It’s time to take the Honda CR-V on a big adventure. Sitting in a cafÈ on the eve of the trip, the anticipation of whatís to come is both exciting and slightly nerve wracking. In almost exactly 24 hours from now, I will be driving RA16 LLP from my home in Staffordshire, to a hotel in Stuttgart, some 750 miles over yonder.
BMWís home town is just a pit stop though, because after some deliberation, I decided a non-stop drive to Austria for a snowboarding holiday would be too much for one sitting. So why the nerves? Well, itís nothing to do with the Honda. In fact, the thought of the CR-V having any issues has never even crossed my mind. Nope, Iím just hoping my planning isnít flawed, and that the motorways on our side of the Channel behave themselves. Thereís something about the time slot for the Euro Tunnel thatís keeping my attention, probably because thereís a good four or five hours of driving just to get to Folkestone. Oh, and that includes being sucked into Londonís orbit as we emerge from the M40 motorway onto the M25, and then attempt to break free again onto the M26, without burning up or disappearing altogether.
If youíve been to Austria in the winter months, youíll know that winter tyres are a legal requirement, which posed a slight issue for our long termer shod with Michelin Latitude Sport tyres. This could have scuppered the whole trip, but luckily Hondaís press garage saved the day. Just days before the journey, the CR-V was hoisted five feet in the air and a set of brand new wheels with Yokohama W-drive winter tyres were bolted in place. After the trip, Iíll get my old wheels and tyres back and Honda will have a set of winter wheels in reserve. Honda also sorted me out with spare bulbs for the CR-V (even for the HID headlights) and a branded rucksack from a recent press launch full of goodies like reflective jackets and a handy first aid kit.
A less welcome surprise was the news that the rear offside Michelin had a small nail stuck in it, which explained why the tyre pressure warning indicator came on half way down the M6. Iíve no idea if the tyre picked it up that day, or if it was there for a while, but after the Yokohama tyres were fitted and the engine was treated to small top ups of oil and coolant, the fuel economy shot up from 50mpg on the journey down, to 55mpg on the way home ñ the best Iíve ever seen.
I was expecting the deep tread blocks and sipes of the winter tyres to cut economy by a few miles per gallon and roar audibly at motorway speeds, so the fact neither trait has materialised is good news for the long journey ahead. More on our adventure next month.
The Yokohama W-drive winter tyres have improved economy and aren’t too noisy.
On closer inspection, one of the Michelin tyres had a slow puncture.