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First drive: Honda CR-V – on sale now

Honda

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Review

The new CR-V has a lot to live up to. In the past two years, the old model overtook the Land Rover Freelander to become market leader. Sales have topped 16,000.

Honda believes refinement is the key to success. That’s why, rather than benchmarking the new CR-V against its natural rivals – Freelander, BMW X3 and Nissan X-Trail – Honda chose D-sector family cars.

Refinement will also help it attract more women buyers. Currently, seven in 10 CR-V buyers are male and Honda is keen to appeal to young families.

Since new CR-V went on sale at the start of the year, Honda has sold 6,617 units. It expects to end the year on 22,000 units, around 5,000 of which will be the old model on run out. The balance of 17,000 is higher than the old model, and will rise again next year.

The model is a big improvement over its predecessor. It looks sleeker, the interior is more ergonomically friendly, handling is more reassuring and the overall experience is much refined. It retains Honda’s excellent 2.2-litre diesel as its main engine option.

However, the power steering (electrically assisted on the petrol, hydraulic on the diesel) doesn’t offer much feeling and the ride could be a little more polished. But there’s little a regular saloon can do that the CR-V can’t.

On the downside, the gearbox is a bit clunky and the aeroplane-style handbrake is a little too far forward for comfort.

The CR-V is unashamedly at home most on the road. It excels at ferrying people around and offers improved towing capabilities.

Price: From £18,727
Engine: 2.2 CDTi diesel, 2.0-litre petrol
Transmission: Six-speed man, 5-speed auto (petrol only)
Performance: Petrol 0-62mph 10.2sec, top speed 116mph; diesel 10.3sec, 118mph
Efficiency: Petrol 34.9mpg, 192g/km CO2; diesel 43.5mpg, 173g/km
CAP RV 3yr/30k: Petrol 48% (£8,850); diesel 51% (£10,050)
Rivals: Land Rover Freelander, BMW X3, Toyota Rav4 and Nissan X-Trail

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