What is it?
It’s the new Honda CR-V, the third-generation of Honda’s softish, road-biased 4x4. And this time it’s more road-biased than ever.
It doesn’t even look much like a 4x4 – the spare wheel has been relocated to beneath the boot floor and the tailgate is now top, rather than side hinged. In fact, aside from some curved plastic mouldings around the bottom of the body, there are no indications that this is anything other than a tall estate car. And that’s no coincidence. Because although Honda names the Land Rover Freelander 2, Toyota Rav4 and Nissan X-Trail among the CR-V’s rivals, Honda has benchmarked this car more against estates like the VW Passat and its own Accord Tourer.
What’s it like?
It’s a very good car. Unusually these days, it’s slightly smaller than its predecessor – 10mm shorter (because the spare wheel’s moved to the boot), 30mm lower and has a 10mm shorter wheelbase. But it’s still spacious inside.
There’s ample room front and rear and the CR-V has a fine boot with a (surprisingly handy) removable floor about halfway up. Better still, the rear seats can be slid (separately at the 60/40 split) back and forth to play boot space off against rear legroom. They also fold and tumble easily into three sections, which are split 40/20/40. The CR-V’s seats are just at the ‘right’ height to slide in and out of, while the boot sill is usefully lower than in most of its SUV rivals.