When the weather was warmer, I was busily admiring the Honda CR-V’s effective air conditioning system and that wonderful coolbox in the dashboard that will keep two cans of drink nice and cold.
Now that winter is here and we are promised one of the coldest in living memory, I’m beginning to turn my attention to the car’s four-wheel drive capabilities.
To be honest with you, I hadn’t really considered this aspect before. I live in the fens, where all the agricultural land is grade one, and there simply isn’t anywhere round here to get the car dirty, unless you want to risk a run-in with a local farmer, closely followed by half a pound of grapeshot in the trouser area.
So when I did finally start considering whether this car would get through the forthcoming ice and snow while others founder, the first thing I noticed was that there was no discernible method of actually putting the CR-V in four-wheel drive mode.
Usually, there is either a second gearstick near the main one for selecting 4wd high or low gear ratios, or a switch on the dashboard.
A quick call to Honda revealed that this car is even more clever than I had thought. It stays happily in two-wheel drive mode while the going is good, but senses when the rear wheels are losing traction and immediately switches to all-wheel mode. How clever is that?
The weathermen’s general warnings have yet to bear fruit, unless you happen to have been one of the 1,000 unfortunate souls who were stuck on Bodmin Moor all night in snow recently. But when the white stuff blows in, I’ll be ready.
I’m well used to the winning ways of this car by now. A quick glance at the fact file shows that I’ve managed to pile more than three thousand miles on the clock since our last test, largely thanks to having a son in hospital in Oxford – a round trip of 200 miles from my house – and a partner who lives 120 miles away in Southend-On-Sea.
Driving back and forth to these two places has given me plenty of time to appreciate the CR-V’s finer points.
Despite being labelled a sport utility vehicle, the Honda is also a wonderfully comfortable tourer. I’ve never felt the slightest twinge in my back or legs in all those miles.
And there’s another bonus, too. Most of those miles have been undertaken in an ‘enthusiastic’ manner – a 200-mile round trip to visit a sick son after working eight hours at Fleet Towers is about the last thing I want and normally get it over with as quickly as possible – yet the car is still returning a figure of 38.7 miles per gallon – very reasonable for a vehicle of this size.
So much for those misguided individuals who want to ban these ‘gas-guzzling monsters’. Trevor Gelken
Model: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-CTDi Executive
Price (OTR): £22,800
CO2 emissions (g/km): 177
Company car tax bill (2005) 40% tax-payer: £166 a month
Insurance group: 12E
Combined mpg: 42.2
Test mpg: 38.7
CAP Monitor residual value: £9,800/43%
Typical contract hire rate: £438
Expenditure to date: Nil