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HONDA’s new CR-V went on sale here this week, with a seven-seater option for the first time.

It has much the same proportions as the old one – longer wheelbase – but has lots more space inside.

They expect many buyers to go for the seven-seater. Here for now is the 1.5-litre petrol turbo (173hp) version. A hybrid comes later, but there will be no diesel.

Prices start from €33,500 for the 2WD five-seater, 4WD from €39,000, and seven-seaters start at €40,300. CVT (continuously variable transmission) 4WD models begin at €41,000.

Spec levels are high with the company’s Sensing compendium of active safety and driver assists standard on all cars. Range-topping models have a panoramic glass sunroof.

It was quite roomy and comfortable both to sit in and drive for an hour or so on a brief test on Monday.

I like where the gear lever is slotted on the bottom of the dash.

And I managed to get into the third row of seats, where I found more space than I’d expected.

There is now just the one central touchscreen, as well as the 7in driver information interface. Controls have been simplified, thankfully.

And there is “seamless” smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Visibility is helped by narrower front pillars (10mm thinner).

The new 1.5-litre VTEC TURBO petrol engine (173PS) did really well in my test drive on Monday. It was smooth and decently quiet. Road tax is from €390.

There’s a choice of 6spd manual or a 193PS CVT version. The CVT system has a stepped-ratio effect.

A longer test awaits, but there’s no doubting the new CR-V is quite a step up on the old one, not least being for the fact that, for families, it now has the option of seven seats.

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