What Car? Green awards 2008 - 4x4s
Think of what you need a car to do and the CR-V will manage it. It's a dependable family car, a practical removal van or a planet-friendly 4x4 with decent running costs. It will also go off-road - well, as long as it's no more than a grassy field.
With a flat floor, loads of room in the front and rear, and storage everywhere, the Honda is perfect for carrying your brood. The rear seats slide back and forth to give passengers sprawling room or to make the boot bigger, as required.
Need even more space? No problem. The rear seats also fold and tumble forward to leave a huge loadbay.
The CR-V is family friendly when it comes to driving it, too. Mum and dad will enjoy the neat handling and easy controls, while everyone will appreciate the supple ride.
A powerful diesel engine also helps. With a stout 251lb ft of pull at just 2000rpm, slower vehicles and hills are dismissed with a mere toe flex. It's not just the engine's figures that are impressive, though: it's also fantastically smooth and keen to rev.
Unlike some 4x4s, where power is always sent to all four wheels, the CR-V drives through its front wheels until they start to spin; only then do the rears come into play. This boosts efficiency and gives a good 43.5mpg average.
However, it's the emissions that seal the CR-V's victory against its rivals. At 173g/km, it's second only to the Ford Kuga diesel for CO2, while nitrogen oxide emissions are bettered only by its petrol competitors. If the Honda was as good at reducing particulates as the best diesel 4x4s, it would be an even more emphatic performance.
Of course, it takes more than just environmental concerns, a practical cabin and fine dynamics to make a Green Awards category winner. The CR-V is a top ownership proposition, too.
It feels built to withstand the rigours of family life, Honda has an excellent reliability record and the dealers make their customers feel special.
You won't want for kit, either. Our favoured ES trim comes loaded with it, including dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass and cruise control.
Then there's the reassurance of stability control, emergency brake assist, six airbags and active head restraints. All this for under £22,000.
A Honda dealer is the best place to pick up the latest CR-V diesel. Examples start at £15,500 for a late 56-plate ES, but these may have over 40,000 miles on them, while the same car with 25,000 miles will be closer to £17,600. An 08-plate car with 6000 miles will set you back around £20,000.
Best buy £20,000-£30,000
Honda CR-V 2.2 i-CTDi ES
Target Price £20,375
Average economy 43.5mpg
Green verdict A jack-of-all-trades and master of most, including being green
Best buy up to £20,000
Suzuki SX4 1.6 VVT 4Grip
Target Price £12,009
Average economy 39.8mpg
Green verdict Built to handle the outdoors
Best buy £30,000+
Target Price £33,626
Average economy 34.9mpg
Green verdict The hybrid motors' silence is golden - and green
With thanks to the Eden Project: www.edenproject.com