Despite dominating the UK softroad market, its lack of diesel powerplant has played into the hands of its Land Rover Freelander, BMW X3, Toyota RAV4 and Honda X-trail rivals. No longer. The CR-V now gets the highly-praised 2.2 CDTi turbodiesel borrowed from the Accord.
The all-alloy engine, which will be made in Swindon from next year, hasn’t been fettled for this application because Honda reckons the overwhelming majority of CR-V drivers want car-like performance and responses.
The advanced common-rail four-cylinder engine develops 140bhp at 4,000rpm and a hefty 250lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm. Naturally, it’s Euro IV-compliant.
The diesel gets a bespoke six-speed manual transmission. There’s no automatic option – Honda apparently doesn’t have a self-shifting option that’s capable of handling the CDTi’s high torque output. The arrival of the new engine also ushers in a myriad of minor detail changes to the Honda softroader.
There are new bumpers, headlamps units, 16inch alloy wheels, flared wheelarch protectors and a redesigned grille on the outside to give the CR-V a much-needed visual boost.
The cabin gets more ergonomically designed rear headrests, a new steering wheel design, a wider choice of trim levels and backlit instrumentation. At the same time, the Honda’s all-wheel-drive system has been improved, promising a faster kick-in time for the rear wheels when those at the front start slipping.
Like the petrol, the diesel Honda will come in SE, Sport and Executive trim, and will cost £18,600, £20,150 and £22,800 respectively. Honda believes the diesel’s arrival will effectively double sales of CR-V this year to around 25,000, with 50/50 split between petrol and diesel.
The CDTi driver will have to pay a £1,400 premium over the petrol-powered models, a marketing decision to protect petrol sales. That means fleet drivers will have to rack up 20,000 miles a year over three years to make the diesel an economically viable choice.
And Honda anticipates a very high 48% projected residual value on diesel CR-Vs. Service intervals are 12,500 miles – the same as for the petrol.
Behind the wheel
START it from cold and there’s no doubt that this CR-V is diesel-powered – there’s plenty of tell-tale compression clatter.
But as soon as the alloy unit warms to its operating temperature, the turbo-charged powerplant becomes all but inaudible. With its low-rev, high-torque delivery, the CDTi diesel is probably quieter than its VTEC petrol counterpart at motorway speeds.
Torque builds quickly as the needle swings towards 2,000rpm, and there’s ample in-gear go to tackle slower traffic and inclines with ease. The diesel is the very antithesis of Honda’s high-revving petrol engines – there’s no call for redline histrionics to make decent progress, and as a result is far more relaxing car to drive than the petrol model.
The rest is standard CR-V fare – a firm ride, direct but remote feeling steering, excellent versatility, solid build quality and an odd mixture of soft and plush and hard and shiny plastics.
But it’s that engine that dominates the driving experience. It’s a fine powerplant, as refined and hushed at motorway and city speeds as it is punchy and responsive. Buyers who stump up the extra money won’t be disappointed.
Engine (cc): 2,204
Max power (bhp/rpm): 140/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 250/2000
Max speed (mph): 114
0-62mph (secs): 10.6
Fuel consumption (mpg): 42.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 177
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 58/12.8
Service intervals (miles): 12,500/one year
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £18,600 - £22,800