The rear exterior of a silver Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V review

Reliable, comfortable and practical, the Honda CR-V is a great choice if you’re in the market for a midsize SUV. This is a car designed around people’s needs so it’s extremely versatile and well thought out.

Pros

  • Excellent reliability and fuel efficiency
  • Comfortable on a range of road surfaces
  • Practical and well thought out interior

Cons

  • Not a very inspiring drive
  • Some materials are low quality
  • Touchscreen on the latest generation is slow to respond

Summary

“The CR-V is a trustworthy SUV that won’t let you down.”

The Honda CR-V is a practical midsize SUV which has been designed to suit the needs of a busy family. It’s also well equipped, with a digital speedometer and a touchscreen infotainment system fitted as standard in the current generation CR-V, which was launched in 2017.

It’s a very reliable car and was ranked in the top three compact SUVs in the JD Power Dependability Study. The CR-V  also has a generous amount of space inside with well thought out storage areas to keep your everyday essentials. The boot is big and there’s space for up to five adults. 

With a good driving position with excellent visibility of the road ahead, it’s very comfortable and suited to long journeys. It’s also a handy companion to have when you’re going on an off-road adventure with the family.

Rear seat shot of the Honda CR-V

What's the interior like?

“Practical, stylish and well laid out, it’s a great choice for families.”

The interior features good quality materials, although there are a few hard plastics and the dashboard is a little fussy with too many buttons.

The instrument cluster (the information you see through the steering wheel) looks good with easy to read graphics and the infotainment system works well with a blend of touchscreen controls and buttons. 

The latest generation which launched in 2017, features a user-friendly digital speedometer, a touchscreen infotainment system, and a much simpler dash layout. It’s also a little bit longer, which makes the cabin feel slightly more spacious, especially in the back. There are more storage solutions including a massive centre console large enough to hold a small laptop. 

There’s more versatility with a 40:20:40 split to the rear seats. This means you can have a variety of setups with some seats up and others down, meaning you can carry two passengers and a small wardrobe should you so wish, or seven passengers and a couple of rucksacks. Boot space with the back seats removed is 561 litres which is enough space to fit in three large suitcases. With the third row of seats in place, it’s just 150 litres, but that’s still enough for a few medium-sized bags.

Interior shot of the Honda CR-V

What's it like to drive?

“A comfortable ride on any journey.”

The CR-V is good to drive with comfortable seats and a good view of the road, thanks to its high ride height. It’s available with a 1.5 turbo petrol or a 2.0 hybrid. Pre-2017 cars came with a popular 1.6 diesel engine while petrol power is supplied with a 2.0-litre. 

The driving position is excellent and both the manual and automatic versions are easy to operate. Noise insulation is good, although you will hear more from the diesels, while the suspension handles most bumps with ease. 

Most of the used models will be two-wheel drive but all-wheel drive models are also available which provide extra grip, particularly in the winter months.

The front exterior of a silver Honda CR-V

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Great value for money but not as efficient to run as some rivals.”

The CR-V is a mid-range car in terms of quality and specification. It’s more expensive and premium-feeling than a Ford Kuga, but less expensive than a VW Tiguan, which feels more upmarket inside. 

Running costs are good with servicing and parts prices similar to competitors. However, insurance costs can be slightly higher than some rivals.

Fuel economy is reasonable, and most drivers should achieve between 30mpg and 40mpg in the front-wheel drive version. This drops a bit in the four-wheel drive models.

Boot shot of the Honda CR-V

How reliable and safe is it?

“It doesn’t get much more reliable than a Honda.”

The CR-V was the third highest-ranked compact SUV in the 2019 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. That wasn’t surprising given Honda’s exemplary reputation for reliability, so while there have been a few minor issues, don’t expect any real problems.

Safety is also decent with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating and lots of equipment to protect you, including autonomous emergency braking, which can slow the car down if it detects a potential collision ahead.

Engine shot of the Honda CR-V

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy      1.6 i-DTEC SE

Best for family      1.6 i-DTEC SE

Best for fun           2.0 i-MMI hybrid AWD (latest generation)

Pre-2017 cars will be the best value but the fifth generation cars, which came out after this, will have better kit. The more recent cars are also available with the excellent 1.6-litre diesel engine, which is economical but still provides a good all-round drive. Automatic models are the easiest to drive, particularly in traffic, but expect to pay a little more for one. 

When it comes to trim, try to find an SE model with optional sat nav, or one of the more expensive models higher for a better level of standard equipment. In the latest generation, the 2.0-litre hybrid is the best choice, but the 1.5-litre petrol will serve most people well.

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