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Honda’s CR-V Is SUV-Perb: Fifth-generation car on its way

By Paul Connolly

The Honda CR-V was one of the original SUVs when production began back in 1995 and it remains an excellent contender today, especially for families.

It’s spacious, frugal and reliable and has been tried and tested for four generations now.

For those not in the know, the CR-V is a compact crossover manufactured at Honda’s Swindon factory.

It is Honda’s mid-range utility vehicle, slotting in between the smaller HR-V and the larger Pilot.

But since the Pilot isn’t on sale in the UK or Ireland, for some reason, the CR-V is your main choice for larger Honda recreational vehicles locally.

A fifth-generation car is much anticipated: the betting money is that it will arrive in Europe and the UK later this year or some time in 2018, having already had its debut in the US and Asia.

It’s a shame we’ll have to wait it out because there is plenty of new kit, tech and engines in the US and Asian models. But alas, we’ll not know the full UK spec for some time yet.

Meanwhile, the excellent fourth generation car is still holding its own in the highly-contested compact SUV sector.

This generation dates back from September 2011 when a CR-V concept was unveiled by Honda followed swiftly by a US production model for 2012.

It was powered with a 2.4-litre i-VTEC inline-four engine that puts out 185hp and 220Nm of torque at 4,400rpm.

And also, for the first time it also appeared with all-wheel-drive (AWD) with intelligent control system.

The CR-V received an excellent boost with a timely 2015 facelift, which saw the direct-injected ‘Earth Dreams’ engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for improved ride and efficiency.

Handling was further improved via a modified suspension, with improved shock absorbers, springs,

anti-roll bars and lower control arms.

The result at the time left the CR-V one of the best family-orientated small SUVs around: versatile, stylish, comfortable and very fuel efficient.

There are few cars of this size and type that can boast 62.8mpg on the combined cycle (note: these are official figures) and a C02 emissions level starting at 119g/km, which means a seriously reduced road tax bill versus many other SUVs.

It’s got an excellent road presence, with a commanding driving position and absolutely tons of storage space.

There are now five trim levels — S, S Navi, SE Plus, SE Plus Navi, SR and EX — though I like the 1.6i-DTEC SR as a good blend of price and specification.

A model to watch out for locally is the 1.6i-DTEC SR, nicely fitted out with bags of extra kit like DAB digital radio, half-leather and alacantra seats and active cornering lights.

If your wish-list requires further goodies, the range-topping EX model delivers in spades, including integrated sat-nav and lovely panoramic glass roof that floods the cabin with light.

The 1.6SR is a front wheel drive version, but the CR-V comes with a range of engines including 2.0-litre 4WD petrols and more efficient 2.2-litre diesels.

Inside you’ll find a cabin with a quality finish, excellent all-round visibility and tons of storage, including those under-floor pockets that keep handbags and computers away from prying eyes.

The boot is impressive, way ahead of many rivals, offering 589-litres of space with the rear seats up and 1,146 with the seats down courtesy of Honda’s clever folding mechanism.

The CR-V range starts at £23,475, however, customers who want something a little bit different should look out for a special new CR-V Black Edition that was launched in December.

It’s available in 4WD with a choice of petrol or diesel and manual or automatic. The CR-V Black

Edition starts at £29,995 for the manual 2.0 i-VTEC and tops out at £33,730 for automatic 1.6 i-DTEC.

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