When thinking of a car to write about today, I dare say I have a few to choose from: my 1973 Mini, which was my first car, for example; my ’85 XF Panel van – the best-ever car to have as an 18-year-old; hell, even my parents’ 2017 Impreza RS would have been a worthy contender.
But as I was thinking, I caught a glimpse of my girlfriend’s 2006 Honda CR-V Sport out the window and accidentally stumbled upon the solution. This was it, because unlike all the other cars I could write about, this one is actually terrible. I would even go as far to say it could be the worst car I have ever driven.
To begin, I must clarify that I have never been interested in the pocket SUV type of car this CR-V falls into the category of. I find all of them uninteresting, cumbersome and rather annoying. Why anyone would consider buying one is beyond me, so maybe take this at face value.
Speaking of faces… My god, isn’t this thing ugly? The front end looks like it’s in a perpetual state of being horrified at literally everything it comes into contact with. The 'sports' badge is unwarranted, or if it is warranted, the sport in question can only be lawn bowls.
Beyond that, the overall styling of the CR-V’s exterior is abysmal. I will admit that this model CR-V is somehow, in my opinion, the best looking (apart from maybe the latest two, from 2012 onwards). The first-gen car looks like the visual embodiment of the colour brown, while the third generation, the successor to my girlfriend’s car, has a front end that looks like it was designed by Ray Charles.
The inside of the car shows promise with the inclusion of some good features such as cruise control, heated seats and a factory sunroof. The 12-year-old head unit also still holds up well in our current day. Overall, the cabin is roomy and with the back seats down, the CR-V turns into a handy, practical car with the potential to be capable of many handy, practical things.
There is also a picnic table in the boot in the spare wheel compartment... I’m not sure why, or who decided to go forward with that idea, but I’m imagining that they were fired for travelling too outside the box on what really measures up to be a car designed very strictly by the book.
My biggest pet peeves about the interior are, firstly, the fact that the fuel gauge only consists of the needle and a weird fluctuating graph thing that tells you how thirsty the car is being at any given time. There is no range estimate anywhere to be seen, which, while not something to live by, I find is a lot more accurate and easier to read than the needle – and in 2006, especially on this car, that would not have been a hard thing to include.
The driving position and visibility are also horrible beyond words, unless you’re a bus driver looking for something to drive when you aren’t on the clock.
Harking back to my remark about the car looking horrified at the world, and ignoring the age-old 'don’t judge a book by its cover' yarn, in the case of the CR-V, you should. On the road, the CR-V is slow to accelerate, almost like the car itself is timid to travel anywhere new – so much so that the CR-V also oversteers so much to the point where any corner is unsafe.
The gearbox feels like it’s just waiting to die, and the car shudders for no apparent reason at random intervals when accelerating. When trying to stop, the brakes are also loud and make me nervous. (It should also be worth saying that the CR-V was serviced at the dealership about a month ago. The car is in tiptop condition and no issues at all with anything were found apart from a cracked headlight from another story.)
Perhaps the biggest crime that the Honda CR-V Sport is guilty of is not that it is ugly, uninteresting, slow or a borderline death trap, it’s because it sucks the fun and enjoyment out of driving. Many cars can be any one of those above factors – several even – and still make you want to go out and spend a day driving in them. The Honda CR-V, on the other hand, will just make you wish you stayed at home.