There are a great many off-roaders on the market and if you are looking to purchase one it is important to understand what you want.
For instance, are you looking for an estate that is also a 4×4? If so, you might consider the Subaru Forester. Or do you prefer a more robust and high up vehicle? The Mitsubishi L200 perhaps. You might be a Land Rover or Range Rover stalwart, in which case nothing else will do, although you might wish to take a look at Jeep’s offerings. You can’t forget about Sports Activity Vehicles that will handle light off-roading like the BMW X5 or the Mercedes M-Class.
Have we finished? No. Because there is another type of 4×4, manufactured by Honda. Its CR-V sports utility vehicle (SUV) doesn’t even have permanent four-wheel drive. Normally it drives just the front wheels. Four-wheel drive only kicks in when the system detects the front wheels slipping. It’s quite clever really because the driver doesn’t need to worry about changing from two to four wheels as they would in the Mitsubishi L200, for instance, and in theory this makes it more economical when commuting.
The CR-V ES-T 2-litre manual tested follows the design of traditional off-roaders being relatively high off the ground and feels as if it will take all that’s thrown at it.
I used to moan about modern vehicles not having any character and manufacturers preferring plastic over chrome.
In the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of driving an Audi A1 hatchback, where there was a fair bit of the shiny metal and now the Honda CR-V, which also liberally uses the precious (to me) material. It really is encouraging, as I believe it does add to the overall charm. The chrome door handles shimmer in the sunlight (when it appears) and make a good contrast to the black finish of the test vehicle.
A quirky feature is the handbrake, which is shaped more like a lever that you might expect in a racing car simulator. This is a little low to the floor, requiring me to lean to the left when engaging it.
The interior is comfortable – there is air conditioning and heated front seats. On a hot day though, the leather can be sticky and cooled seats would be advantageous.
Its six-speed manual box is precise while the engine powers the vehicle from 0 to 60mph in under 10 seconds and on to a top speed of 118mph.
Parkers, the car experts, says: “(The CR-V) takes up no more road space than a family saloon (it’s shorter than the Honda Accord) and its front end has been designed to cause minimum damage to pedestrians in an accident. This model is also less thirsty, less polluting, more practical and better to drive than its predecessor.”
A family-friendly vehicle that offers a more exciting alternative to a traditional estate.
New price range: £23,030 – £33,920
Top speed: 118mph
Watch the video at: www.testdrives.biz