Just as a point of interest, my Partner and I had the 1 series BMW, which pretty well everyone knows is one of the worst/least/useless vehicles for attempting to drive on snow.
After we fitted a set of winter tyres with their appropriate wheels, it became what I would say must be one of the best. I took it out not expecting much but to be honest I didn't want to bring it back in- hill starts, overtaking stranded cars, you name it, the car become totally confidence inspiring.
Don't know how representative it is, but it's been said most cars with winter wheels/tyres will deal as well or better than 4wd soft roaders with their orig. spec. rubber.
I doubt the latter, although tyres do make a difference.
I had my RAV4 out when there were practically no other vehicles on the road - I always fitted Town and Country tyres year round and it made it brilliant in the wet and snow, and I never noticed any detriment in the dry other than a little more tyre noise.
I definitely wouldn't have gone out in a 2WD on some of the days I went out on and even then, of the few cars that were out (presumably had winter tyres on), the RAV was a lot more grippy, faster and more stable - they were getting around but struggling gingerly. I was able almost to drive like normal albeit at much reduced speed.
Another thing though is 4WD driving knowledge. Last winter it snowed and one of the people I know has an Audi S5 Quattro and had to abandon it. He also told me how 4WD owners were abandoning their cars on a local steepish road because they were sliding all over. I had to laugh, I'd have absolutely not had any issue in the RAV in those conditions. The tales I heard were of 4WD drivers abandoning because they were sliding all over under braking! Someone should have obviously told them the correct way to descend in ice / snow - select the lowest gear you can that gives you a controlled maximum speed - usually 1st in cars without low ratio, then let the car descend under gravity and under no circumstances touch the brakes or accelerator. There are similar techniques to deal with setting off on the slippy stuff, although you usually don't need the latter in 4WD. The number of people you see who's idea to get grip is simply to keep the accelerator planted! That's the other issue, 4WD doesn't automatically make driving easy in bad weather. You have to know how to use it. Just as bad as people not knowing how to hill descend or set off, is the people who drive around slippery urban 30mph roads at 40-50mph thinking they're invincible because they 4WD. The reality is, if it does let go, you're no better off than in any other car and under braking or cornering on the slippery stuff, you're in the same position. What 4WD gives you is grip and stability. It's less likely to lose control than 2WD under power because the push is from 4 corners so even is you lose grip to a wheel, you still have 3 corners pushing, not all the power at one corner trying to rotate you. However, it's not a magic stick to road under any circumstances vehicle. You can crash in 4WD! Anyway, I diverge.
All I can say for sure, is that my short wheel base Rav4 soft roader, never got stuck even when practically no other vehicle could get out.
Based on the figures and the equipment, I am really temped by the HR-V....it's not as fast as i'd like but if it's do-able when I get the lease list at the end of the year I might go for it....
I don't think Honda really have a clue for the UK. They're obviously infiltrated by people with green only vision at the top. Look at the CRZ, a sports car with no power, and no we're seeing the same mistakes repeated with other models once more.
I drove the new CRV last week, purely by accident, I'd arranged for my car to be picked up for service and the pick up driver had come out in a brand new CRV demonstrator as he thought it was a pure pick up, not pick up and courtesy car. Unsure of the exact spec, but I think it was top of the range - full leather, electrically adjustable seats, colour sat nav etc etc. Anyway, I was left the keys, or rather the fob as it's key-less even for the ignition, so I went for a drive.
Best description I can give is it's a very nice car inside although too large for my needs. However, to drive it was mundane. Totally unexciting, no feel and gutless engine.
About 5 years ago, I had a VW Tiguan the Bluemotion 130 bhp version as a loan car. Brakes aside (far too fierce and not progressive - be a nightmare in winter), it was brilliant. Lively, fun to drive and despite being only the 130bhp version, it was very very quick. Would have blown away the 1.8 TypeS Civic off the mark by a long way albeit it ran out of breath around 3,500 and red lined around 4,000 like most turbo diesels. The thing is, it was a brilliant drive and really really powerful low down, and that's what the new CRV lacks, feel and power.
It sounds unfortunately as if the HRV has gone down the same route.
Said, it before, but in my opinion, Honda haven't got a clue what the UK driver wants. They seem to be constantly changing models target audiences and they still seem to be persisting with a view that UK drivers want green over any other criteria, whereas most people I talk to, want a cheap to run car but not at the expense of feel or performance. Now the Car Tax has changed from next year for new models as well, it makes little sense to produce a vehicle with 100g/km CO2 and poor performance, when for 130g/km CO2 you could produce a car with both low emissions and cracking performance.
Anyway, overall my impression of the CRV, was it was well built, but that there were far better choices out there if you were looking for a 4WD.