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THE environment has been in the news a fair bit these past few days, and from what I can gather we’re well on the way to Armageddon, thanks to global warming.
So it’s perhaps not the best time to be launching a new SUV which, if you believe some of the more vocal green groups, is one of the main reasons why it’s still sunny and 15 degrees as I write.
After all, most SUVs are big, thirsty, polluting machines that are chomping their way through the ozone layer.
Not so, claims Honda, as its new CR-V has some surprising green credentials.
First of all, it’s not that big – the dimensions are roughly the same as a Ford Mondeo.
Secondly, it’s not that dirty – the diesel model, which will be the likely biggest seller, accounting for 60% of sales, emits 173g/km of CO2 and returns claimed average fuel economy of 43.5mpg. To put those figures into perspective, a Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi emits 159g/km and returns 47.1mpg. Impressive when you take into account the CR-V’s higher drag co-efficient and the extra weight of its four-wheel drive transmission.
Honda is keen to put to bed some of the more misinformed claims surrounding SUVs and 4x4s, especially as the new CR-V is such an important car to the firm. It goes on sale next month and in a full year Honda expects to sell 22,000 models in the UK.
Fleets will be a key target as Honda wants to tempt more user-choosers into the CR-V. Around a third of sales of the previous model were to fleets, but this will be more like 40% with the new car.
Target customers will mainly be 35 to 50-year-old men (compared with 50 for the old version) with a family who want SUV practicality but desire upper-medium sector refinement, although Honda is also interested in tempting ‘yummy mummies’ (me too) away from Toyota RAV4s.
Available with either the familiar 2.2-litre i-CTDi turbo-diesel or a new 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol offering 150bhp, the CR-V operates mainly as a front-wheel drive car but the 4x4 system will apportion more power to the rear wheels if it detects the fronts are struggling for grip.
Prices have yet to be finalised, but expect the CR-V to start at around £19,000 and rise to nearly £25,000 for the range-topping turbodiesel version.
This gives Honda an advantage against the forthcoming new Land Rover Freelander, which will cost from £20,935 when it goes on sale next month.
Behind the wheel
THE previous-generation CR-V was the most car-like of mid-size SUVs to drive and disguised its high centre of gravity well, but the new version betters it.
Although the dashboard layout and higher viewpoint leave you in no doubt you’re driving an SUV, the moment you head down a winding road this feeling disappears.
The CR-V turns into corners well, with little in the way of body roll, while the ride is comfortable and should make long journeys a doddle.
Performance is also strong, with the turbodiesel engine providing enough power to offer acceleration from 0-62mph in a fraction over 10 seconds. However, even more impressive is the way the CR-V builds speed while on the move thanks to the 251lb-ft of torque.
Inside, the usual Honda quality shines through in a cabin which blends useability and style in equal measure.
THE old CR-V was a very good car, but the new version is even better. The more angular styling brings the car right up to date while performance and emissions from the diesel model in particular are both excellent. This is an SUV you can drive without feeling guilty.
|Model:||2.0 i-VTEC||2.2 i-CTDi|
|Max power (bhp/rpm):||150/6,200||140/4,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||140/4,200||251/2,000|
|Max speed (mph):||118||116|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||34.9||43.5|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||192||173|