With our holiday to Brittany booked at the end of last year, we started to look around at transport options to get us there. I’m not a fan of ferry travel, being a bit of a puker, and flights meant that we would have had to hire a car – quite an expensive option. In the end, we settled for a MyFerryLink transfer from Dover to Calais (fast and efficient, and with crossings starting at £30 a very reasonably priced choice – they also have a very large shopping boutique online, which pleased me). Honda then stepped in and offered to lend us one of their new CR-V diesel 4WD cars for the holiday, which pleased me even more.
Before we start
As usual with our car reviews, I’m not Jeremy Clarkson so there won’t be much stuff about drag coefficients or torque, but if you’re choosing a car and considering the Honda, we’ll tell you what we liked and what we didn’t like. What was fun and what wasn’t. Simples.
The Honda is a lovely looking car. There’s something about the lights that make it look like it has wide eyes with long lashes (or is that just me?). We loved the pearlescent paint and it looked roomy enough to accommodate us and our luggage. We were lucky enough to have the highest spec EX version with some really handy extras – more of those later, but for now, we were packed and ready to go…
What we liked
With a 500 mile slog ahead of us, we were happy to find that the seats were really comfy. The boot is huge (589 litres, whatever that means) and the rear seats fold down with a single pull of a lever. Handy. There are tons of cupholders and storage spaces
The keyless access (available with the EX – you just keep the fob in your pocket) is really clever and there’s just a push button to start. You can also open and close the windows with it (a great show off trick).
The integrated Sat Nav with turn by turn function (also standard on the EX) was great and worked well in France, although we felt it was slow on roundabouts and until we got used to it there was some confusion about which exit to take.
The rear parking video display is amazing – once you’ve worked out which line is which, parking is effortless (although Mr English missed his ‘beep beep’ reversing sensor).
With an average 43mpg on our journey we managed Calais to Brittany on one tank, which was really impressive and fabulous for the lazy amongst us who hate filling up. There’s also an eco function that has a green light on the dash which shows you when you’re driving in the most economic manner.
The stereo was fabulous, and with loads of connections in the central arm rest (USB/AUX etc) everyone could have turns at being a DJ. You can also connect your phone via BlueTooth.
The aircon is fantastic and very efficient, causing loads of arguments as I hate having freezing cold air blowing on me, but the rest of the family love it. The boys had their own aircon vents in the back.
We took the Honda to the beach on a regular basis and found the boot liner so handy. When we got back to the villa we just unpacked and then removed the liner to shake off all the sand. I should imagine it’s wonderful for dogs and muddy football boots too. The boot lid closes with one touch of a button which we loved. You can also open and close it from the driver’s seat and the fob (and yes, it stops closing if you put your head in it – we tested it with Charlie’s head).
The EX also had a spectacular panoramic glass roof which made the whole car feel really light and airy, although you can close it on a hot day when the sun’s really beating down to keep the interior cooler.
What we didn’t like
In our usual slap dash style, we omitted to read the manual and a few things took some getting used to, like every time the driver got out of the car, the seat went back, then you had to push your pre-programmed button to put it back into position. We’re not sure if it’s always like that (to allow easy exit and entry) or if we were doing something wrong.
We also worried that we were scratching the hard plastic on the door by putting the key fob in there every time. It’s probably better kept somewhere else.
What a fab car. We all loved it and felt quite sad to see it go after sharing a couple of weeks and over a thousand miles together. We thought it looked beautiful and was really functional as a family car (and boy, did we test it). The Honda is built in Swindon too.
A word of warning though: do read the instruction manual. It took us 8 hours to do the drive from Calais to Brittany as we had inadvertently got the Sat Nav set to avoid toll roads. It was 2 hours quicker on the way back.
The vehicle we tested was the Honda CR-V 2.2i-Dtec EX 4WD manual in White Orchid Pearl, OTR £30,995 or £31,495 with the pearlescent paint.
Massive thanks to Honda (UK) for their generosity, patience and time. You can find more information on the Honda CR-V here.