BUYING a car is more than just handing over cash, it’s really all about buying a life style. Even people who don’t consider themselves car people want to spend their money wisely. We’ve all heard people say “I just want a vehicle that gets me from A to B” but that’s a load of old cobblers. Give them a chance to ride in a Roller or a Merc and they’d be dressed and ready quick as a flash. They will buy the best their budget stretch to because few of us would buy an Up! if we can afford a V8 Vantage. The same is true of SUVs. Most of our fraternity like a car, but have little interest in anything more than the price and the pretty things which come included.

I’ve often wondered what makes a boy buy an SUV. Surely a sexy sports wagon with AWD is more practical? One third of all vehicles sold are SUVs of one kind or another. Jeep Wranglers received a shameless plug from the UK’s Queer As Folk. I always thought the title was a play on Queer As F**k, but in fact is an old Welsh saying “there’s nowt so queer as folk”, meaning there is nothing as strange as people, and SUV buyers are a strange lot. Ask them why they bought their vehicle and I doubt they will be able to tell you.

We’ve driven many SUVs over the years and there is no doubt some drive better than others, especially on the road. This is my point: most SUVs will only ever be driven on the road. Can you picture most queens up to their navels in mud? Actually, so can I. Who doesn’t love a wet T-shirt?

Honda released their CRV with a petrol engine, but filling most tanks costs about the same as your first born, so a diesel sister has joined the family. The good thing about CRVs is they won’t scare a driver who is more used to a conventional car. The CRV drives like a car, albeit a higher, slightly bulkier one. I love Honda engines and their new diesels carry on that fine tradition. The petrol models cost from 27 grand but the diesels start at $38,000 and roll on to over $45,000. Is it worth the extra? Sure, if you just have to have a diesel. There is oodles of chug thanks to the masses of torque and the manual is delightful to use. The clutch has just the right amount of take-up and is easy to use for those who want a manual but don’t want ankles like mally-roots.

The diesel CRV is also stupidly economical at a claimed 5.9L/100km. Honda do a great engine so this isn’t really a shock.

The car is also comfortable to drive, as comfortable as a Honda Civic or Euro. However, it doesn’t exactly makde you feel special. It does what it does well. It’s comfy and fairly economical. There is bags of room with enough for a sensible sized lad to have a nap with the rear seats folded down. You can load the rear full to the brim making weekends away a doddle, even it you want to take the village bike with you.

A CRV is not a true 4WD, but rather an AWD. An AWD moves power to various wheels automatically and doesn’t have hi/low ranges, which is what allows 4WDs to scale very steep inclines as well as engine braking on downward treks. AWDs are also usually built on the same platform as similarly-sized sedans from the same car maker. Suspension and steering are carried over from the sedans making the AWD more like a high-set sportswagon, rather than an off-roading 4WD like a Land Rover.

Would I buy one? Yes, if I ever found myself in the market for a soft-roader. I’d only consider an AWD or 4WD SUV, though. Most car makers are bringing their SUVs out with only rear wheel or front wheel drive. I see no point to that at all and would simply buy a less expensive wagon were that the case.

Honda CRV price range: $38,290-$45,340

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