Sunday, 4 November 2007

What's outside today 29 - Honda CR-V

This is broadly comparable with the Chevrolet Captiva and the Land Rover Freelander 2 which have featured on the Verdict over the last few months.

The Freelander represents a particularly interesting comparison. The first Freelander and the first CR-V had fairly similar styling, which was hardly surprising given that Honda and Rover would still have been close partners during the early part of the two cars' development, although AFAIK they never actually shared any parts.

Honda has just launched the third generation of CR-V - the car tested here - while the Freelander is just into its second model generation, which gives you some idea of the funds available to the two manufacturers for new development.

The two cars are now very different in appearance; Land Rover has very successfully kept the best elements of the first Freelander's styling while at the same time linking its smallest 4x4 more directly in visual terms to its more expensive models such as the Range Rover. Honda's car looks good but a bit anonymous given that it doesn't have sixty years of 4x4 design heritage to tap and therefore has to do its own thing. The Freelander's interior is a lot classier as well, in my opinion.

The CR-V is very car-like to drive - there's very little roll on corners for example - although I'm not especially keen on the steering. Diesels work best in something like this, and Honda's petrol engines, which tend to be revvy with a strong top end would normally be the exact opposite of what you'd want, but the petrol unit in our test car worked reasonably well.

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