What is it?
Top of the range family friendly SUV

What’s in it?
A 140-kilowatt 2.4 litre with a five-speed auto.

Is it thirsty?
I used 12 litres per 100 km in the city, 6.5 in the country. The official combined figure is 6.7.

Drive away
Approximately $46,500.

Thumbs up
Space, comfort, a clever rear seat and a full size spare.

Thumbs down
It’s on the thirsty side and has crummy dash controls

Hinda CRVThere’s a pregnancy in our house which means that inordinate interest is being shown in yummy mummy cars. And as far as these go Honda’s CRV pretty much wrote the book. While the rapidly rounding one loves the high driving position, the visibility and the parking sensors, not to mention the back-up camera, it’s the rear seats that won her.

They can be folded down from the cargo area. Open the cargo door and you’ll discover a couple of levers. Pull the one on the right and the rear seat on the right side folds. Pull the one on the left for the left.

Nothing unusual there, what makes the CRV special is that the seats don’t just fold, they also tumble. The cushion comes up and forward and the backrest sinks into the space it leaves. The resulting load floor isn’t quite flat but it’s pretty good.

She loves the convenience of this and is sold, no matter that I have pointed out what I consider to be the CRV’s shortcomings.

The electronics for example. The navigation screen is small and the mapping is dreadful. All the controls are a bit odd. The bar graph showing the audio volume reaches its upper limit when the indicator registers 40 units, yet the volume keeps rising to 63.

But there’s a bigger problem with the adjusting the volume. The radio controls are probably the most used in the average car and here they are all small buttons lined up so closely it’s easy to get the wrong one when the car is moving.

The best and safest volume controls are big rotary knob you can grab and hang onto, but here the volume is controlled by a rocker switch – left for down, right for up. This would be daily annoyance for me. The only rotary controls in here are for cabin temperature.

Otherwise, no complaints. Lots of room, good seating and plenty of get up and go, something you pay for in in heavier than normal fuel usage.

Ride is good, handling adequate but hardly inspiring. There’s a fair amount of bodyroll through twisty bits and the steering can get a bit vague in such conditions too, but this is bloke stuff and of little consequence to mums and mums-to-be. They can feel safe and warm about the full-size spare on a matching alloy wheel though. Such is an increasingly rare commodity these days.

Published February 2013