Have we reached ‘peak’ CR-V, or was that back with the second gen?

We owned a second-generation Honda CR-V for over decade and there must be a very good reason we kept it that long. Although there isn’t any single cause for keeping it that I can recall, potentially it was more a case of… well there was no reason to replace it. And that’s from someone that drove the latest and newest family SUVs throughout that tenure. 

However fast, luxurious and off-road capable other faux 4x4s might be, having sampled them and to then come back to our CR-V was like putting on that familiar favourite go-to jacket. It keeps you warm but not too hot, has the right number of pockets, fits just right, and really hasn’t particularly worn out that much. 

Our CR-V offered unstinting dependability, extraordinary practicality and decent comfort. In fact, it could be said, with just the second attempt, Honda hit peak CR-V. This proposition is vindicated in witnessing not just the number of Honda CR-Vs running around in Northwest London (well it does vie with the Toyota RAV4 every year for the world’s best-selling SUV crown) but also because the version of the CR-V I encounter more than any other, is the same as our old car. Quite occasionally I even see the same blue finish and spec of our fam-fav and come over all sentimental. 

To the latest edition of the CR-V then. Some would argue that THIS is ‘peak CR-V’. There is literally not a single valid reason to not buy this car, and right here, I fear I’ve given away the conclusion of this review already. Doing hundreds of miles behind the wheel at a stretch feels like just popping to the shops; the efficient drivetrain ensures fuel stations are only passing acquaintances; the performance will never embarrass in any circumstances and not a single moan or complaint will emanate from passengers or pets. 

For spec junkies we’re talking a petrol-electric drivetrain involving a 2.0-litre four-cylinder efficient Atkinson-cycle engine combined with not one but two electric motors – one to do the driving and one a generator. Yep this is a multi-mode hybrid that works as an electric car when it has enough charge, firing up the generator and deploying varying rates of regen to charge up the battery pack when it can’t, as well as running as a regular hybrid to confirm its high convenience factor to owners. It keeps things so calm and quiet you never know what it’s doing and when, and you don’t need to know either. 

Available in 2WD and AWD with 184bhp and up to 243Nm it reaches 62mph from rest in 8.8 seconds or 9.2 seconds respectively, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s plenty effective in the real world. More crucially emissions are 126g/km and fuel economy is easily over 50mpg. 

It sounds a little expensive at around £40,000 for this EX spec, but frankly if you buy this car, rest assured you could run it for 10 years and never feel short changed, or ever necessarily find yourself pondering a change. The world’s SUV-buying families love this car. And frankly they’re not wrong. 

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