After a week and just over 2,000 miles, weíre back from Austria, and the Diesel Car Honda CR-V is performing better than ever. In fact, if it wasnít for a covering of grime and snowboarding gear littering the boot, youíd think it had just popped down to the shops.
So where has RA16 LPP actually been? Well, after heading through the Eurotunnel at around 10am, we took a route past Lille, before heading into Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, with a stopover in Stuttgart in time for some supper. Feeling refreshed the next morning, it was time to get back on the Autobahn and skirt around Munich, before arriving in Alpbach in time for an afternoon on the slopes.
Getting out of the climate-controlled CR-V, we were soon wondering if Austria was always so warm and sunny, and whether we should have packed t-shirts instead of winter jackets. Sun or snow, Austria is a stunning country. Everyone we met was friendly and hospitable and the ski resorts seemed impeccably well-run. While Iíve snowboarded on and off for years, a considerable gap meant my main concern (other than the potentially melting snow) was the speed and seriousness of the local Austrian and German skiers who looked more like downhill racers than holiday makers. On day two, the CR-V was already proving invaluable, providing comfortable transport to some less fast-paced slopes half-an-hour away from our hotel.
While some might be relieved by the mild weather, I have to say it was the only disappointment of the trip. With winter tyres freshly fitted (a legal requirement in Austria), the fact the roads were perfectly clear and it never once snowed during our trip was akin to watching a television advertisement for global warming. Still, in the name of motoring journalism, I did find a few shaded gravel car parks where the permafrost was clinging on, and the Yokohama W Drive tyres showed a pleasing ability to find traction where I could barely stand up to take a photo.
When it was time to leave, our journey home joined the dots between Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels and Calais, and became the definition of a ëFastí route, not because itís the shortest distance, but because there are long stretches of Autobahn. Iíd driven on Germanyís famous motorways before on car launches, but only for short bursts. Wow. I had assumed just a few high-powered executive cars and sports cars would blast past, but no; the sight of a loaded Transit Tipper passing us at 100mph will always stick with me.
Deciding to up the pace with the hope of getting an earlier Eurotunnel slot, we were soon cruising at 140km/h in the derestricted zones (around 87mph), and while the engine seemed in its element, the level of wind noise increased noticeably. I also found the level of concentration that was needed was elevated, not only as a result of the higher speed, but because so many cars were approaching and passing us at a startling rate. The speed the fuel needle moves at 90mph is somewhat alarming, too!
Date arrived 20th December 2016
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 47.2mpg (on test)
The Yokohama W Drive winter tyres found impressive grip on icy car parks.
But, unseasonably warm Austrian weather meant they weren’t really needed.