Honda CR-V

The Essentials

  • Price from £21,395
  • What Car? says: 4 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 50.4mpg
  • What is it? The Honda CR-V is a spacious and user-friendly SUV that's pleasant to drive and won't break the bank.

Great

  • It's as comfortable and easy to drive as a good family hatchback
  • The cabin and boot are really spacious, and the seats are a doddle to fold
  • Reliability, safety and running costs are all reassuring

Gripes

  • Top-of-the-range versions are overpriced given that this isn't a premium brand
  • Even 4x4 models aren't that great off-road
  • Running costs aren't the lowest in its class
  • Drive

    Plucky enough and fairly comfortable but nothing particularly special

  • Inside

    It's easy to get comfortable but the dash could be easier to use and rear visibility is pretty poor

  • Safety

    Plenty of airbags and stability control as standard; top-spec cars get even more electronic aids

  • Reliability

    Honda has a superb reliability record and the CR-V feels built to last

  • Space

    Loads of space throughout including a massive boot, and the seats are a cinch to fold

  • Standard and extras

    All cars are well equipped although top-spec vehicles are expensive

  • What's it like to drive?

    Generally the CR-V feels fairly smooth though it does get a bit jiggly on rough surfaces. The steering is a little slow and vague and the car leans quite a bit round bends but it feels reassuringly glued to the road. There are three engines to choose from. The 1.6 diesel is powerful enough though it's a bit weedy below 1500rpm so you need to rev it a bit to make quick progress. The 2.2 diesel is stronger from low revs so you don't have to work it as hard. There's also a 2.0-litre petrol which is willing, if not quite as gutsy as the diesels. All of the engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, and a five-speed automatic is available on the 2.0 petrol and 2.2 diesel. The auto 'box feels slow and dated compared with the latest offerings from rival manufacturers, though. The engines can be a little noisy when worked hard but on the whole the CR-V is pretty quiet. Whether you get four- or two-wheel drive depends on the engine.

  • What's it like inside?

    The cabin plastics and materials seem a tiny bit cheap and the many buttons could be more clearly marked. Still, there's a good range of seat and steering wheel adjustment and the view forward is excellent. Unfortunately, over-the-shoulder visibility is compromised by thick rear pillars.

    The CR-Vs flat rear floor and ample head- and legroom make it excellent family transport, and it's easy to get in and out of all the seats. The boot is immense, at 589 litres even with the seats in place; pull on a lever mounted on either side of the boot and the rear seats instantly flip down to produce a mammoth 1648 litres of load space.

    Even entry-level S trim is quite poorly equipped: you'll need to upgrade to SE if you want Bluetooth, parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, and a leather steering wheel. SR trim adds heated, part-leather seats, xenon headlights and a DAB radio, while pricey EX trim adds full-leather seats, sat-nav, a panoramic glass roof and a powered tailgate.

    There are Isofix points on all three rear seats and while there's not enough space to fit three child seats in a row, this does give you some flexibility about where you fix your child seats; fitting them on the centre and one outer seat will also make access easier for an adult sitting with the kids. Note that the top tether point, for Isofix child seats that use them, are mounted in the roof of the car.

  • How reliable is it?

    The CR-V feels solid and well built, in line with Honda's generally excellent reliability record; the CR-V also consistently performs well in the annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey. All CR-Vs include six airbags including curtain 'bags that extend to the rear seats, and you can deactivate the front passenger airbag to allow you to fit a Group 0+ baby seat here. The stability control system not only counteracts mid-corner slides but also sideways movement if you're towing a caravan or horsebox. The expensive Advanced Safety models help you stay in your motorway lane and apply the brakes before an imminent collision.

  • Should I buy one?

    The CR-V is easy to live with and reassuringly reliable; it also holds its value extremely well. However, both its fuel consumption and CO2 output are higher than some rivals, and choosing the automatic version will add to your running costs.