GIVEN how long we spend at the wheel of our cars, a comfy driving position is almost as important as getting our hands on one of those fabled mattresses or pillows that the late night TV spruikers promise will change our sleep patterns forever. Dial 1-800 NOW!
Thankfully, the days of ‘Italian Ape’ driving positions, characterised by gorilla-length arms and stumpy legs, have largely been consigned to the dustbin of history. But despite huge advances in ergonomics, the occasional turkey still gets through. Our own Ford Falcon was one of them, with the swansong FG/FGX featuring a steering wheel that sat in your lap and could never be adjusted high enough.
Car engineers and designers will tell you there are all sorts of mitigating factors that lead to such compromises (most involving inherent conflicts between car engineers and designers), but regardless of the source, the end result is usually the same; a driver constantly fiddling with seat and steering position in a vain attempt to get settled.
I have a rule of thumb that if I can’t get comfortable in the first couple of minutes, the driving position is probably flawed and I should just accept my lot and stop fiddling.
Fortunately, there are no such issues with the Honda CR-V, which has one of the best driving positions of any car I’ve steered in a long while. It helps that the extra ground clearance and high roof enable an elevated seating position that makes getting in and out especially easy, but once in position, it’s quickly apparent that a lot of effort has gone into ensuring the driver remains comfortable.
My second-from-top spec Honda CR-V VTi-L has the usual range of electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, and manual reach and height adjustment for the leather wheel. But the seat shape and structure is also notable for keeping me feeling fresh and not bent out of shape after several hours at the wheel.
With its high driving position, supportive leather buckets, big windscreen and extensive glasshouse, the Honda CR-V boasts superb visibility that helps keep all occupants in a comfortable state of mind.
In combination with the panoramic sunroof, the CR-V feels remarkably airy, a fact that often makes it our first choice for a family drive, even if there’s a sportier or more prestigious set of wheels available.
Unfortunately, the compliments don’t quite extend to the third row, which has to make do with a small triangular window and accommodation that’s a squeeze, even with the second row slid forward.
On the plus side, second- and third-row occupants do get the benefit of individual air vents and temperature controls overhead and boy is the air-con good. With the thermostat set to ‘freeze’ and the fan to ‘wind tunnel’, you can barely hear the little beggars shivering and complaining about the compromised seating position.
Harden up kiddies, back in my day…