David Motton
Tow Car Editor

See other tow car reviews written by David Motton

The expert test team at Practical Caravan magazine review the Honda CR-V 2.2 iDTEC EX and discover that it is a refined, roomy and reliable tow car


The Honda CR-V is about as sensible as tow cars get. It may not surprise or excite you, but it does just about everything else you might ask of a five-seat SUV. That includes making a stable and reassuring tow car. And we are pleased to report that the new CR-V is far more refined than the outgoing model.


We had no nervous moments towing with this Honda CR-V 2.2 iDTEC EX, right up to the legal limit (and beyond at the test track). In our emergency lane-change manoeuvre test the Honda gripped well and pulled the caravan (a Swift Expression 514) straight again without fuss.

There is plenty of muscle for towing with this model, thanks to the 2.2-litre diesel engine's 258lb ft of torque. The Honda pulled the Swift from 30-60mph in a respectable 13.1 seconds. However, the likes of Hyundai and Kia offer more punch for a similar price.

Everyday driving

As a solo drive, this diesel CR-V is competent but not very involving. And while the latest car is more refined than the previous generation offering, there’s still some wheezing from the engine when it is worked hard.

Driver appeal isn’t top of this Honda’s agenda – it’s a bit too grown-up and mature for that. Practicality is more the CR-V’s forte.


Inside this Honda, note that there is no seven-seat option, but the CR-V's cabin is well screwed together. Yes, some rivals offer seven-seat cabins for similar money, but if you don’t need the extra row of seats the Honda is just the job for the school run, family holidays or trips to the tip.

Those travelling in the back of this car have plenty of space to stretch out, and since there’s no transmission hump in the floor, three can get comfortable without kicking each others’ feet.

The Honda provides a class-leading 589 litres of boot space with the back seats upright. Levers in the boot or cords on the sides of the rear seats lower the seat backs in one smooth movement to provide 1648 litres.

Running costs

In terms of running costs, Honda quotes an official fuel economy figure of 48.7mpg, coupled with CO2 emissions of 154 g/km. And reliability should be a given. Honda finished on top in What Car?’s Reliability Survey every year from 2006 to 2012.

Technical specs

Kerbweight1828 kg
85% KW1554 kg
Towball limit100 kg
Maximum towing limit2000 kg
Power148.0 bhp
Torque258.0 lb ft
Official MPG48.7 mpg
CO2154 g/km


Overall, we feel that the Honda CR-V 2.2 iDTEC EX is a practical, roomy SUV and a stable tow car.



  • It proved stable and strong when towing
  • Passengers have a good amount of room
  • Class leading boot space that is easy to access


  • The engine isn't too refined when worked hard
  • It seats five, not seven