The Honda CRV will be available as a petrol-electric hybrid
Instead this latest generation of CRV will only have petrol power with more choice in the form of a petrol-electric hybrid model due to arrive in early 2019.
This new family-focused CRV is very recognisably an evolution of the outgoing model, albeit with a few tweaks on the outside.
The most notable is the more raked front windscreen which gives a sleeker look, but other subtle elements such as the new Honda front end give it greater presence.
The petrol engine is a 1.5-litre turbo, which might seem quite small given the size of the CRV, but with a minimum of 171bhp (the CVT automatic brings a 19bhp power boost) it feels surprisingly spritely.
It will pull happily if you keep the revs up and need to overtake, but cruising is relaxed as well.
The extra power of the CVT doesn’t offer any tangible increase in pace, and the two feel largely similar.
The manual manages the 0 to 60mph sprint in 9.3 seconds and a 131mph top speed along with a 44.8mpg average fuel economy.
Like the previous version, the CRV offers a driving experience that is positively competent rather than exciting, with the steering offering a reassuring amount of solidity at all speeds.
The interior of the new and updated CRV SUV
It does get firmer at higher speeds, but there is enough resistance at a slower pace to not feel oddly light.
Of the two gearbox choices, the manual is slightly preferable – it shifts smoothly, and sits happily in many of the middle gears without over-stressing the engine – but the CVT is one of the better of its kind.
Without set gear ratios there is often the danger that it can send the revs sky high when you ask it to accelerate, and they do build occasionally when you press on, but it’s thankfully kept largely in check.
One of the main benefits of ditching diesel, though, is the improvement in refinement that comes with it as petrol engines are typically much quieter than diesels.
But the quiet in the CRV’s cabin isn’t just down to fuel.
There is also a noise-cancelling system as standard, which uses similar technology to headphones that cut out ambient sound.
That’s not to say the cabin is totally silent; the engine ramps up the noise levels when you accelerate, but it’s very impressive for a big SUV.
The cabin in the CRV is also a triumph of practicality in many areas.
The space on offer is supreme, especially if you go for the five-seater model.
Prices for the vehicle start at £25,500
In that case, the rear passengers get a vast amount of legroom, and the sort of headroom that will delight even hat-wearers.
The central seat isn’t quite as soft and cosseting as those on either side, but the almost flat floor means that three adults will fit across the back without getting in one another’s way.
The boot is excellent too, with an adjustable floor.
Set at its highest position it provides a loading bay that is almost totally flat when the rear seats are down.
The latest CRV is the first of its kind to have the option of seven seats, but like many SUVs of this size, the concept is more appealing than the reality.
Honda claims that the car can achieve nearly 45 mpg
Getting into the rear is a three-step process, but space isn’t exactly generous for adults once you’re there.
A six-footer will end up resting their head on the roof and have to ask the middle row passengers to slide their seat forward as far as it will go if they are to have any legroom at all. Up front, the cabin is pleasing on several fronts.
It boasts a similar amount of passenger space to the rear, and has some really handy storage spaces, including a vast box between the seats with a clever insert that allows you to configure it in three ways.
The driving position is very good as well, with an excellent amount of adjustment on the seat and wheel.
The majority of the materials in the cabin feel reassuringly high quality, with stitched leather, supple armrest cushions and solid buttons.
The only other disappointment in the cabin is the infotainment system.
The car features ‘too many menus, confusing interfaces and slow response times’
It comes with 8.0-inch touchscreen, a row of permanent shortcut buttons that sit flush with the screen on the left and a single volume knob but it’s a long way behind the best in class.
There are far too many menus, confusing interfaces and slow response times.
Despite the many things that the Honda does well and the growing movement away from diesel, the raw facts remain.
The most economical version is only capable of 44.8mpg and emissions of 143g/km are not compelling for those thinking of their tax bills.
Low mileage buyers might find the petrol fits their needs, but those with higher mileage needs or those buying with company cash might want to wait and see how the forthcoming hybrid CRV performs instead.
The car will rival the Hyundai Santa Fe and VW Tiguan
Price range: £25,500 – £35,000
Engine: Turbo-petrol – 1.5-litre
Power: 0 to 60mph in 9.3 seconds, 131mph top speed (manual)
Fuel economy: 44.8mpg (manual)
CO2 emissions: 143-162g/km
Rivals: Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX5, Volkswagen Tiguan