This generation Honda CR-V has been a big success for the Japanese company. As the SUV segment has grown further over the past few years, many buyers have looked to Honda for a product that is comfortable, practical and reliable. All three of those boxes are ticked with the CR-V and in the first quarter of 2014 it was the best selling car in its segment. In 2015 the car is to undergo an extensive refresh, but just before then a series of special editions have been made available. This is the 2014 Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC Black, a model that suggests that black “is the new black.”
Externally this special edition has a rather sinister look to it as if someone very serious, perhaps a fictional character from the world of organised crime, was about to step out. As the name suggests, the colour black has been used extensively not only for the bodywork but also the grill, windows and 19 inch alloy wheels. Subtle front and rear skid plates, as well as rear spoiler, further differentiate this car from a lesser model. The additional running board down the length of the car are immediately noticeable and serve added function as well as style. Chrome trim contrasts the Crystal Black Pearl paint and promotes a premium aesthetic.
Inside the cabin is not as unique as the exterior with it being identical to other CR-Vs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the interior is well equipped and spacious. Dual zone climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system, bluetooth, USB input, hill start assist, hill descent control, Bluetooth, as well as parking sensors and rear view camera. Seating in the CR-V Black is comfortable with its, you guessed it, black fabric seats being comfortable for long journeys. The rear seats have enough space to offer occupants plenty of head and leg room, even for those of the abnormally tall variety. A nice bonus is the completely flat floor which enables full use of the middle seat. Its rear doors open wide making entry and exit easy, but also enables the fitment of apparel such as baby seats not such a fiddle. The boot is vast with 589 litres of space available with the seats up, or with the pull of a leaver, a colossal 1,146 litres. If you really needed to pack this CR-V to the roof that is further boosted to 1,669 litres.
Starting the 2014 Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC Black reveals an engine which is maybe not as quiet as some newer rivals, yet on the move the engine noise settles down. The high driving position is something that many prospective SUV buyers seek and the CR-V does allow for a commanding overview of events ahead. Within an urban environment this car is very manageable despite its size thanks to good all around visibility. That aforementioned camera makes reversing into a space in the high street easy. The 2.2 litre 148BHP engine produces 258lb ft of torque which thanks to it being available low down in the rev range, enables brisk getaways from junctions. Our test car was fitted with the 5 speed automatic transmission which is perfectly happy to click through gears by itself, but can be changed via steering wheel mounted paddles. Having sporty paddles in a car like this is beyond me and to be honest, it is better left in full auto as the box is not the fastest responding. For those who live in leafy suburbs, freak winter weather can be overcome with all wheel drive. Around faster bends there is the expected body roll you get with tall cars such as this. The brakes are reassuringly responsive bringing the CR-V to a swift stop if required. On the motorway the CR-V is a relaxing cruiser with engine noise only penetrating the cabin when accelerating hard. There is some wind noise but not at irritating levels. For 2015 this automatic is being replaced by a 9 speed option which should serve to improve its official 42.8MPG.
The Black edition is available on the 2.0 litre petrol and 1.6 litre diesel also. As for this 2014 Honda CR-V 2.2 i-DTEC Black, it scores well on practicality and build quality, but the more refined 1.6 litre with its greater fuel economy would be our pick of the range. At £32,155 our test car represents a princely sum, but for people who want peace of mind when making a big investment, Honda are one of the best in the business when it comes to reliability.