Honda CR-V 2.2i CTDI Long Term Test

Mon, 12 Nov 2007

My Honda CR-V 2.2iCTDI is my comfort zone. Now that the punishment for exceeding the 70mph speed limit is sequestration of all your worldly assets, I’ve found a car I’m happy in at 70.

It’s a whole new world, especially with Active Cruise Control. Instead of racing BMW 318s in the outside lane (not that I ever did), now my driving is all about anticipation and consideration.

Will the car on my shoulder pass me before I need to pull out to pass a truck? Is the truck ahead gaining on the truck in front of it? Will it want to pull out and pass? I spend my time watching every other vehicle on the road working out what its next move will be.

And that’s not made easy by Active Cruise Control, because even when you set the radar to the closest gap, it still likes to keep you more than a safe distance from the vehicle in front. It will spot that the nonagenarian in the Honda Civic up ahead is actually driving at 40mph long before I do and slow me down until I get it out of the radar. Which isn’t easy on a sweeping right bend because the radar will lock on anything straight ahead. But I learn to live with it as part of the package of getting there a few minutes later without upsetting anyone else on the way and consequently not being upset by them.

Rather a long preamble, but necessary to understand the nature of a car that on the face of it looks like another monster 4x4 melting icebergs with its carbon tyretracks.

Yet actually, it’s not doing that either. It’s rated at a mere 173g/km, the same as a MINI One convertible and Tax band E rather than earth shattering F or planet poisoning G.

Mine started off averaging 43mpg, no less, both on the computer and brim to brim over three fills of Total, because my local Shell station didn’t have V-Power diesel. Then it dropped back a couple of mpg. V-Power didn’t make any difference. Then they ran out of V-Power and I had to use ordinary Shell that only gave me 38.66. Though, over 2,345 miles I’ve still averaged 40.68, which is still impressive for such a big car.

It’s the EX version on gigantic 18” wheels which fortunately still offer 60 profile rubber between their rims and the potholes and ‘speed cushions’ that festoon all populated areas. (Who came up with that name for these suspension-shattering obstructions? Maybe the same conman who coined ‘safety camera partnerships’.) It’s good in the suburban wastelands, though not as good as lesser specs on 17s with 65 profiles.

And, of course, it’s loaded with goodies. As well as Active Cruise Control it has postcode satnav with a zoom screen and the facility to ‘day for night’ if you put your headlights on in the daytime. And voice-activated Bluetooth, that turns the whole car into your phone. The nuisance with that is you have to enter your numbers into the car’s system. It won’t pick them up from your voice activated phone. And some of mine are more than 20 characters long, to get cheap rates to the other side of the world, but it won’t swallow 20 digit numbers. So I’ve stopped phoning people from the car, but can, of course, pick up their calls, and that works very well.

On my first test of the CR-V, I much preferred its handling to the current RAV-4’s. You think it’s going to be like driving a wardrobe, but it clings on like an Audi quattro, leaving understeer to much later than you expect. Yet the steering is slow and soft, so you don’t feel like you’re driving a rally car. Other new SUVs like the Mazda CR-X, the Outlander, the C-Crosser, the 4007 and the new X-Trail are sharper and more ‘in touch’ with the road. But they’re not as cosy, nice and friendly as the CR-V. It’s like a woolly American car with a very clever race car chassis underneath and is probably the most pleasant car to drive I’ve ever driven. Nothing whatsoever irritates, and that’s the true test.

You can read all the other detail of the car in the main test. This was intended to append it with what the CR-V is like to live with. It goes back at the end of January, so I’ll make a final report then.

Original test of 2007 CRV 2.2i CTDI at Honda CR-V 2.2i CTDI 2007 model Road Test

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