Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC

9 Jul, 2013 8:00am Paul Bond

We drive the efficient new Honda CR-V crossover to see if it can take on the Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Yeti Greenline


While it comes with certain dynamic compromises, the new 1.6 CR-V is a vast, practical family car that is now more affordable to run than ever. Shedding weight has improved the handling, and although the new engine is not as refined or punchy as the 2.2-litre unit it will be a lot cheaper to buy and run – which should broaden its appeal and make it a hit with both fleet and private buyers alike.

Crossovers get more efficient with every new model that enters the market so to make sure the CR-V can keep up Honda has launched a new clean diesel version.

Fitting the 1.6-litre diesel engine from the Civic and removing the four-wheel drive system means this model is 116kg lighter than the 2.2-litre i-DTEC and Honda claims that this means it is also now more fun to drive than ever before.


On paper it certainly stacks up well, with the company claiming an impressive combined economy of 62.9mpg and CO2 emissions of just 119g/km – equaling the more powerful Mazda CX-5 – and giving the CR-V a theoretical range of over 800 miles. Engine stop-start is standard and there is an ECON button to make the air-conditioning more efficient.

Losing all that weight also means the suspension has been tuned for better grip and less body roll in corners with softer springs at the front and a stiffer setup at the back for improved agility. Drive it along a winding road and you can definitely hustle this CR-V along a bit more easily than the 4x4 version and it stays flatter in corners too.

However the new engine does not work quite as well as it does in the Civic. The CR-V still feels like a big, heavy car to move around and you have to constantly flick between closely-spaced gears to keep it in the narrow power band because if you dip below 2,000rpm throttle response is sluggish at best.

Pulling up steep inclines or going for a quick overtake also exposes the other problem with this 1.6-litre engine - at 2,500rpm the engine noise becomes really rough and intrusive, only settling down again once you are back at a steady cruising speed.

The ride is also a little firmer than the more powerful models and while the Honda still feels more comfortable than some rivals on a bumpy road it can jostle you around when driving over smaller bumps and crests.

Even so the CR-V remains one of the most practical cars in its class with a huge 589-litre boot, which swells to a vast 1,669 litres with the rear seats folded. Passengers travelling in the back also get acres of head and legroom and while the cabin design is quirky in places, the materials are classy and feel solidly made.

There will be three trim levels to choose from when the newcomer arrives in October – but it looks identical to the standard car from the outside – and with prices expected to be around £22,000 for the mid-range SE it should undercut the entry-level Mazda CX-5 diesel too.

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I do remember an Autoexpress article saying that with the 1.6L diesel the 2WD Honda CRV would dip slip below the 100g/km mark.
I did not think so. The new CRV is quite a sizable car. Bigger than most of its competitors including the CX-5 which remains the best in class in my opinion due to a lot of extra grunt that its 2.2L unit offers.

No doubt the usual Honda reliabilty and build quality.

As an owner of the new 2.2 i-DTEC CR-V, the car is far better than its smaller rivals - it may lack the poke of the Mazda, but it is far better built and has better torque application via its 4WD/AWD system.

The new CR-V is heavy and even with this new weight reduction, this 1.6 diesel will struggle to move this big car.

Better off sticking with the 2.2 diesel - I get over 52mpg so all is not lost on a near 2t beast.

Better built than the CX5? - disagree. Personally, I think the CX5 deserves all of the praise and awards - its a briliant SUV. It pretty much excels at everything and outclasses the CRV. The added bonus of the CX5 is that it is a Japanese car - built in Japan, not a Japanese car built in Wiltshire!

Agree - I dont think a 1.6 litre engined CRV is a good prospect for a 'keen' driver. This engine should have stayed in the CIvic.

Not all CRVs around the world are built in Swindon.

Granted, UK ones are. That doesnt mean it is in anyway inferior.

Its difference of opinion. The CX5 has a horrible, bland and boring interior and horrific dash. Thats what put me off. Its no exterior looker either.

I agree, the CRV may also be bland, but the interior is a muc nicefr place to be. Just because the CX5 is built in Japan doesnt mean it is any better. if anything, its worse.

I find it absolute madness to think that if someone who could afford to buy the CRV new would actually care about the difference in running costs between the 1.6 and 2.2L. Or the difference in purchase cost. If you were that worried then you'd be far better off buying a 1-2 year old.

You would have to be completely insane to buy the 1.6L in a car this size.

There would be nothing worse than being stuck with a car that you wished you'd got the better engine for 3 years or more.

Some harsh and unfair remarks about the CX5. So allow me to be equally harsh about the CRV which frankly has the usual incohesive mess of an interior that you get in all Honda's these days. Too many buttons, displays and layers on the dashboard makes it ergonomically poor and as I say a bit of a mess. The exterior is also classic Honda these days - awkward to say the least. Honda haven't made a good looking car for years - and currently dont make anything aimed at 'drivers'. And yes it is always the case that the cream comes out of Japanese factories (and not just with cars!) Think NSX, Lexus, RX8, S2000, Lancer EVO, GTR, etc. Quality control is more strict. (The British built 05-11 Civic had a reputation for build and reliability issues) Plus the CX5 has won a raft of awards - the CRV has not recieved anything like the same critique. Incidently I actually have respect for Honda as a car maker (I owned a couple in the late 90s early 2000's) These days though I feel they are off the pace, but as you say it's a matter of opinion isn't it?!

i have driven both the honda cr-v 1.6 and the mazda cx-5. i feel more comfortable with the cr-v. i feel relax with the the seats and feel safe although it is not powerful as the cx-5 but it has enough power. the cx-5 has lots of positive reviews but i feel the seats are a bit hard.

Key specs

  • Price: £22,000 (est)
  • Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo diesel
  • Power: 118bhp
  • Torque: 300Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front wheel drive
  • Top speed: 113mph
  • 0-62mph: 11.2 seconds
  • Economy: 62.9mpg
  • CO2: 119g/km
  • Equipment: DAB radio, alloy wheels, 60:40 folding seats, electric lumbar support, start/stop, LED daytime running lights
  • On sale: October