Car Review: Honda - CR-V  Series 06 (3 stars)

The Honda CR-V gets its mid-life facelift - nip, tuck, still looks good

The CR-V has been a successful model for Honda, cashing in on the softroader craze. It will be near the top of most people's lists when looking for mildly stylish, safe, reliable, high up family transport. The CR-V has done well to be recognised as one of the frontrunners in the segment.

Now Honda has launched a facelifted model - and it has been touched by some of the oddball Civic magic. They are mild touches, but they do mark Honda out as the maker of the occasionally distinctive car. It's still handsome and appealing, yet more likely to be picked out of a line-up. This CR-V is now conclusively in the league of premium softroaders rather than the value-brand pretenders.

Changes other than the styling tweaks are few and far between - an automatic gearbox is provided with the diesel for the first time, which is now the 2.2-litre i-DTEC engine seen elsewhere in the Honda range. The gearbox is an impressive setup, developed in-house at Honda, and suits the CR-V's laid back character. The diesel is the best of the limited engine range, although economy on all the engines is nothing to write home about.

The CR-V remains a very practical car, however - and this is probably its biggest draw. There are myriad cubbies and lots of places to hide things dotted about the cabin. It takes four people in comfort with plenty of legroom and the boot is a reasonable size too. It is nice to see where thought has been put into the lifestyles the car will be expected to fit into. Everyone can make themselves at home inside the CR-V.

It's not entirely practical inside though - the dashboard looks as thought it has been sprayed with buttons and some of the controls can get confusing, where some more careful planning could make life a little less confusing. Having said that, the dash is high quality and solidly built. Overall, it's a comfortable, quiet car clearly geared at relaxed motorway cruising.

The suspension is tuned towards the softer end of the spectrum, which whilst it makes for a better ride over bumps, does mean that the CR-V heaves and rolls round corners. This isn't a driver's car, but what it sets out to do it does well. Top marks to Honda for sneaking through into premium mainstream credibility - it has become a frontrunner, in this segment at least.

Honda CR-V Series 06 StatisticsCar Reviews

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