But after a few hours behind the wheel it becomes clear that Honda has spent a lot of time and money ensuring the CR-V is an accomplished car on the road, where the majority will spend their lives. And in marketing it as a 'soft roader', Honda is aiming this car at trendy types who want a vehicle a little different from a run-of-the-mill hatchback.
The CR-V is powered by Honda's 2.0-litre 148 bhp V-TEC - the same as the Stream.
Inside it is clear that the new CR-V is more versatile than its predecessor with 60:40 split sliding rear seats and a load floor that has been lowered by 120 mm. All this means load volume is increased from 374 litres to 527 litres. This rises to 952 litres when the rear seats are lowered.
A dash-mounted handbrake takes a bit of getting used to but creates more space. Apart from that the interior is well laid out with lots of storage space.
Fleet drivers will be attracted by the list of standard equipment. All versions come with ABS, emergency brake assist, airbags and CD player. Under the bonnet the engine is more than capable and performs well in the mid-range - the CR-V will allow drivers to make good progress.
But fine road manners come at a price. The CR-V's ground clearance is lower and there is a lack of travel in the suspension - a concession that the car is more soft-roader than off roader.