Honda CR-V (2017-2023) review - Interior, design and technology
Impressive interior quality, but the exterior design is uninteresting and unlikely to catch the eye
Honda clearly felt that the previous generation CR-V had the right kind of exterior style because the new generation model is very similar in appearance. There are flashes of chrome around the nose and large alloy wheels as standard on higher specification models, but ultimately this is a safe and sensible design. It’s unlikely to win the hearts of buyers, but at the same time it won’t put many off, either.
Inside there are more significant changes, and the CR-V benefits from a push upmarket with improvements to the materials used and the layout of the controls. Choose a top-specification EX model and the cabin is finished in high-quality leather and wood, and although some of the lower sections still use less appealing plastics the overall effect is pleasing to look at and to touch.
The layout of the CR-V’s dashboard is sensible and convenient, with a high-set central spar putting the major controls close to the wheel, including the manual or automatic gearlever where fitted. It also leaves plenty of space beneath the centre console and gives the driver the sense of being in command of the car. A digital instrument display is fitted as standard and gives the driver plenty of options to display the required information, while a head-up display system is also available as an option.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Another useful improvement on the new generation CR-V is an updated infotainment screen, which is seven inches in size and is better integrated into the dashboard than in the previous model. The system itself, however, remains occasionally frustrating, as simple tasks can sometimes prove difficult to complete.
Mitigating this is the fact that the system now has a rotary controller to change the volume and separate controls for the climate control system, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard on SE models and above. The CR-V’s in-built Garmin navigation system is also quite dated, with very simple graphics and sometimes sluggish responses. It’s not really in keeping with the quality of the car elsewhere.
In this review
- 1Honda CR-V (2017-2023) reviewPractical, comfortable and well-equipped, the Honda CR-V makes sense as a family SUV, although overall efficiency could be better
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe CR-V Hybrid engine is smooth and quiet, but isn't particularly efficient
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsEven the most efficient CR-V is some way behind the competition, and the lack of a diesel option won’t suit all buyers
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingImpressive interior quality, but the exterior design is uninteresting and unlikely to catch the eye
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe CR-V offers great family practicality, although the third row of seats is no longer available
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere's lots of standard safety kit for the CR-V, while Honda has an impressive reliability record
- 7Long-term testRevisited: our man’s family liked his Honda so much, they bought two