Fancy a 4x4 but feel a little uncomfortable with the growing anti-SUV backlash? Then read on. Next year's new CR-V is Honda's riposte to the burgeoning critics of the so-called Chelsea Tractor. Honda would like you to believe this is a 4x4 with a conscience.
Is this marketing spiel, or is there substance to the claim? The new CR-V is certainly smaller than the car it replaces - as well as cleaner, less thirsty and safer.
It's also built in Britain and, when sales start in January, prices are tipped to rise by £1,200. Expect to pay from £19,000 for the cheapest model and up to £25,000 for the plushest.
This is a compact off-roader. It's four inches shorter and an inch lower than the current model but has a welcome dose of style.
A quality ambience pervades the CR-V's unfussily attractive cabin. The driving position is comfortable, storage spaces abound. Although Honda knows it won't be bought for its off-road ability, and so has concentrated on making the vehicle better to drive on the road, it is equipped with a Real Time 4WD system. But don't be fooled. Only the front wheels are driven most of the time - until computers detect slip, when drive is sent to the rear wheels for improved traction.
Citroën C4 Picasso
Citroën's Xsara Picasso, a family car for supermini money, has been a hit. But what if you need more than four seats or can't live with washing-up plastics? Go for the C4 Picasso, a roomy, stylish hatchback.
Sublimely refined and serenely fast, options include digital television, brakes that automatically apply themselves if you're not watching what you're doing and adaptive cruise control for stop-start traffic.
Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé
The addition of a hard-top
to the MX-5 will shut out thieves and traffic noise better than a soft-top. The new roof adds only 37kg. While softer suspension makes for a comfier ride it still attacks corners like it should. £18-21k