HONDA, maker of the new CR-V, has achieved a feat on two wheels rather than four that cannot escape mention here.
Forgive my moment’s digression into the realms of motorcycle racing but in part this week’s column is about engines — and Honda makes some of the best.
Honda’s achievement was securing Sunday’s MotoGP world championship in Valencia, Spain. The youngest ever champion was a Spanish rider, Marc Marquez, on a Honda. He came third but it was enough to win top prize. If you like motorbikes and have not experienced MotoGP — motorcycle racing’s equivalent of Formula 1 — then next season I recommend taking some time out to catch it on TV.
MotoGP has all the thrills that have been sanitised and are generally missing in modern-day Formula 1, and it reminds me of watching Juan Fangio and Stirling Moss hammering around in the Fifties and Sixties.
There is also the beauty of the almost poetic cornering of the motorcycles — inclined to maximum “lean” angles of 61 degrees — enhanced even further by super slow motion TV cameras. And the riders actually seem to enjoy themselves and love riding motorcycles: often F1 drivers seem ill-tempered and boorish, as if driving a super racing car is a chore.
Honda is no stranger to motorcycle racing and has been doing it for years. Engines are crucial to the mix and one thing both car and motorbike racers have in common is their appreciation of the mechanical abilities of the car/bike they are driving. Without a peerless performance from these highly-tuned engines, you would have no superlative performances from star riders and drivers.
The engine on the new CR-V I discovered is just part of the package — but a very important part nevertheless. When a car comes of age it is a cause for celebration, and I think this CR-V has finally come of age.
It has been a long journey from this SUV’s introduction in 1995. Five million CR-Vs have been sold worldwide and this new version is the fourth generation. While former models have lacked a certain pizazz, this time the CR-V has cracked it: it feels like a luxury SUV costing at least £10,000 more than its £33,000 asking price. This CR-V is being offered with a choice of two- and four-wheel drive on the 2.0 i-VTEC model, with reduced emissions from both petrol and diesel engines (the diesel version is a 2.2 i-DTEC in manual and automatic).
The automatic diesel I drove this week had handsome lines, was comfortable inside and as I say, felt like a much more expensive car to drive and be in. I liked this ES model with its full leather upholstery, panoramic glass roof and power tailgate. The latter might seem flash but actually is very useful for everyday use of shopping, fetching and carrying.
The news is that a new CR-V available since last month in British showrooms offers more economy with even better fuel consumption. I hope to test this car at a later date. This CR-V, however, the 1.6 i-DTEC, has up to 1,669 litres of luggage capacity, performance and the “outstanding” fuel consumption of 62.8mpg. It also employs Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology.
inthe new engine, which has been specifically designed for the European market.
Honda CR-V factfile
Car tested: Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC EX 4WD Automatic
On the road price: £33,215
Metallic paint option: £500
Integrated Sat Nav
Full leather upholstery
Electric driver’s seat with memory settings
Panoramic glass roof
Prices start at £22,800 for the entry-level S variant of the new CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC