First drive review: Honda CR-V

Honda is on the prowl to win some more customers in the SUV market – and it plans to do this with the new fourth-generation CR-V.

What is it?

The fourth-generation of Honda's popular soft-roader, the CR-V. Sold in 160 countries around the world, Honda have shifted an impressive five million since the first model was introduced way back in 1995. Around 170,000 of those are on the road in the UK and Honda hopes this new version will get that figure up to the quarter-of-a-million mark.

What's new?

Quite a bit actually. An updated design gives the car a more planted and aerodynamic stance and the height and length have been reduced, by 30mm and 50mm respectively. There's just as much space inside though. The car has a flat floor underbody to optimise airflow and there has been a 12 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.

What's under the bonnet?

The big news here is the introduction of a front-wheel drive petrol version of the car which means buyers will be able to get into a CR-V for around £21,000. Honda hope that will widen the car's appeal. In addition, it continues to be offered with the smooth, free-revving 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and the relaxed and torquey 2.2-litre i-DTEC.

What's the kit like?

Honda has introduced a new 'grade logic' to be more in line with other manufacturers, and therefore simplify things for customers. The kit offered is generous... even on the 'S' models there's a five-inch Intelligent Multi-Info Display screen; dual-zone climate control; cruise control and 17-inch alloys. There is a wealth of safety features too, with more sets of initials than you can shake a stick at.

Any rivals?

Honda claim to have helped create a new market segment with the introduction of the CR-V – and things have got a lot more crowded since its introduction in the last millennium. Ford's Kuga, Mitshubishi's Outlander, Nissan's Qashqai and Kia's Sportage are all competing for the same punters.

Is it any good?

Well, with five million on the road, it must have something going for it. Perhaps not the most exciting drive we've ever had but in terms of comfort, handling, equipment levels and general all-round competency, we'd give it a well-deserved thumbs-up. Maybe that quarter-million target will soon be in sight.

The Autoblog Verdict

Quieter, more environmentally friendly and with oodles of space, the Honda CR-V is a winner in our eyes and VERY family friendly. Dogs, golf clubs, camping gear... the CR-V will swallow the lot and get everyone home comfortably and safely.

Honda CR-V
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