“THIS reminds me of my Ford Granada,” said my 73-year-old dad Mervyn as he stroked the cabin’s faux wooden trim.
Probably not the reaction Honda was hoping for about its relatively revolutionary hybrid SUV — but it’s praise nonetheless from an important demographic.
My dad bloody loved his plastic-veneered Eighties road barge.
Over the last 24 years of production, the CR-V has steadfastly remained one of the most broadly unassuming, non-sporty yet hugely popular SUVs… in the world.
And in an effort to make it even less exciting it now comes as a mild hybrid. With diesel engines ditched from the 2019 CR-V line-up, this unique hybrid powertrain featuring a 2-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, two electric motors (one propulsion, one generator) and no gearbox is the new frugal benchmark.
While boasting a hugely spacious, comfortable and quieter cabin for five to roll quietly around town in, it does forego a few potentially flawing features compared to the non-hybrid petrol — no third row of seats and a heavily reduced towing capacity.
Starting off automatically in silent electric mode you’ll hardly notice the petrol engine kicking in under normal relaxed driving conditions.
Until… “Is that a motorbike right behind us?” Dad remarks on hearing an alien sound after half an hour of quiet wafting.
Put your foot down, or find a steeper incline, and the suddenly strained, monotonous drone from the engine you forgot was there abruptly ends the gentle ambience you’ve been slowly cultivating.
More bizarrely, however, is that the unsporty CR-V Hybrid handles really rather neatly when being hustled along. It just doesn’t sound like it does.
Compared to the past few generations of this medium-sized SUV, this is to my eyes, and by some margin too, the best designed yet.
A visually wider and more sculpted front end, angular rear and more purposeful stance gives the CR-V a slightly more masculine look.
And inside, beyond the optional wooden inlays, there is nothing to quibble about — except maybe the push-button drive selector on the central console until it becomes second nature.
Available in both two and four-wheel drive and in four states of trim, you can pick up a 2WD entry-level S from £30,130 with 18in alloys, rear spoiler and eight-speaker DAB/Bluetooth sound system rising to £38,280 for the all-wheel drive top-of-the-range EX with head-up display, hands-free powered tailgate and electric panoramic glass roof.
And with safety tech including lane keep assist, ISOFIX, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and collision mitigation braking assist as standard across the Hybrid range, the traditionally safe-choice CR-V has never been safer.
It won’t win envious eyes from the opposite sex, improve your social standing or social media following but for the more mature (or mature of mind) it’s more sensible than ever.
As my old man said, slowly shifting out of the perfectly raised (for him) leather seat after an unusually long drive, “I think Honda have made a lovely car.”
Now, that’s exactly what Honda would want to hear.
KEY FACTS: HONDA CR-V HYBRID
Engine: 2-litre petrol with two electric motors
Power: 143hp, 243Nm
0-62mph: 8.8 secs
Top speed: 112mph
Man for the big occasion: Peter Hickman
The beautiful dot of land between Liverpool and Ireland may appear to be nothing more than a tax haven to the untrained eye. But to us bikers, it’s the centre of the universe.
Peter Hickman is the fastest road racer on the planet – god knows his sugar intake[/caption]
To compete in the Isle of Man TT race is to walk among giants. To win a TT is to stand shoulder to shoulder with the two-wheeled gods.
Peter Hickman is the lap- record holder, which makes him the fastest road racer on the planet. God himself knows how many sugars he takes in his tea.
Hickman, born in Burton upon Trent, Staffs, took the road racing scene by storm in 2014, winning the fastest newcomer award after his TT debut.
Where other racers have taken years to acclimatise to the 37-mile course, he took to it like a 129mph duck to water.
‘IT’S AMAZING DOING 190MPH-PLUS’
Hickman said: “I wanted to feel as relaxed riding the TT as I did when I used to drive the three-mile commute to the sheet metal factory I used to work at.
I did my homework, drove countless laps in a hire car and studied every bump, drain cover and kerbstone. When I’m relaxed, I’m fast.”
Hickman just kept getting quicker, and in 2018 set the fastest-ever lap of the TT.
On his final lap of the Senior race, he closed down leader Dean Harrison, took the race win and set a lap record of 135.452mph on his BMW S1000RR SuperBike.
Hickman, born in Burton upon Trent, took the road racing scene by storm in 2014[/caption]
He said: “It’s an amazing feeling, doing 190mph-plus on roads that are normally limited to 30mph.
“Not many people will ever get to experience it and fewer still get the opportunity to do it legally”.
The six-lap tussle with Harrison went down in history as one of the greatest road races of all time. You can watch the 2019 TT on ITV4 every night this week at 9pm.
Tough weather conditions in practice means it is unlikely we will see the lap record being broken this year. But if anyone can do it, it’s Hickman.
- John Hogan is the editor at SuperBike and presents Bike World on YouTube.
Silverstone’s Father’s Day deal
IF you’re a competitive dad who likes speed, rip this out and stick it on the fridge.
If you’re the son/daughter of a competitive dad who likes speed and he’s stuck this on the fridge, take the hint.
Father’s Day is just around the corner (June 16) and the good people at Silverstone have come up with a cracking prize: A head-to-head supercar driving experience for two at the home of the British F1 Grand Prix.
That’s YOU and DAD, five hot laps each in a 195mph Aston Martin Vantage V8 and then another five hot laps in a Ferrari F430 Coupe. I know. Quality, right?
As long as you’re driving safely, Silverstone’s top instructors will encourage you to go as fast as you can and then assess your performances at the end. So don’t screw up.
Now I must say there are other decent driving experience centres up and down the country but nothing compares to the buzz of Silverstone and driving on the same bit of tarmac where Lewis Hamilton and all your F1 heroes have sprayed the victory champagne.
Win: £99 Silverstone supercar driving experience
To enter my free draw for this fabulous Father’s Day prize, simply follow me on Instagram @robgilluk and tag a friend by midnight on June 5.
Note. Drivers must be aged 21+, max weight 18st, and have held a full UK driving licence for at least three years.
Prize must be redeemed by October 31. Travel and accommodation not included. Other T&Cs apply.
Winner chosen at random. Good luck. Note. Note. My son didn’t beat me.
Silverstone driving experiences start from £99 and the two-hour Head-to-Head Experience costs £219 each.
Go to silverstone.co.uk for more details. F1 tickets are still available too.
BMW axe 1 Series’ real-wheel drive
THIS will go down like a cup of cold sick with purists. BMW has axed rear-wheel drive on the new 1 Series and made it front-wheel drive.
The switch frees up space for a bigger cabin – a major criticism of the old car – and a bigger boot.
BMW has finally axed rear-wheel drive on its new 1 Series[/caption]
But it also means it loses its USP and is now more akin to an A-Class. I’ll reserve judgement until I drive it in July.
Prices from £24,000 for the 118i (1.5-litre 3cyl turbo petrol) up to £36,000 for the 306hp M135i with 4WD. As for the new look, yes, that face is reminiscent of the pig from Angry Birds but I like it.
Braking news with Rachel Burgess
Rachel is deputy editor at Autocar magazine.[/caption]
- THE number of cars built in the UK almost halved in April. The reason? Companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, Mini and Rolls-Royce all had factory shutdowns timed to coincide with the original Brexit date.
- SMMT data reveals that 70,791 cars were built in April, compared with 127,970 the year before.
- IF owning a Bentley wasn’t already exclusive enough, the Crewe-based car maker has plans for a ten-car special costing around £1million each. Sitting under Bentley’s coach- building arm Mulliner, the models are expected to hark back to Bentley’s early heritage.
- JAGUAR will end production of its flagship XJ saloon in July as it makes way for a new, electric generation to arrive next year.
- THE first electric Mini, the Mini Cooper S E, has been spotted ahead of its launch later this year. The EV will be a Cooper-badged hot hatch and use the 181bhp electric powertrain from the BMW i3.
- HONDA has confirmed its electric city car called “e” will get side cameras in place of wing mirrors as standard when it goes on sale in 2020. It help reduces aero drag and increase range.
ASK ALFIE: USED CAR SPECIALIST
Q MY uncle owns a 2-litre Ford Mondeo Ghia, 2004. He’s owned it from new and it only has 31,000 miles. He’s 89 and banned from driving due to his eyesight. What do you think we could sell it for?
A It sounds like a minter, but at the end of the day it is a 15-year-old Mondeo. Realistically, you might get £3,000 or £3,500 for it from a Ford fan looking to preserve a clean, original, low- miles car like your uncle’s. But you will have to wait a while to sell it – £2,000- £2,500 will shift it quicker.
Q I HAVE just bought a 65-plate Skoda Octavia TSI from a car supermarket. The dealer said it had a CD player in the glovebox but with closer inspection, it’s a blank with an SD card slot and nothing else. What can I do?
A Sorry, Gazza, the onus is on you to check these things are accurate at buying time. Although what the muppet who was selling you this car was thinking of by saying it had a CD player is beyond me, because the Octavia dropped the CD player long ago. People stream their music these days, so your best bet is either downloading CDs on to an SD card and then sticking that in the glovebox slot, or loading MP3s on to your smartphone and linking it to the car’s infotainment by Bluetooth.
Q I HAVE a 1996 diesel car I run on biodiesel and get around 20mpg. I want a newer van but I’m unsure of what mpg I will get, as money is tight.
A To be honest, Andy, any diesel van built after 2000 is going to give you far more than 20mpg. What are you driving to get that sort of economy? You’d get 35-40mpg out of a 2011/12 Peugeot Partner (or Citroen Berlingo) and it’ll only cost you £3,000-£4,000 to bag a decent used example.
- Send your questions to email@example.com
What I could have bought this week
£995: 2004 (53) Vauxhall Agila 1.2i 16v Design, 66k, Whitchurch, Hants, prudentialmotors.co.uk: While it looks boxy, this is basically a Suzuki Wagon R with a Griffin badge – it’s Japanese underneath.
£2,500: 2008 (08) Vauxhall Tigra 1.4i 16v Exclusiv, 34k, private seller, Stockton-on-Tees (via autotrader): Look at this and tell me you’re not interested. It’s a bit more stylish than simply going for a Corsa, eh?
£4,975: 2013 (13) Vauxhall Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi SRi, 70k, A1 Ortos, Oldham, a1ortos.co.uk: This GTC looks great in yellow, it’s an SRi with a 163hp diesel motor – which means it’ll fly and it’ll be frugal too. Style and practicality.
MOST READ IN MOTORS
READER'S CAR OF THE WEEK
ANOTHER bargain, yet premium, motor in today’s “show me yer motor” section.
Here, Essex fella John Shaw proudly tells us about his 1996 Mercedes C200. “I have owned her for 12 years and it has passed the MOT every time.
“It has covered 130,000 miles, it still runs perfectly and it is a joy to drive.” Cars like this are proof you don’t need to break the bank to get the feelgood factor behind the wheel. Top wheels, mate.
- Send me pictures of your beloved motor, with details, to firstname.lastname@example.org.