Long-term report: Our Honda CR-V proves to be a capable load-lugger

Amid the wild body kit that one of my colleagues’ thought was a good idea to add to our Honda CR-V while configuring it, you could be mistaken for forgetting that, at the heart of it all, this is a family-friendly SUV.

The outlandish bodywork additions have surprisingly grown on me – I remember laughing when I first saw it in the car park, but now when you see next to a regularly-specced CR-V, the standard model looks exceptionally plain.

But we’ve heard enough about its looks – now it’s time to test the actual practicality.

(Honda)

To a normal person that would mean testing its capabilities on a family holiday to Cornwall or similar, but in the world of media, things are a bit different. So instead of that, the task ahead of the CR-V was to cart hundreds of magazines across the country.

It’s something the company does three times a year for various events, and the car of choice is usually some kind of premium estate car – arguably the king of load-lugging this side of having a van.

So, having to put the CR-V up to the task here, I was a touch apprehensive. First, about whether they’d fit, and secondly how the CR-V’s occasionally sluggish-feeling engine would cope with the extra weight.

(PA)

But I had no reason to fear – more and more magazines kept fitting into the CR-V’s boot with ease, piling up thanks to an impressively wide and deep load area. The claimed boot space figure is 561 litres, which might not mean a lot on paper, but it’s larger than many of its rivals – something gratefully appreciated in this instance.

In total we managed to fit just under 700 magazines in it, with the majority being in the boot, but a few also fitting in the rear seats. My sketchy maths suggested that 700 mags weighs just over 200kg, so it’s not like we’re asking the CR-V to carry half a tonne – rather about the weight of two people – but it’s more the fact that most of that weight is over the rear axle.

Next up was the trek from Gosport HQ to Birmingham – roughly a 300-mile round trip — to get to The NEC Classic Car Show, whereby the next task was to try and sell all these magazines with the hope of not having to bring any back.

You can choose the CR-V with two engines – a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid or the 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol found in our car. It’s a good match for the CR-V – suiting relaxed driving best, however it can lack punch at the best of times, never mind with 700 magazines on board. But on the whole, it dealt with the task well – with the adaptive cruise control (standard on all CR-Vs) coming in exceptionally useful.

Once we arrived at the NEC it was time to unload them all – given RY19 XRP’s its own chance to grab the limelight on setup day in the exhibition hall. Despite being quite filthy after a wet motorway run, the NEC’s notoriously bright LED lighting really helped to bring out our car’s stunning ‘Premium Crystal Red Metallic’ paintwork – something I think is easily worth £850 on the options list.

Thankfully we managed to sell the vast majority of the magazines, only bringing back a handful, and allowing the CR-V to feel a bit sprightlier on the return run.

(PA)

It’s worth pointing out just how comfortable the CR-V is, too – both around town and on the motorway. Others have complained of a limited amount of electrical adjustment to the driver’s seat, though it’s something I’ve never struggled with.

Overall then, the CR-V seriously impressed me on this jaunt with its exceptional practicality, and we’d have undoubtedly struggled to carry so many mags in some of the CR-V’s rivals – the Peugeot 3008, for example.

We might have dressed our Honda CR-V in a rather stylish frock, but at the core of this model is still a versatile and useful family SUV.

  • 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): 5,108
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