Honda CR-V diesel: A joy to drive

I TESTED a CR-V at the end of last year and was pretty impressed.


Motoring editor Rosie Allsopp takes out the new Honda CR-V diesel

I TESTED a CR-V at the end of last year and was pretty impressed.

That was a petrol version but this model has one of Honda’s newly designed, ultra-efficient iD-TEC engines.

In fact I’ve already seen the engine at first hand, in a Honda Civic that I had the pleasure of taking for a spin over the summer.

The new diesel engines have been designed to be lighter, smoother and deliver superb fuel efficiency. Indeed, the Civic racks up an impressive

78.5mpg. The CR-V, with a bigger frame than a Civic and therefore more weight to carry, is slightly thirstier but still turns in a very respectable 62.8mpg on a combined cycle. That said, the iD-TEC is lighter than the previous version, which in turn has resulted in better handling.

Before I got behind the wheel I wondered how the engine would cope with pulling a bigger, heavier frame but, to be honest, I barely gave it a second thought when driving.

After scooting along the seafront in Town, I took the iD-TEC up Le Val des Terres, as it’s a perfect piece of steep road for testing how much grunt a car has. On the day of the test drive, I was in a line of traffic that was following one of those massive, slow-moving lorries up the hill. I was about four cars behind and there were several other cars behind me, and it’s fair to say that we were all crawling along.

Now, in some vehicles that means a fairly irritating few minutes of constantly changing between first and second gear while the engine alternately groans and shrieks and then gurgles as it tries to maintain a decent pace.

Not in the iD-TEC. It happily settles in and trundles contentedly all the way to the top of the hill without any trouble whatsoever.

And it’s the same when we’re cruising along at 35mph. Nothing seems to faze it. The vehicle takes everything from sharp braking, twisty corners, idling  in traffic queues and squeezing into fairly tight spaces in its stride.

I think that its fuel economy is possibly its most alluring feature. It would be pretty fabulous and not terribly expensive to load its massively spacious cabin up with family and luggage and really take advantage of those endless French roads.

But don’t just take my word for it. The iD-TEC has earned the attention of the national motoring press and received some glowing reports.

Auto Express gave it four stars out of five, saying; ‘While it comes with

certain dynamic compromises, the new 1.6 CR-V iD-TEC is a vast, practical family car that is now more affordable to run than ever. Shedding weight has improved the handling, and, although the new engine is not as refined or punchy as the 2.2-litre unit, it will be a lot cheaper to run and buy which should broaden its appeal and make it a hit with both fleet and private buyers alike.’

I couldn’t have put it better myself.