The Honda was whisked off to a dealership which promptly fitted the rack and returned the car with a bike rack which is certainly bespoke.
On the positive side, the bikes can be securely locked to the rack, unlike those portable carriers. It is very stable with no wobbles – even at high speeds – and it is easy to load as the bikes don’t have to be lifted very high.
However, I was expecting one of those little gadgets like you buy in Halfords for about £50, but it is more like a mini trailer. It juts out almost a metre from the back of the CR-V but only accommodates two bikes.
It can be removed, but it is a cumbersome and difficult manoeuvre. Opening the rear door is impossible unless you tilt the rack and again this is a difficult operation. Since the rack has been fitted, all shopping bags now have to sit on the back seat and my usual reverse parking technique has gone out of the window with all that extra clobber on the back.
The final sting in the tail is the price. It costs a whopping £700 to have the rack attached to the CR-V – I could have bought a second car for the same price.
I’ve since discovered that Argos now sells a portable bike rack for 4x4s. It fits over the spare wheel, carries three bikes and costs a mere £69.99. Buying one of these would leave £630 over Honda’s version, enough for a week’s cycling holiday in the South of France.
Bike racks aside, the CR-V is a joy to drive. It is still returning a healthy 36.1mpg, slightly lower than my last figure, but lugging a couple of mountain bikes around could have been the cause.
Honda has also been very clever with the compact styling and useful storage areas inside the cabin. There are cup holders and cubby holes almost everywhere. The dash-mounted cool box only stores two cans of drink but is useful on long journeys and the retractable tray in between the driver and passenger seats is handy.
When raised, it can hold drinks, keys, coins or whatever is thrown on it and at the flick of a lever it folds flat, leaving enough room to store a small bag.
Having oodles of storage space is one of the plus-points of 4x4s. The CR-V is as capable as most estates but also has the added benefit of a great driving view and a four star NCAP safety rating. Adele Burton
Model: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-CTDi Executive
Price (OTR): £22,800
CO2 emissions (g/km): 177
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £166 a month
Insurance group: 12E
Combined mpg: 42.2
Test mpg: 36.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £9,800/43%
Typical contract hire rate: £438
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles