The British-built SUV combines the useful all-weather feature of 4×4 with the day to day practicality of a big estate.
With such good manners, an intelligent 4WD transmission, and no real drawbacks why would you want to not have the real thing?
But if you did want to save a little money and risk looking silly in the slippery stuff, there are also 2WD derivatives of the CR-V.
The CR-V, built in Swindon and exported around the world, is arguably one of Britain’s best kept secrets. It’s available with diesel, or as tested here with a petrol engine and 4WD, and in a modest range of trim levels with or without automatic transmission. There are 21 models spanning £21,400 to £32,650.
The 2.0 litre engine is a sound performer, giving the 1627kg five-door model a respectable acceleration from rest or through the gears. It also cruises with a lot of composure on the motorway and its stated legal maximum is close to 120mph.
What it lacks in absolute road-burning ability it more than compensates for with its ease of driving, refined controls, comfort, room and practicality.
Access is good for passengers or when loading the rear, the back seats quickly fold away and all the seats are deeply padded, locate well and the front pair have a very good adjustment range for a variety of preferences. The column adjusts for reach and rake so the driver can precisely tailor to suit style.
The layout of the major and minor controls puts everything close to hand, the instruments are generally big and clear and there are the usual warning lights to back up with the EX also having a very clear reversing camera built into the satnav display. Big door mirrors, a big interior mirror and slim roof pillars despite the sweeping profile give good all round vision, and its helped by good headlights and wash/ wipe front and back. Climate control is effective and simple and there’re lots of places to stow items for longer journeys in its family role.
The comfort of the seats is matched by an absorbent ride but there is some body roll present. It coped well with mild off road use and while it was smooth it also generated a lot of road noise which stood out as it was otherwise mechanically quiet.
Over a mixture of roads and through traffic of varying density it returned 33mpg, a little short of the suggested combined figure in the statistics of 37mpg, but still fairly good and with over 12gallons capacity that is close to 500 miles range.
It is the way it covers the distance, with ease and comfort, and with the ability for the driver and passengers to see everything around them that makes the Honda CR-V so enjoyable in a very relaxed, unchallenging way. It may be undramatic but its damn good.
Honda CR-V 2.0 I VTEC EX 5dr man £28,900
Insurance group: 25
Mechanical: 155ps 4cyl 2.0 petrol engine, 6sp manual, 4×4
Emissions/ tax: 177gkm/ VED Band I Performance: 118mph max., 10.2sec 0-62mph Fuel cap/ consumption: 58 litres/ 33mpg Luggage: 589/ 1146 litres Warranty: 3yrs/ 90,000 miles