There is a trio of engines available. Our top pick is the 1.6-litre diesel that develops up to 118bhp and doesn’t make much noise, from starting up to acceleration. It’s the least powerful of the range, but it has a good amount of mid-range shove and can get you from rest to 62mph in 11.2 seconds. It comes paired up with an easy-to-use 6-speed manual transmission.
The most powerful diesel in the range can do 0-62 in 9.6 seconds, while the sole petrol engine does it in 10.0 seconds. It’s backed by four-wheel-drive for extra grip, but has less power at low speeds. So while it’s quicker on paper than the base-level diesel, it doesn’t always feel like it.
The Honda CRV is by no means the cheapest SUV to run. The two-wheel drive 1.6-litre 118bhp diesel engine can return fuel economy up to 64.2mpg – which is reasonable – and costs just £30 a year in road tax. It’s far from class leading, though, and from there things just get more expensive.
The cabin feels and looks well built, and you get the impression that it will be able to cope with all you can throw at it. But not all the materials are of a high quality, and some look cheap and even dated. We like the swooping design of the dash, though, and some buyers will be drawn to the conservative nature of the interior.
In terms of practicality, the Honda CRV SUV holds up well. The four-wheel-drive models make for excellent towers, and can tow weight of up to 1,500kg. The boot, meanwhile, is class-leading. It comes with a massive opening that will make it easier for you to load heavier items.
There is a generous amount of space throughout the cabin; five people can sit comfortably, with the middle-seat passengers especially taken care of (there is a flat middle rear seat and no transmission tunnel).
Toyota – £23,700 – £32,000
Honda – £22,800 – £36,200