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Honda CR-V (2019) long-term test: A-ff-C on his SUV's styling

Published: 14 May 2019

► CAR lives with a Honda CR-V
► Ours is the non-hybrid petrol
► Check back for our monthly reports

Every new Honda brings with it a growing suspicion that whatever inspirational art once adorned the walls of the company's design studio has lately been replaced by a large, glossy blow-up of a bucket of smashed crabs. Not content with having turned the once agreeably futuristic Civic into a cacophony of conflicting rhombi, Honda's designers have now set upon the CR-V with equally vexing vim.

Adding layer upon layer of diverse ingredients may be an admirable approach to the construction of a Scooby Snack, but it rarely cuts the mustard when smeared onto pressed metal. When will the quality of an everyday Honda's couture properly reflect the quality of the engineering?

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Honda CR-V 1.5T VTEC SR AWD

Price £31,745
As tested £32,295 
Engine 1498cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 171bhp @ 5600rpm, 162lb ft @ 1900rpm 
Transmission 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive  
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 129mph, 151g/km CO2
Miles this month 627
Total 1509
Our mpg 32.8
Official mpg 42.8
Energy cost 17.5p


Month 1 living with a Honda CR-V: when the hedge fund runs dry

Well, this should be interesting; not only because the ff-C brood is clambering somewhat reluctantly from a decidedly premium SUV to a similar offering some 17 grand less expensive and of as yet gently unresolved status, but also because – in the short interim– we've been rather relishing the schmoozematic delights of Ben W's Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer.

We rather enjoy an estate car. Having long tired of what edible delights F Giles has to offer on his side of the Mudfordshire hedgerows, and no longer benefitting from a clear view ahead because the car in front is, inevitably, also an SUV, we have come to relish again both the quietness of a slippery shooting brake shape and its markedly less Poseidon Adventure dynamics.

Indeed, boasting price parity with this incoming CR-V (but for a few extras we can do without) and fuel consumption parity with the outgoing XC60, the Insignia has much to recommend it, especially if you can avoid a specimen finished in shouty red. It's quiet, comfortable and – if you leave all the switchable sporty options alone – rides deliciously well, yet, when asked, is capable of a briskness unavailable to either the Honda or the Volvo.

There's no question that Vauxhall's instrumentation and screen graphics are badly in need of being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but the only two properly galling issues we've been able to unearth during our brief tenure are a lane-departure warning system that must be switched off every time you climb aboard, and a reversing lamp so dim that it would be more effective to confiscate the red flag from the chap running ahead and hand him a candle with which to walk behind...

Pish, Honda might readily retort to such musings. If your choice of conveyance is relentlessly limited by the accommodation requirements of two increasingly long hooligans and one increasingly evil-smelling dog, then opting for what the company claims is now the world's best-selling SUV is surely a no-brainer. We'll see...

Honda CR-V LTT interior

Specification-wise, we've opted for petrol over diesel, because a change is as good as a rest, and a manual gearbox over an automatic, because the latter is CVT and there's already quite enough mooing going on over those Mudfordshire hedges. We didn't opt for the top-of-the-range trim level either, this SR grade offering all we really need – sat-nav, smart entry and start, full leather, hot bots, etc, yet still – plus ca change – making us pay for the paint.

Ah; I say 'all we really need', but I fear we are going to sorely miss the memory function attendant to an electrically operated driver's seat. Alas, the missus' legs are infinitely longer than the short, fat, hairy offerings I inherited from my mother, so a certain amount of mildly humiliating shunting in the direction of forwards is an inevitable side-effect of car key handover.

To make matters more complex, the missus' legs also seem to vary in length on a daily basis; it being impossible to second-guess precisely how much re-adjustment will be required at any given time.

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Logbook: Honda CR-V 1.5T VTEC SR AWD

Price £31,745
As tested £32,295 
Engine 1498cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 171bhp @ 5600rpm, 162lb ft @ 1900rpm 
Transmission 6-speed manual, all-wheel drive  
Performance 9.8sec 0-62mph, 129mph, 151g/km CO2
Miles this month 160
Total 885
Our mpg 33.8
Official mpg 42.8
Fuel this month £57.88
Extra costs None

Check out our Honda reviews

By Anthony ffrench-Constant

Contributing editor, architect, sentence constructor, amuse bouche

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