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CR-V's modesty proves to be a virtue.

Byline: By Robin Roberts

Modesty comes as standard in the Honda CR-V. One of eight models in the Honda line-up, the CR-V is now in its second generation after the original series proved itself so popular it became the best selling SUV in the UK.

The new generation is made in Swindon, along with the Honda Civic series, and boasts a high safety rating, latest intelligent 4WD transmission which senses when it is needed and a higher quality interior with a new grille and bumper to distinguish it externally.

The latest petrol engine is also joined by a 140bhp 2.2 diesel, which is expected to gradually become the more popular derivative.

But it was the lively two-litre petrol engine which I tested in the latest model, and it gives the CR-V a strong sporting personality.

It is a comparatively light and very agile car and acceleration is good all the way to its maximum while motorway limits are maintained in a composed and quiet style.

The CR-V 2.0 Sport also displays good economy, thanks to its lightness and despite the fact it has only a five-speed box and not the diesel's six appeal. The gearchange is easy, yet positive, in action and the steering displays good feedback combined with a tight turning circle. The brakes are progressive and powerful ( but I would have preferred a stronger parking brake.

Secondary controls all come to hand and simple instruments are easy to read and clear.

A sophisticated air conditioning system includes a pollen filter on the Sport version and this works well to keep the interior fresh and warm with good distribution, temperature control and output. I like the big rotary controls as well.

Oddments space is generous throughout, but some may consider the compartments and recesses are small. I like the cloth seats with good adjustment range in the front and a lot of support, matched with an adjustable steering column to make driving comfortable.

New-style rear headrests improve visibility and, combined with the low waistline and deep windows, mean that the CRV is easy to place when parking or edging through trees off-road.

The split glass rear door tailgate offers two methods to reach the back and it is easy to load.

The Honda CR-V ( short for Compact Recreational Vehicle ( is a gravel and grass model rather than a deep mud plugger, but its usual front wheel drive instantly gains rear wheel traction as well once sensors decide it needs the grip. The driver does not have to do anything except point it where desired ( and the system bites into action.

It is an ideal system for most on-road wintry conditions.

Facts and figures

Make: Honda

Model: CR-V 2.0 Sport

Price: pounds 18,900

Mechanical: 150bhp 1998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving all four wheels via 5 speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 110mph

0-62mph: 10.8 seconds

Combined mpg: 31.4

Insurance group: 11

CO2 emissions: 215g/km

BiK rating: 30%

Warranty: 3 years/ 90,000 miles; 3 years paint; 6 years anti-rust
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
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