A cracking revamp: Honda's all-new CR-V
Honda's all-new CR-V has just appeared for sale in its fifth-generation guise.
It features petrol-electric hybrid versions (a first), seven-seat models and improved interior quality, refinement and spaciousness.
There's also a new chassis aimed at delivering a more engaging driving experience and comfort, plus genuine off-road capability as well.
Added to this are better engine options and a raft of new tech.
It's hard to underestimate the CR-V's importance to Honda - it has sold some 3.5 million globally in the past five years alone.
Perhaps unusually, Honda doesn't offer a larger SUV in the UK. This is possibly because they believe the CR-V is big enough by UK standards - and they might be right, as it's very roomy.
Looks and design
The new model gets a fresh exterior design, with broader, more muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters and the latest Honda family 'face', with its signature headlight graphic.
Thinner A-pillars, sculpted front and rear bumpers, and under-engine and under-floor covers are all said to improve the car's aerodynamic performance.
It is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase and wider stance that enable a "significantly roomier" cabin and "best-in-class" space efficiency.
For the first time, CR-V petrol models will be available with the option of seven seats in SE and SR trim.
Inside the cabin
The remodelled cabin moves further upmarket, with both design and material changes. The dashboard features two seven-inch displays, while the control layout now has a simple cluster for air-con management beneath the central touchscreen.
There's been a host of safety, convenience and technology features added to the fifth-generation model.
Cabin occupants in the front and rear can make use of iPad-sized extra-large capacity door pockets, enabled by moving the speakers further up in the door panels.
In the front, a new three-mode centre console includes a convenient tray for a smartphone, or a large-capacity space big enough for a small handbag. In higher trims, twin USB ports in the rear provide charging points for phones, tablets and other devices.
Under the bonnet
In common with a growing number of carmakers, Honda has ditched diesel engines for petrol and petrol-hybrids (the latter will be along next year).
The 1.5 i-VTEC petrol engine comes with a choice of two and all-wheel drive and in both manual transmission and CVT.
Power is delivered via a six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional CVT automatic transmission tuned to deliver a more linear response.
The petrol and hybrid powertrains are front-wheel drive as standard, but both can be specified with Honda's latest all-wheel drive technology - Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System - which gives the CR-V some all-terrain capability.
Also helpful in the rough stuff, ground clearance has been increased by 38mm for all variants, up to a height of 208mm for the AWD petrol model.
Available in dealer showrooms from earlier this month, the new CR-V follows the grading of the previous generation rising from the entry level S grade to SE, SR and finishing at the range-topping EX.
Standard across all trim levels are parking sensors and a rear-view camera, as well as Honda Sensing, its suite of safety features which includes a collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.
SR and EX will also feature blind-spot warning and cross-traffic monitoring, while the CVT version will feature low-speed follow.
SR grade also adds smart entry and start, leather interior, active cornering lights and front windscreen de-icer, while EX further includes a heated steering wheel, head-up display, hands-free-access power tailgate, heated rear seats and panoramic glass sunroof.
Who would buy one?
The CR-V hasn't sold millions around the globe for nothing.
It's a great family car, with enough tech, space, comfort and room for use on a whole variety of occasions and requirements.
The price range starts at £25,995 for a 2WD manual S grade, and tops out at £36,455 for an AWD EX model with CVT.