want for storage space. There's a double glovebox, massive centre storage area and other assorted cubby holes.

There's also plenty of room for rear seat passengers and a massive 556-litre boot that can be usefully split with the moveable boot floor panel.

One notable interior improvement over the previous car worth highlighting is the move of the handbrake from the dash back to its traditional location.

The driving experience is first rate and on a par with the class best. It's perhaps not as overtly sporty as the BMW X3, but it is a good combination of comfort and fun that beats Toyota's Rav4.

Only the car's looks are a possible weak spot, with the front and rear looking as though they are from separate cars. But this is a minor point and unlikely to dampen sales. A bigger threat to sales comes from the upcoming Land Rover Freelander which has a tradition of dominating the small 4x4 market.