Looks - 7/10
I quite like the new CR-V body shape. It appears Honda has taken the 'futuristic' approach that has worked so well on the Civic. The front end is the biggest success in my opinion. The daytime running lights and sharp angles on the headlights are nicely balanced with softer curves on the bonnet and the front bumper. The rear end lack the same success. It seems a bit 'clunky', with the streamlined rear side windows not matching the large tailgate. My test car was an SR model, which means you get 18" alloys, privacy glass, HID headlights, roof rails and active cornering lights, all of which add to a more premium appearance.
The SR model gets some nice touches inside, too. You get half leather and alcantara trim, ambient lighting, and all the usual kit and caboodle. The interior just doesn't feel anything special. It isn't as futuristic the exterior, and whilst the materials are of high quality, the interior feels a bit dark on the whole. I would have expected more from the Honda, perhaps just some more aluminium trim or something to break up the black of the plastics and the leather. Having said that, you certainly can't knock the quality of the interior finish; everything inside the cabin feels solid and well put together.
Handling/Performance - 8/10
Having already tested the 1.6-litre diesel engine in the Civic I am aware of how good it is. You get 120PS and 300Nm of torque, fed to the front wheels via a 6-speed gearbox. This engine is only available in front-wheel-drive; if you want a 4WD variant your diesel option is the 2.2-litre, 150PS version. In a car the size of the CR-V the 120PS is only enough to get you from 0-62mph in 11.2seconds and on to a top speed of 113mph. Thankfully from behind the wheel the CR-V doesn't feel as slow as the figures suggest. In-gear acceleration is good, and it more than holds its own on the motorway.
The handling is as you would expect from this type of car. The high ride height is good, but with it comes a bit of leaning if you're a bit keen through corners. In general though, the CR-V is smooth and comfortable. The 2WD model has plenty of grip, and as I haven't driven the 4WD variant I can't tell you how this is different, though I would suggest that conditions would have to be rather unfavourable to require a 4WD. Cornering in the CR-V is good if you're not driving like an F1 driver, and at motorway speeds the engine is quiet. Long drives are certainly relaxing in the CR-V. I also had a few bumpier B-road blasts in my week with the car, and found the steering is nicely weighted but didn't seem as direct as other Honda's I've driven.
Economy - 8/10
Now one of the biggest praises I gave the 1.6-litre engine was in this category. It was like nothing I had ever driven in terms of economy. So perhaps I was expecting a bit much of the CR-V on this basis. With the extra weight of the car, it offers 60.1mpg on a combined cycle. That's still good by any standards, but it just isn't the Civic's 78.5mpg which won me over. Nor are the CO2 emissions. In the Civic the 1.6-litre diesel produces a mere 94g/km; and consequently road tax is free. Thanks again to the weightier body, and more importantly the 18-inch alloys, in the CR-V emissions are 124g/km. This is a bit high, and means road tax is £105 (free first year). That's quite a significant leap considering it's the same engine, and somewhat kills the eco-friendly mood.
Practicality - 10/10
One thing I couldn't fault the CR-V on is how practical it was. The space inside is immensely impressive, and the same goes for the boot as well. Fold the rear seats down and your CR-V should get its own postcode. I was impressed with the rear legroom too; I could sit behind myself (obviously not at the same time) with ease. Furthermore, the loading area at the back was vast. It's one thing having the space in the boot, but having such a large opening helps with larger or more difficult objects.
As already mentioned the Honda is a comfortable car. Visibility is good from in the cabin, and the rear-view camera helps when reversing. There's bluetooth for your phone and connectivity for your iPod, and kit such as the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, HID headlights and cornering lights help you when the sun goes down.
Fun - 6/10
I have to admit that the CR-V didn't really set me alight. It was good, but never felt special enough to make me want to grab the keys and head out for an impromptu drive. There's decent technology and equipment, particularly in the SR (and range topping EX) trim. But it just lacks the driver connection that I've found in other Honda models. They felt like they were designed for the driver, and the CR-V just, well, didn't. It looks good- you can't argue with that- but then so do a lot of other cars on sale today. The CR-V doesn't set itself aside from the competition, which is a real shame.
So to sum up the Honda CR-V then. Stylish? Yes. Spacious? Extremely. The CR-V certainly places itself nicely in Honda's line up, but then we have to come to price. You see the one I tested- the 1.6-litre 2WD SR model- is £26,880, and once you add the £500 for White Orchid Pearl takes it the wrong side of £27,000 which I'm sorry, is rather a lot of money. Choose a range-topping automatic EX model which has 4WD and you'll be on the scary side of £33,000. Once you're talking this level of money there's certainly more choice, and it allows you to expect more from the car in the first place. I like the CR-V, and I enjoyed it for the week I had it. I just think it would be difficult to part with that much cash to go out and buy one...
Total Score - 39/50