What’s changed though, is the option users now get of hi-tech automatic transmission and the now more sophisticated pairing of high performance diesel power and 4WD. In other words, this CR-V has sharpened-up its act. As a result, it’s a hard car not to like.
These days with the Honda, i-DTEC power is developed from a smaller far more efficient 1. 6-litre engine. You get it with 160PS mated exclusively with 4WD, or with 120PS mated exclusively with 2WD. The pokier unit has the best power-to-consumption ratio in its segment and is the only engine in the range that gives you the option of the other key development added into this improved MK4 model, Honda’s nine-speed auto transmission.
I should also point out that the CR-V range still offers buyers a petrol option. The engine in question is the same 155PS 2. 0 i-VTEC unit used in the original version of this model and, like the majority of Honda petrol powerplants, responds best if you put a few revs on the board.
As before, the 4x4 set-up this CR-V favours is what the brand calls a ‘Real Time AWD system’, in other words, it’s one of those arrangements that sends drive to the front wheels nearly all the time, pushing torque rearwards only when a loss of traction is detected. In that situation, there’s no need to mess about with extra gear levers or buttons: everything’s done for you.
Of far more relevance though is the way the car drives on ordinary everyday tarmac, a capability Honda has tried hard to sharpen up with this revised model. The result is a machine beautifully fit for purpose.
If you knew anything at all about Honda CR-Vs, you’d probably recognise this as the latest car in the line. The front end adopts a more dynamic, planted stance, with redesigned headlamps flanked by LED daytime running lights flowing into a smarter new grille.
Future Hondas will probably be more extreme than this in their appearance – and will need to be. For the time being though, this car will blend smartly into the background.
You can keep your posh badges and avant garde designwork. Personally, what I really want from an SUV is stuff like… either the little fabric handle on the seatbase or either of the cargo sidewall levers in the luggage bay and the seat base tumbles forward, the seat back dips down and the rear headrest tucks in snugly. This has to be one of the cleverest seat-folding mechanisms around, a lovely piece of engineering that leaves the seats folded completely flat - the kind of thing you’d find useful day in, day out.
So this car’s easy to live with – and comfortable to drive too. We particularly like the way that the gear stick is located just a few inches from the steering wheel for snickety-quick changes. The key change though with this revised model lies below with the addition of this larger 7-inch ‘Honda CONNECT’ colour infotainment touchscreen. Apart from the entry-level trim, this Android-based set-up is standard across the range, controlling stereo and informational functions, dealing with the optional Garmin sat nav system and providing full internet browsing when you’re stationary.
In summary, what we have here is a car that can’t quite pigeonhole itself in any of the market categories you might search in to find potential rival premium small SUVs. Ultimately, it remains distinctively different, distinctively CR-V. Which ultimately, might very well be all you need.