Honda CR-V review

Our Rating: 
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The fourth-generation Honda CR-V is the best yet, with a load of space, and a Mazda CX-5 rivalling interior

Punchy diesel engine, lots of kit, quality interior
Five-seat only, bland design, expensive to buy

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The fourth-generation Honda CR-V was launched in 2012, but it wasn't until summer 2013 that the most efficient model in Honda's compact SUV range arrived.

Prior to the super efficient 1.6 i-DTEC diesel's introduction to the CR-V range, the only diesel powered CR-V was a four-wheel-drive 2.2 i-DTEC that's still available across all trim levels (S, S-T, SE, SE-T, SR and EX). In early 2014, Honda released a limited edition of the CR-V, the Black or White edition, which features a performance-orientated bodykit.

The 1.6 i-DTEC engine made its debut in the latest generation Honda Civic, and is only offered in the front-wheel drive CR-V models. Genearlly speaking, Honda’s compact SUV makes a great rival for the likes of the Mazda CX-5 in terms of efficiency, and the Hyundai ix35 in terms of pace.

Should you not want to opt for one of the diesel engines, a 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine is available in two or four-wheel drive guises. Petrol buyers get the pick of all the CR-V trim levels from the entry level S models to the range topping EX cars.

Our choice: CR-V 2.2 Diesel EX Manual



The previous generation CR-V seemed a little ungainly, but Honda's latest incarnation of its compact SUV has a smooth, no-nonsense look about it.

It may look a little slab-sided compared to another of its rivals, the Nissan Qashqai, but the CR-V's front end is reminiscent of the Land-Rover Discovery sized Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, thanks to the three chrome bars on the grille and eagle-eye headlights that wrap around the bonnet.

The CR-V is taller and longer than the Hyundai ix35, but the Honda doesn't look as chunky as its Korean rival. The CR-V's curving window line and high-set tail-lights are also similar to those on its predecessor, and while the large tailgate takes up the whole of the Honda's back end, its sloping rear screen adds a touch of style.

The CRV's dashboard is less button heavy than on other Hondas and the quality of the plastics used is good, giving a sense that it can easily cope with the demands of family life. Furthermore, the spacious interior is given a classy look thanks to its matt finish. The only possible niggle is that the CR-V's computer display - located on its speedometer - looks a tad blocky.



Honda has a strong heritage in building great engines, and the CR-V's 1.6 i-DTEC diesel is one of its best recent efforts. It uses the latest technology to maximise efficiency, and is more than capable of delivering strong pace. However, it is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

On start-up, the 1.6 i-DTEC CR-V is relatively quiet with only a hint of diesel rattle and it remains smooth and refined up until its 5,000rpm limit. Honda has also fitted a shift light to its six-speed manual gearbox with efficiency in mind. The six-speed is a pleasure to use thanks to its precise shift, but buyers of the 2.2 diesel, or any of the petrol models can opt for a five-speed automatic.

Honda CR-V dashboard

Unfortunately, the rest of the driving experience in the CR-V cannot match its superb engine. Honda has designed this car with practicality and comfort in mind, so while the CR-V soaks up bumps well, there's not much fun to be had.

Grip is also decent, but the inside front wheels have a tendency spin if you get on the throttle mid-corner which naturally, doesn't inspire confidence. If, then, you want an engaging yet spacious Honda to drive, it might be worth looking at the Volkswagen Golf rival, the Honda Civic.



Like most Japanese manufacturers, Honda has a strong reputation for making reliable cars and this is reflected in our 2013 Driver Power survey. The previous generation CR-V (the MKIII) finished in the top 30, and owners praised its reliability, practicality and comfort. Honda's dealers were similarly well regarded and ranked fourth overall.

In terms of safety, the CR-V is one of the safest compact SUVs you can buy thanks to its five-star Euro NCAP rating. Honda also provides six airbags, tyre pressure monitors, stability control with trailer assist, and three Isofix points as standard equipment.

However, kit like xenon headlights and front and rear parking sensors is reserved for higher spec models.



The CR-V is one of the most practical cars in its class, and in addition to its 589-litre boot, Honda has added a larger floor area and more space under the retractable load cover.

The CR-V's wide tailgate opens lower and it comes with a slight lip to make lifting items over it easier, but Honda's party trick is its clever seat-folding set-up. Pull the lightweight levers in the boot and, in one fluid motion, the bases flip up, the headrests fold and the seat backs drop forward.

Honda has also made good use of the CR-V's spacious interior and a provides a large armrest cubby and big glovebox for storage.

The entry level S model CR-V is not too badly equipped, with dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloys, a multifunction steering wheel, heated electric mirrors and cruise control coming as standard.

Running Costs


What the CR-V lacks in the driving experience department, the 1.6 i-DTEC engine more than makes up for in efficiency with a combined cycle return of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km.

The larger 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine returns a lesser combined economy of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149/km. The petrol CRVs, however, have a strong thirst with combined cycle results that vary between 37 and 39mpg. That means CO2 emisions in the 168 to 175g g/km range.

Disqus - noscript

this is neha kaur chat

Test drove one yesterday. Smooth and easy to drive but the seats are too short from front to back.

I"ve got a early model CRV and although a nice car, a few days ago it was leaking water in and the passenger footwell was absolutlely soaking ! Justing wondering, has anyone experienced anything similar ?

I've got a 57 plate series 2 CRV and it's a fab car (although not perfect), but it has one MAJOR fault. Dual mass flywheels fail regularly; mine has had three replaced! The first (at 55,000 miles) was done under Honda warranty. The second (at 115,000 miles) was done under Leaseplan warranty (it was my company car which I bought from Leaseplan when I left the company). The third ( a couple of weeks ago at 145,000 miles) was down to me to pay for......... The bill was over £2000. Yes they're good cars and typically reliable, but be prepared for BIG garage bills down the line. These cars are not cheap to run!

Other more minor niggles; you can't manually switch on 4 wheel drive. From a standing start in slippy conditions (like today's snow) you need permanent 4WD and you can't have it, you have to wait until the front wheels slip when the automatic 4WD switches on, but it's too late by then; you're sliding. Locking diffs would have been useful in Friday's snow (I got well and truly stuck!) but these don't usually come on SUVs anyway. And automatic wipers fail which needs a replacement motor, which (you guessed it) is stupidly expensive.

Summary; great car if you have (very) deep pockets to cover the maintenance costs. Would I have another? No; too damned expensive to run!

New CRV vs XC60

Why is not having a 7 seater such a negative..... the preferred BMW she refers to in the video doesn't come with 7 seats?

i have one 2.0 petrol version. Japanese domestic market model. Brilliant car. Slightly lethargic performance but rather satisfying.

I had a problem like this in one of my previous cars and was down to blocked drain holes in the plenith chamber due to things like leaves, silt etc which caused a leak to drivers side footwell as rain water was not able to drain.

Oh those heavy three quarter panels! How are you supposed to turn out of an oblique junction. Form over function again! (And I dont even like the form) Get some glass in there Honda!

It's the Stupidest thing putting in a 3rd row seat. Luggage becomes Zero , groceries sit in the 3rd row & when packing for vacations (for 2 weeks) with 3 kiddies either the kids get shipped by bus or the luggage gets shipped by transport . Overhead carriers can't do the trick unless going to a nudist colony I guess .

I really like this new CR-V. My only small crit, is Honda should offer the option of a higher powered 2.2 diesel.

Honda 57 crv
It is good but do not take it to a hot country like Spain for a holiday. As the rubbers on the bottom of the windows dry up and crack then break up also the plastic on the Honda badge on front grill clouds over and then the active cruse control stops working was changed three year and is doing it again.
Honda are not interested in looking or even saying anything about this. feel very bad about this but Honda promise every thing when purchasing new and then after the warranty is out show no interest at all
Thank you for letting me sign on and air my thoughts on this sight

What person looks out of the rear quarter window when pulling out of a junction -.-

In an oblique junction, which ends in a Y, where you are supposed to take the right hand route to turn right, you have to look back through the rear quarters to see what's coming from the left. There is one such junction on my route into town.

The only main fault with the CRV is that the rear seats dont slide forward or backwards This enables one to choose between maximum passenger space and smaller boot or vice-versa(ie grandkids in the rear seats and a huge luggage space. In addition the rear seat backs dont go vertical thus restricting the useable boot space when the front seats are in use only My Outlander(7 seats) does not have these faults but otherwise the Honda is a much superior car

mine do

stupid badge snob ?

Last updated: 21 Mar, 2014
AEX 1330
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