Honda CR-V Review

Find out more about the Honda CR-V in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Spacious and practical
  • Efficient diesel engines
  • High levels of reliability


  • Unengaging to drive
  • Excessive trim costs
  • Poor automatic transmission on older models

First introduced to the UK in 1997, the Honda Comfortable Runabout Vehicle, or CR-V for short, was the first true high-volume crossover and helped to set the template for all future ‘soft-roaders’.

Designed to be both practical and extremely reliable, the first couple of generations suffered from having less-than-premium interiors – especially in lower specifications – but with only the Toyota RAV4 as its main rival, the CR-V was very popular.

By the time the fourth generation came around in 2012 – after the CR-V had posted more than five million sales in its first three versions – the rest of the motoring industry had caught onto the crossover trend, and were beginning to produce equal alternatives.

The fourth CR-V was introduced into a bloated SUV market, where premium and affordable brands were providing a range of crossover challengers to the CR-V. But what sets Honda apart from many of its competitors is the range’s ferocious reliability that many can’t match, and with their technological innovations on top of that, the brand’s reputation helps to push many of its models to the general population, rather than to the keen motorist.

In 2015, Honda updated the fourth generation with a cosmetic facelift and a revised range of powertrains, which helped provide a more premium feel and more efficient driving through its diesel engine combinations.

Latest Model


In the aforementioned update from 2015, the CR-V gained the i-DETC 1.6-litre diesel unit, which has helped to further improve the model’s potential efficiency and can be paired with a smooth-running nine-speed automatic gearbox. With the six-speed manual gearbox, you gain a couple of extra miles on the miles per gallon figures of the auto box, as you can expect returns of 55mpg and 129g/km of CO2 emissions.

In the base ‘S’ trim, you will find plenty of useful gadgets, such as Bluetooth Hands Free, cruise control and DAB radio, and with practicality a big selling point of the CR-V, all the rear seats can be folded down with just one lever, which is found in the rear cargo space. From the S-Navi spec, drivers gain the Honda Connect infotainment system, which includes a seven-inch touchscreen and full Garmin satellite navigation.

To compete with the growing market, Honda has given the CR-V a more premium feel the longer the model has been produced, but in the latest version, it is black fabric seat material for most of the specification levels, with only the SR and EX trim lines having any leather on the seats at all. The interior features, however, provide a very user-friendly experience, as everything is within reach of the driver and is very simple to use.

Overall, the latest generation of the CR-V has many admirable features to help make it a totally viable option in the SUV sector.


Value for money


Prices for the base-level S trim with the 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol start from £23,275, you have all the technology that you basically need, including Honda’s safety systems, such as the city brake active system and brake assist, while also getting cruise control and Bluetooth Hands Free.

On the used market, there are attractive CR-V options, such as a 2012 pre-facelift model in top level EX trim is available for £16,990. Fitted with the now-ousted 2.2-litre diesel, four-wheel drive and automatic gearbox, this example comes with a leather interior, satellite navigation, cruise control and plenty of other top specification options. On top of that, it only has 24,000 miles on the clock, so if you look for them, attractive used options for the CR-V are available, and thanks to Honda vehicles having excellent reliability and longevity, which helps the re-sale value.


Looks and image


Despite not being the most attractive SUV on the market, the CR-V has the ability attract older drivers thanks to its superb practicality, reliability and comfort. It may not be as appealing to more committed or younger drivers, due to its arguably boxey looks and relative simplicity, but that’s is why it gains much more interest from the older part of the population.

That doesn’t mean other markets aren’t catered for, as for a family SUV, it can certainly hit the spot. With excellent comfort on long drives, plenty of interior space and a durable interior trim, the CR-V is built to last.

In normal driving conditions, the older models were nearer the top end of the class, whereas now the latest edition feel less so, with the 2015 version having more body roll and a standard feeling chassis with softer suspension.

However, on motorway drives, it is perfectly reasonable and can soak up bumps for a comfortable experience.

With four-wheel drive models available at the higher end of the pricing list, you will find more control in all conditions, while the two-wheel drive model means the overall weight is down and offers better fuel economy.

Video review

Space and practicality


A feature of the CR-V that helps to make it shine is its interior space, and with 589 litres of boot space, it has a much larger area than the best-selling Nissan Qashqai, which is over 100 litres down. If you fold the rear seats down – using the innovative seat-folding mechanism – you have a gargantuan 1648-litre loading space, which few compact SUVs can match.

In terms of head and leg space, the CR-V is an excellent people carrier, and with a flat floor, passengers sitting in the middle will be perfectly happy in the 40/20/40 format. Also, the accessibility into the front and back is very good, with both sets of doors opening wide.

With the 2013 NCAP test applicable to the newest update, the CR-V has a five-star safety rating, with a 93 per cent adult occupant rating and a 68 per cent pedestrian rating. For added safety, the latest model comes with the option to fit the advanced driver assistance system pack, which adds collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, which all make the CR-V even safer.




Following the 2015 update, the CR-V is fitted with either the 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol – which produces 152bhp – and the 1.6-litre i-DETC diesel that has an output of either 118bhp or 157bhp. The diesel unit with either form of transmission is at least 20 miles better off per gallon models fitted with a petrol engine.

With the previous generation diesels returning 10mpg less than the latest model, you are better off with the newer model in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions. Also, annual road tax is higher on the previous CR-V, but despite the higher running costs, the third generation offers a better drive, so if you’re looking for a more involved drive, models up to 2011 could be for you.


Running costs


As mentioned before, fuel economy for the diesel models is in the early to mid 50s, while the petrol engine offers mid to high 30s, which is not that great at all. For the lesser powered diesel models, road tax is classed band C, which means no payment in the first year, before £30 from thereafter. More powerful diesel models and ones fitted with petrol units demand a much higher tax level, with tax costs as high as £355 in the first year possible.

Things to look out for


With what is mostly a smoothly running and very reliable model, the CR-V has suffered in the past from faults here and there. One such problem was when 2010 models were suffering fuel leakages due the faulty fuel pump lines cracking, with the faulty units recalled and replaced.

Most recently however, some 2012 and ‘13 units were fitted with the wrong sized brakes on the front wheels, which could have led to a poor braking performance. 2363 units were recalled. Overall, the CR-V is a reliable option, but to ensure full disclosure, make sure you ask the relevant parties for the full service history.




In what is now one of the most bloated sectors, the CR-V has plenty of rivals to contend with, such as its perennial rival the Toyota RAV4, which is seen as a cheaper option to the CR-V but doesn’t quite live up to the Honda’s efficiency and performance. Other competitors include the Mazda CX-5 and the new Seat Ateca, which have both garnered excellent reviews and boast much better driving feel.


Depreciation warning


Thanks to Honda’s excellent reputation of reliability and build quality, the general value of the CR-V holds very well, despite the sometimes high price point. Many used models in the higher trim levels can give sellers a surprisingly good return, with the diesel versions offering the best performance in the used market.

This helps the CR-V normally hold its value much better than its more premium rivals and with its highly practical nature, used car buyers will find the CR-V an excellent option in the pre-owned sector.

Trims explained

To provide customers with plenty of choice, the CR-V comes with six trim choices with different price points. Here’s how they differ from each other.


In the base S trim level, the CR-V comes with cruise control, city brake assist and Bluetooth Hands Free as standard, but apart from that there isn’t much else. With the DAB radio, USB and AUX connectivity providing the majority of the entertainment, you can control them with the audio controls mounted on the steering wheel.

Also coming as standard with 17-inch wheels, electric windows and climate control, the S trim starts from £23,275.

S Navi

In S Navi, little else is added except for the Honda Connect infotainment system with Garmin navigation and seven-inch touchscreen.

For £24,115, it isn’t really worth the extra expense.

SE Plus

The SE Plus that comes next, however, adds auto lights and wipers, front fog lights and front and rear parking sensors, which can be very useful for the SUV. With the SE Plus Navi adding the Honda Connect infotainment system, it could be argued that it is the better option.

SE Plus has a starting price of £25,510, with the Navi improvement costing £26,120 and also includes fog lights.


The next level up is SR and with the added price, you get some great cosmetic alterations, such as the half alcantara/half leather seats and 18-inch alloy wheels, and with the HID headlights with active cornering, you get plenty of extras.

As the one just below top spec, there is plenty of attraction to this level and at £29,650, it is competitively priced for the options it has.


The top level EX adds that extra level of comfort with the full leather seats, and with the panoramic glass roof and smart keyless entry and start, it is a very attractive option that holds its value in the used market. Also coming with rear-view parking camera, LED daytime running lights and high-beam support system, the EX version of the CR-V is full of great technology.

As it is packed with so many accessories, the £31,535 price point is a good step up as the highest spec.


  1. Holds its value very well in the used car market
  2. Used examples may have experienced minor faults, but nothing too serious
  3. Efficient range of diesel engines
  4. Spacious cabin means great comfort on long journeys
  5. Versatile interior design allows for comfort and practicality
  6. Early models have poor fuel efficiency
  7. For the more powerful models, running costs can be much higher than normal
  8. Top-spec used models can provide similar comfort and performance to new models
  9. Could be swamped in the bloated crossover market
  10. High levels of safety for both drivers and pedestrians

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