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Honda CR-V review (2012 - 2018) - Interior, design and technology

Recent facelift has improved the CR-V's looks, but design inside and out is still safe rather than exciting

The previous-generation Honda CR-V looked a little awkward from some angles, but the latest version has a cohesive, no-nonsense shape. Even so, compared to rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5, the car can appear a little slab-sided and bland.

Wraparound headlights and a grille featuring three prominent chrome bars contribute to a more aggressive front end than before. Slight changes were made in early 2015, when the car received a light update to the front and rear, as well as tweaked suspension, steering and gearbox components. The overall design alterations add up to a more attractive car, even if we wouldn’t exactly call it striking.

The colour palette for the CR-V is heavy on the monochrome, with nine shades offered. Of those, four are ‘colours’, with two blues, a deep brown and vivid red all available for the more daring buyer. Customers also have one 17-inch, one 18-inch and four 19-inch alloy wheel designs to choose from, while a cost option Aero Pack is available to beef up the car’s appearance.

Inside, the dash in the CR-V is less button-heavy than in other models in the Honda range, and the plastics used feel solid and robust. However, the trade-off for this button-free design is that you get a cheap-looking touchscreen infotainment system slotted into the dash.

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While it isn’t the most exciting interior layout, you get a sense that it will cope easily with the demands of family life. The only other major niggle is that the computer displays – housed above the sat-nav and in the speedometer – look a bit blocky compared to more recent rivals.

Basic S cars get climate control, alloy wheels, cruise control and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors. The drivetrain choice is limited to just the two-wheel-drive transmission, with either the 118bhp i-DTEC or 153bhp i-VTEC engines. An S Navi trim adds Honda Connect sat nav for around £1,000 extra.

Stepping up to SE Plus will cost you more than £2,000 extra over the S, but it does bring a reversing camera and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, among other items, as well as Honda Connect. All engines and drivetrains are available here. Again, you can upgrade to an SE Plus Navi for Honda Connect.

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SR trim weighs in at nearly £30,000, bringing half-leather/half-Alcantara trim with heated seats, xenon headlights with cornering function and larger, 18-inch alloys.

Where it’s an option, four-wheel drive will add over £1,000 to the bill, while the automatic gearbox will set you back around £1,800 over the standard six-speed manual.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

While Honda Connect, with its seven-inch touchscreen, features as an option on the S and SE models, you have to step up to an SR to get the Garmin sat-nav included as standard. Adding navigation to an SE model will cost over £1,000.

All cars come with DAB, a CD player, USB ports with MP3 connectivity and Bluetooth as standard, but there are varying levels of sound system. The S makes do with four speakers, while the SE is uprated to six speakers. Fitted as standard to the SR is an eight-speaker, 320-watt high-power audio system, and this is also carried over to the EX model.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 VTEC Turbo S 5dr 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,020

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 i-MMD Hybrid S 2WD 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £29,260

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 i-MMD Hybrid S 2WD 5dr eCVT
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £29,260
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