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Honda CR-V: Driving Force

  • We report on how our CR-V fares on the road
  • Engine and gearbox particularly impressive
  • Fuel economy from 1.6 diesel is good too

I’ve done over one thousand miles in the CR-V now and I reckon I’ve got a pretty good handle on how the car drives, so I thought I’d share some thoughts with you.

That 118bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine is a real peach. Before taking delivery of the car I was concerned that such a large vehicle may struggle with a relatively small powerplant, but I needn’t have worried.

Thanks to a clever variable geometry turbocharger – which means there’s very little lag as it can start working right away – it’s an incredibly versatile unit. It boasts 300Nm available from just 1,750rpm, which means that from the lowest of revs there’s always enough power when you need it, and over-taking can be done very swiftly indeed without the need to drop a gear.

Situated handily fairly high up on the central console, the gear lever itself is in pretty much the perfect position. It’s something Honda has quietly persisted with over the years; its cars have always been great to drive thanks to well-positioned controls.

Add to that a positive and short throw for the lever itself and the six-speed gearbox becomes a highlight of the driving experience.

You’re sitting high up in the cabin of the CR-V, but that doesn’t mean you feel perched on top of the car. Some rivals suffer in this way, so it’s great to report than Honda’s engineers seem to have got the balance right. While you can’t disguise the sheer altitude of the front seats, you’re still smack-bang in the middle of the experience and thus in control of proceedings.

I like the front seats, and find they keep you snugly hemmed-in when cornering quickly. It’s a good job too, since there is quite a lot of body-roll to contend with if you hit a corner too fast. If you’re really silly you’ll find the front end of the car starts to wash wide, but I suspect that’s more down to the mud and snow tyres than anything else. A warmer climate with some summer tyres would probably tell a different story.

You can see a lot too, with no untoward bars across the rear windscreen (take note, Civic) or wide A-pillars to block your vision.

It’s nice to have parking sensors at both ends of the car, but one thing I’ve noticed since the weather has turned bad is that the lens for the reversing camera gets dirty very easily indeed, which in turn renders it next to useless.

I’ve tried a few times to eke out the best fuel economy I can from the CR-V, and the best I’ve managed so far – according to the trip computer – is 65mpg. Normal driving indicates about 50mpg on the computer, but time will tell how accurate this is over the course of my time with the car. It should get slightly better as I rack the miles up.

In the meantime I’m just going to enjoy driving it.

Mileage: 1,684

Fuel economy: 55.9mpg (ind.)