With sales on a high, the popular CR-V has been updated and refreshed for 2015, with most of the improvements going on underneath.
Out of sight they may be, but out-of-mind they are not because the reworked steering, ride and handling now comes with greater safety and efficiency.
The big diesel has been dropped in favour of new 1.6 units developing 160ps in the 4WD models and 120ps in the 2WD derivatives, along with a 2.0 petrol giving 155ps.
You get a choice of six-speed manual, the version we tested, or the new nine-speed automatic. There are four trim levels, S, SE, SR and EX.
We opted for the expected best seller, the 1.6 diesel 4WD with second from top SR trim.
The SR specification includes 18-inch alloys, privacy glass, half-leather and alcantara trim, better seats, higher performance lights and improved sound system.
It’s a good all-rounder despite only having five and not seven seats but it brings a bootspace of almost 1150 litres and access is very good through all five doors. The seats are very big and comfortable with excellent adjustment room on the front pair and they’re heated and nicely trimmed as well.
For the driver the 1.6 higher output diesel is a delight to drive and economical as well. There’s a very slight sluggishness when moving off but that quickly turns into a gutsy performer mid and upper range and the over-drive upper ratios in the manual box really do make the most of the fuel.
It is slightly boomy under load but mid and upper ranges are quiet when cruising in the upper gears.
I liked the steering weight and feel, the balance to the brakes underfoot with their accident-reducing City Brake Active System, and the easy clutch pedal action once I mastered its long travel action.
It could be provoked into rolling around corners but it gamely held onto the road surface and had no real vices. It turned tightly and with lots of cameras and sensors around it was very easy to park in small spaces.
I am not so sure I liked the plethora of instrument panels confronting me (right) and you really need to get use to them and their purposes and they are not immediately clear to understand or use.
Heating and ventilation was very good, powered windows back it up and lights and wipers were excellent.
With its Swindon-build quality a legend and strong residual values at the other end of the sale worth considering, the Honda CR-V 1600 diesel with its seamless 4WD makes rivals look very expensive and under-equipped.
|Fast facts:||Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SR 4WD £30,625, as tested £31,775|
|Insurance group: 27E||Mechanical: 4cyl 160ps turbo-diesel 1600, 6sp manual|
|Max speed: 125mph||0-62mph: 9.7sec|
|Combined mpg: 42mpg||CO2 emissions: 133gkm|
|BIK rating: Band E||Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles|