From July 2010 issue

List price when tested: £29,135
Kerbweight: 1848kg*
85% match: NOT LEGAL
Max towing weight: 1500kg
Towball limit: 100kg
30-60mph: 14.9seconds
30-0mph: 10.1m
*Includes 75kg for the driver so differs from Honda’s published kerbweight

IN THEORY, the easy-going Honda CR-V should be well suited to the hassle-free driving you enjoy with an automatic gearbox. However, it’s a shame the legal towing limit drops from 2000kg for the manual to just 1500kg for the auto.

What’s more, we found the gearbox could be indecisive at motorway speeds, chopping and changing between the top two gears. At times a heavy right foot is needed to persuade the gearbox to change down.

We hitched up to a Swift Expression 540 (Mass in Running Order: 1283kg). The Honda pulled the outfit from 30-60mph in 14.9 seconds. That’s respectable enough, but some three seconds slower than the Mazda CX-7 we tested on the same day.

Staying on course

Through the lane-change test the Honda performed well, leaning on the outside tyres but staying on course and keeping control over the caravan. The hill start test proved straightforward for the CR-V, which coped well with the 1-in-10 slope in first gear and in reverse.

Leave your tourer on the pitch, and the CR-V is a comfortable, pleasant car. It’s not especially engaging to drive and there’s lots of body roll if you corner hard, so it suits a steadier pace, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Really sharp bumps sometimes catch out the suspension but in general it copes well with lumpy roads.

As a family car, the Honda is one of the best mid-sized 4x4s. There’s plenty of head and legroom in the rear and lots of space for luggage. With 556 litres available when the rear seats are upright we doubt you’ll need to fold them down often.

The CR-V is a comfortable and practical towcar, but we prefer the manual version.

We say
Towing: 3/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 3/5 – A good family 4×4 but let down by its low towing limit.

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