Long-term report: We introduce a wildly-specced Honda CR-V to our fleet — but will it make its way into our hearts or fall flat?

Normally when we take delivery of a fresh press car, it’s one the manufacturer has painstakingly specified to its likings in a bid to both retain customer relevance and probable resale value when it’s time to move it on.

So, when presented with the words ‘send us your desired spec through’, things get really exciting for us motoring journalists.

That’s exactly what happened when Honda offered us a CR-V to run for six months — as long as we were happy with its purely petrol offering. Of course, there was no chance of turning this down.

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So, after a bit of an afternoon discussion on one sunny May day on the editorial desk, we flicked through the Honda CR-V configurator and got a little bit carried away with the offerings. Spec sheet sent back to the firm, we expected them to come back shaking heads at us and never letting us behind the wheel of a car again.

“The order’s gone in” wasn’t something I was 100 per cent confident of seeing in my emails a few days later, but that’s exactly what happened. Which brings us to now, and the arrival of RY19 XRP.

This is the Honda CR-V we will be running for a few months which, if you couldn’t tell by looking at it, has had a fair few of the Japanese firm’s accessories thrown on to it. I’ll get to that in a bit, though.

As hinted towards earlier, it’s powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine — rather than the model’s flagship hybrid powertrain — here producing 171bhp and 220Nm. That’s sent to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

The result is 0-60mph in 9.8 seconds with a 130mph top speed possible. Honda claims it can return 42.8mpg on the combined cycle (though we’ll be testing that for ourselves) while emitting 151g/km of CO2.

Our CR-V is also the range-topping EX model — which starts at £34,780. Luxury highlights here include 19-inch alloy wheels, heating elements for both the front and rear seats along with the steering wheel, an opening panoramic glass roof, a hands-free tailgate, full LED headlights, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Garmin sat-nav and a rear-view camera complete with parking sensors.

In terms of safety kit, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and traffic sign recognition are standard across the range.

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So, that’s how an EX would come before ticking some more boxes — but at £39,175, our car has a few more goodies. Its ‘Premium Crystal Red Metallic’ makes up £850 of that, with items from Honda’s accessories list accounting for the other £3,545.

Most notable is its opinion-dividing £2,250 ‘Aero Pack’ — adding its large front and rear bumpers, metal-finish side running boards and large rear spoiler. I think it looks pretty mega, though on the flip side, editor James Baggott took once glance and said, “you’re never speccing a car again”. It’s a bit like Marmite, really.

Body-coloured rear parking sensors account for an additional £225, illuminated door sills add a further £445, a chrome decoration at the back throws £110 more into the package, its window-mounted visors are a £185 add-on while a £340 boot organiser rounds out the package. Is any of this worth it? That’s what I’ll be looking to find out over the next few months.

Initial impressions on the car have been good. It feels incredibly spacious, the driving experience is pleasant and its (albeit few) journeys so far have been comfortable. Its outdated infotainment system proves to be a sticking point so far though, and a few controls come across as fiddly.

Will it continue to be a joyous affair? We’ll find out over the next few months…

Highlight of the month: Welcoming RY19 XRP to our long-term fleet

  • Model: Honda CR-V EX
  • Price: £39,175
  • Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol
  • Power (bhp): 171
  • Torque (Nm): 220
  • Top speed (mph): 130
  • 0-60mph: 9.8 seconds
  • MPG: 42.8
  • Emissions (CO2): 151g/km
  • Mileage (to date): 770
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