CR-V press reviews

Lifting the tailgate reveals a camping ground for kids

Richard Bremner | The Sunday Times

Lifting the tailgate reveals a camping ground for kids

...the tailgate...lifts to reveal a boot that small kids could camp in...

It's easy to forget that when Honda's CR-V first appeared in Britain in 1997 the idea of a tall four-wheel-drive vehicle engineered almost entirely for driving on tarmac seemed a radical step. Most cars of this ilk were designed to spend more time in fields and on riverbeds than on shopping trips and the school run.

But Honda wasn't bothered about that. It knew customers wanted a tall, roomy and practical estate car with a dash of adventure about it. The fact it had an all-wheel-drive grip to negotiate a snowy road was merely a bonus.

...you can now drop the seats by tugging on a lever that folds the backrest, cushion and armrest automatically...

So no prizes for guessing that this fourth-generation CR-V offers much the same as before. Its styling looks a little sharper, the cabin is better finished and equipped, and there's also a bigger boot, plus an electric tailgate. But its essence remains unchanged, with a choice of either a four-cylinder 2.2-litre diesel engine or a 2-litre petrol unit.

Some of the most important changes are revealed not by opening the driver's door but the tailgate, which lifts to reveal a boot that small kids could camp in. And you can now drop the seats by tugging on a lever that folds the backrest, cushion and armrest automatically to reveal space capable of easing house moves - just the practicality that CR-V owners want.

The new Honda is as easy to drive as ever...

Honda has also attempted to give the car a more upmarket feel with better quality fixtures and fittings, though it's still heavy on the plastic. The new Honda is as easy to drive as ever, with the 2.2-litre diesel stout enough to lug sizable loads relatively effortlessly. Possibly because of improved aerodynamics this CR-V also feels less noisy cruising on motorways. At 50mpg it’s as economical as the BMW X3 yet the CR-V is better equipped, more practical and offers more of the qualities that have made the previous three editions a big hit.