Part of the CR-V's appeal being its spacious cabin and capacious boot.
Smaller-engined CR-V is more agile but lacks pace of equally clean rivals
The CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC is a necessity for Honda if it wants to make a bigger impact in Europe's compact SUV market. This new front-wheel-drive model, which uses the 1.6-litre turbodiesel first seen in the Civic hatch, delivers 118bhp and 221lb ft and returns 62.8mpg and 119g/km.
The 1.6-litre unit weighs 47kg less than Honda's more powerful 2.2 i-DTEC engine, and the removal of the four-wheel drive system sheds a further 69kg, which in turn has allowed a sharpening of the CR-V's dynamics. Softer springs but firmer damping at the front have added some agility and the steering is quicker.
The 1.6-litre unit weighs 47kg less than Honda's more powerful 2.2 i-DTEC engine,... which in turn has allowed a sharpening of the CR-V's dynamics.
However, this is not a quick car. Despite peak torque arriving at 2000rpm, it never delivers much mid-range urgency, and that makes you busy with the six-speed manual gearbox. More than moderate acceleration on the motorway requires you to drop a ratio or two. That's likely to be exacerbated when fully loaded, part of the CR-V's appeal being its spacious cabin and capacious boot.
Honda has yet to confirm pricing, but this CR-V will be offered in S, SE and SR trim, with the entry point expected to be about £22,000. It's difficult to ignore its economy and emissions, but the newly improved dynamics only emphasise the 1.6-litre engine's relative lack of performance. Its emissions are matched by several rivals, too, not least the 2.2-litre Mazda CX-5, which has the same CO2 output, delivers 149bhp and 280lb ft and costs much the same.