One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Senses Working Overtime.
What is Swindon famous for ? With apologies to Swindonites, off the top of my head not a lot really. The New Wave band XTC, Mark Lamar, who I once saw in in the car park underneath Manchester’s Ramada Hotel on Deansgate. What it does contain though, is the UK Honda car factory , where my latest test car the Honda CRV 1.6i-DTEC is built. Re-launched in 2014 it has been updated & improved adding Hondas ‘Earth Dreams’ technology engine to the existing 2 litre petrol unit on offer. This is an important development for Honda here in Britain. The petrol CRV offers emissions as low as 168g/km with a combined fuel economy of 39.2 mpg & is available on the road from £22,345, which is pretty good for a large SUV. However, the new 1.6 2WD manual version is a far more attractive proposition for the fleet customer with emissions from just 115g/km, a combined fuel economy from 64.2 mpg & costs from £23,400 on the road.
Having driven the older CRV 2.2 in 2013, which drove & performed admirably, I was a little concerned about the 1.6 units engines pulling power. The 1.6 is brilliant in the Civic as I discovered in 2013 when it was the only car I tested that averaged close to 50 mpg. I needn’t have worried. The smaller 160 bhp engine works just as well in the CRV even with four adults on board it’s still an agile performer reaching 62 mph from a standing start in around 11.2 seconds. There is obviously a lack of grunt compared with the 2.2 version, which had 350 NM’s of torque on tap, but even in the 120ps version, it’s a lot better than you’d expect from such a frugal unit.
The CRV comes in four trims. S which is very well equipped offering cruise control, dual zone climate control, 17″ alloys, CD/DAB audio with steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, USB & AUX in sockets, driver lumbar support, daytime running lights & Hill start /trailer stability assist. Next up is the SR, which gets you front & rear parking sensors, front fog lights, rear view camera, power folding mirrors & auto lights & wipers, which I feel would be the most popular fleet choice. My test car was next the SR with privacy glass, roof rails, ambient door lining lights, heated front seats, half leather & Alcantra, passenger lumbar support & an active cornering light system. Top of the range is the EX adding full leather, a power tailgate, panoramic glass sunroof, an electric driver seat, a keyless access system & integrated SAT NAV.
My test model the 4WD CRV SR, offers a combined fuel economy of 55.4 mpg. I wanted to see if the CRV would get anywhere close to this in my world, so I did two separate tests. The first was motorway only, where I managed to achieve 41.2 mpg at a constant 75 mph. The second was urban, around my locality where in stop/start traffic the CRV averaged 35.1 mpg. Add these together & you get around 38 mpg. This isn’t 55.4 mpg but having driven the Mazda CX5, Rav4 & Hyundai Santa Fe recently, it’s about 5 mpg more than I achieved in these doing the same journeys.
Unfortunately, our double oven had to be replaced in the week I had the CRV, so I was able to take advantage of the the excellent boot which offers 589 litres of space with the seats up, to take the old one to the tip. If you need more space the CRV’s got it, because if you fold the seats down you get a whopping 1146 litres to work with. Another good Honda idea, is the addition of a plastic tray which covers the bottom of the boot, very useful now that we’ve got a dog to keep the interior of the boot nice & clean. A word too about the rear passenger space, which was excellent, with plenty of room for 3 adults with decent leg room as well. You’ll easily get three six footers in here.
I think Honda have got it about right with the new engine in the CRV. The British car buying public love an SUV but the vast majority only want the 2WD version, so it makes an awful lot of sense for Honda to offer the CRV with 2WD & 4WD. Don’t be comparing the CRV to the Qashqai though, because it’s larger & more practical than the Nissan particularly now that the Qashqai + 2 has gone from the range. As a company car CRV’s have appealed to those who need a proper load lugger, but in limited numbers. However, with the improved fuel economy, lower emissions, cheaper price & better BIK you get with the 1.6 diesel particularly in 2WD manual mode there’s now a far stronger argument for adding the CRV onto your company car choice list.
A We’re Only Making Plans For Nigel 4.5/5.