IF I had to choose one car as a keeper, it would by the Honda CR-V. I know that no-one hangs on to cars nowadays, the market being geared to a three-year turnaround for most buyers. But, if I was minded to go for marathon – rather than middle-distance – ownership the CR-V would be my runner of choice.
Why? Well, firstly, because of Honda’s deserved reputation for all-round dependability. The Japanese manufacturer is a byword for reliability and durability, the engines in particular being well-engineered.
And then there’s the feelgood factor. The CR-V is a big, comfortable, capable, five-door SUV (sports utility vehicle) with a long pedigree and a feeling of integrity about it. With its raised ride-height, spacious, cossetting cabin, armchair-like seats and well-thought-out features, this is a car I could willingly use to put in the miles.
Alongside the feeling of wellbeing the CR-V engenders, there’s also the knowledge that you are enjoying some great technology, a fact brought home to me during a week-long road test of a top-of-the range EX model with all-wheel drive. The first taste of it is the pleasure of push-button motoring. Start-up: push the button. Go forward: push the button. Reverse: push the button. Parking brake: p… well, I’m sure you’ve got the idea by now.
Those buttons to be pushed are just the outward signs of a lot of tech in the hybrid electric vehicle version of the car, combining ‘leccy propulsion with a fossil-fuel engine, hitched to a smooth automatic gearbox of the constant velocity transmission (CVT) variety.
The hybrid CR-V is non-plug-in. It does all its charging on the go. And go it does, with a whisper-quiet alacrity that belies the fact that there is a two-litre petrol unit as well as an electric motor under the bonnet.
The hybrid has three drive-modes: Electric, Hybrid and Engine. Put simply, electric drive is when the car is running silently on pure electricity and drawing its power from the battery via a drive motor; this mode will usually be used when accelerating from standstill or during low-speed cruising. In hybrid drive, both the petrol and electric motors are sharing the work, for example when accelerating at speed. Engine drive, as the name implies, is when the petrol engine is directly powering the car, such as during sustained high-speed motoring.
And it’s all absolutely seamless – just push the button.
The same goes for the electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system, designed to automatically step in when loss of traction is detected.
As I said, the cabin is a welcoming place to be, with quality leather upholstery and rewardingly tactile surfaces throughout, except for a couple of panels of faux wood.
There’s a wealth of equipment, too, including heated seats (front and rear) and heated steering wheel, which was a boon on a series of cold, damp days.
Kit includes: Dual zone climate control, rain-sensing automatic windscreen wipers, windscreen de-icer, rear view camera and parking sensors, power-folding door mirrors with tilt-on-reversing function, active-cornering lights and dusk-sensing headlights with high-beam support, heads-up display, hands-free access powered tailgate, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function and opening panoramic glass sunroof.
On the practicality front, the car is full of clever storage ideas, a generous amount of legroom and a cavernous boot of more than 1,700 litres capacity with the rear seats folded. You will also find one-motion folding seats and a flat boot floor, with seven seats available as an option.
The CR-V has a familiar silhouette – I like the fact that the design has evolved down the years rather than undergone radical transformations as some manufacturers are wont to do. It gives the car a dateless, readily-recognisable look – something you want in that car-to-keep.
Price: £39,600 OTR (inc £550 for metallic paint).