by Seán Creedon

I got a bit of a scare ten minutes after picking up the new Honda CR-V from Honda’s Irish headquarters at Brownsbarn on the Naas Road.

I drove to a local shopping centre and parked the car in a flat area of the car park and went inside to buy a newspaper. When I came out the car wouldn’t start. Tried everything, foot on the brake, foot on the clutch, foot on the brake and clutch together. Not a budge.

Eventually I had to ring Honda where the ever-helpful PR woman Jennifer Moran told me that the electric handbrake had to be engaged before the car would start. I was parked in a flat area of the car park and with the car in gear there didn’t seem to be any need to apply the handbrake.

After that initial scare I had a most pleasant week in the petrol version of the new CR-V. The test car came in white which was impressive. Inside the first item that grabbed my attention was the walnut trim on the dash and doors. I always think that a walnut trim adds a touch of class to the interior of a car.

The interior of the Honda CR-V VTEC Turbo Petrol

Honda first launched their CR-V, which stands for ‘comfortable run-around vehicle,’ in 1995; there have been a few revamps since then and this is the fifth generation. In some of the older versions the spare wheel was located at the back of the car, but now the spare is located in the boot.

In Ireland we like cars with a spare wheel located within the car if possible, not locked on to the back door and preferably not underneath.

This new version is only available in petrol and my test car was a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo petrol. It’s built on the same platform as the new Honda Civic and has slightly larger exterior proportions.

There is a longer wheelbase and wider stance to give the CR-V a significantly larger interior over its predecessor. There’s also a wider, deeper boot with a longer load bay.

Externally the styling has evolved, but the CR-V retains a familiar silhouette and imposing physical presence. Dual exhaust tailpipes give the car that sporty look.

LED headlamps come as standard and aerodynamics have also been improved using Honda’s Active Shutter Grille system.

On the road it’s a really comfortable car to drive and travel in for all the family. My wife had no difficulty adjusting the passenger seat to get a comfortable position. The engine was reasonably frugal.

It’s certainly a car that families will enjoy and it should appeal to city and country folk alike. The CR-V is the world’s best-selling SUV, but with petrol only, this version might appeal more to urban drivers.

The CR-V arrives into what is a very competitive sector in Ireland, but it should be well able to compete with the opposition. There are plenty of storage areas in the cabin. Just don’t forget to engage that electric handbrake, otherwise you might, like me, find yourself stuck in a supermarket car park for a few extra minutes.

Prices start €33,500, while my five-seater Lifestyle version test car with 173 brake horse power, costs €35,500. Road tax is €390. There is also a seven-seat version available where prices start at €40,300.