Used Honda CR-V (Mk4, 2012-2017) review - How practical is it?

A roomy and well-designed interior combines with a vast boot to make the Honda a great family holdall

The CR-V has always been a hugely versatile family SUV, and this fourth generation model continues that trend. It’s interior is spacious and thoughtfully designed, while the cavernous boot is one of the biggest in the class. A four-wheel drive option also adds all-weather peace of mind.

Dimensions and cabin design

The CR-V has quite large dimensions: it’s more than two metres wide with the door mirrors folded out and easily more than 4.5 metres long. However, it’s 30mm lower than the third-generation car and 5mm shorter overall. From behind the wheel, it also feels compact and agile, and is easy to place on the road.

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.

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’.

There’s loads of space in the CR-V, however, with enough room on board to comfortably take five average-sized adults. Legroom in the back is particularly good, although there are still cars in the class that can offer more rear passenger space.

Headroom is excellent throughout, thanks to the CR-V measuring nearly 1.7 metres in height, and generally there’s a lot of elbow room to play with as well. The main issue with the Honda is that there’s no seven-seat option; unlike many of its class rivals, it’s only available as a five-seat car throughout the range, even though there is enough room to add a third row.

Boot space

The CR-V offers a massive 589 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place. Once they’re folded down, luggage capacity grows to a cavernous 1,669 litres, if you load to the roof; it’s still a useful 1,146 litres when measured to the window line.

Honda’s Magic Seats help here – the rear seat bases fold upwards like cinema seats, and the seat backs drop down to create a flat load bay and masses of practicality. Handles in the boot allow you to complete this manoeuvre in one easy motion. The wide tailgate opens lower than on the previous generation, making loading larger items an easy process, too.

Equipment and technology

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 Plus 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.

Honda Connect is a seven-inch touchscreen system and was an option on the S and SE Plus models, so worth seeking out. S Navi and SE Plus Navi models get this set-up as standard, plus the inclusion of a Garmin sat-nav app. This set-up also features on the SR and EX models.

While the infotainment works well enough it has a bit of an aftermarket look and feel about it. Not only are the menus a bit laboured, but the small buttons for some of the functions make it fiddly to use on the move.

The line-up starts with the Honda CR-V S entry model, which is reasonably equipped with 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and DAB radio, plus cruise control, engine stop/start and city brake.

Next up is the CR-V SE Plus which adds parking sensors, fog lamps, and auto lights and wipers. Both S and SE Plus are available as Navi versions with the Honda Connect infotainment and Garmin navigation system. 

Moving up to the CR-V SR adds 18-inch alloys, HID cornering headlamps and half-leather/half-Alcantara seats, while the top spec CR-V EX features a full leather interior, panoramic glass roof, plus smart keyless entry and start.


The CR-V is one of the safest compact SUVs you can buy; it earned a five-star Euro NCAP rating in 2013, although newer models have undergone a tougher test, so you can't directly compare scores. Even so, an adult occupation protection score of 93 per cent is excellent, as is the 74 per cent child occupation protection rating. Less impressive are the 68 per cent and 65 per cent results for the pedestrian protection and safety assist sections.

Still, the Honda has six airbags, tyre-pressure monitors, stability control with trailer assist and three Isofix child seat mounting points as standard. Equipment like Xenon headlights and front and rear parking sensors are reserved for higher-spec models, though, while the company’s autonomous braking and collision warning systems are on offer as options to further improve safety.

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