The Honda CR-V is a road-biased SUV that's better suited to driving on tarmac than off it. The car looks good and has a classy interior, boasting Honda's legendary build quality and lots of equipment to make it a rival for cars such as the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
As with much of the competition, Honda offers the CR-V with either four-wheel drive for extra grip and some off-road ability, or two-wheel drive for added efficiency. It's not as economical as some rivals, such as the Nissan Qashqai, however the facelifted version available from 2015 helped to address this, thanks to a new diesel engine and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
The interior of the CR-V is spacious, with a big boot, and it also has rear seats that fold down at the pull of a handle to offer a completely flat load area. In fact, the CR-V benefits from a class-leading boot due to its overwhelming size and clever seats.
Making it even more family-friendly is an extensive range of safety features. These include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and active cruise control. Lane-keeping assistance gently steers the car back in lane if it starts to drift, while active cruise control automatically maintains a safe distance to the car in front, before accelerating to a pre-set cruising speed when the way is clear.
The Honda CR-V is available with either a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 1.6-litre diesel engine that comes in a choice of two amounts of power. The less powerful diesel is two-wheel drive and manual gearbox only, but its excellent fuel economy and reasonably quiet running makes it our pick of the range. The more powerful diesel comes with four-wheel drive only. Honda also offers a nine-speed automatic gearbox (replacing the old five-speed version) as well as the standard six-speed manual transmission.
The range starts with the basic S model, then moves up to SE trim, which has all the equipment you could ever need. Next up is the SR model, which adds a leather interior, while the range-topping EX has an equipment list to rival an executive saloon's. However, the EX pushes the CR-V into premium brand territory, where it has the difficult task of competing against the likes of the Audi Q3 SUV or the Mercedes GLA-Class SUV. We would recommend the mid-level SE Navi model, priced around £28,000 depending on engine and transmission choice.
All Honda CR-Vs come with alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, a DAB digital radio, an alarm and a dashboard multi-function display.