When it comes to classy soft-roaders, the CR-V is right up there. The chunky SUV is a dream to drive with plenty of grip on all challenging road surfaces. Comfort levels are high as is the safety specification.
The goodStylish, well equipped and classy
The badIn a fiercely competitive segment
Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX MT DASP with Honda SENSING
The Honda CR-V is 20-years-old and, in Europe alone, the company has clocked up three quarters of a million sales, so clearly it is a winning formula that appeals to the masses.
The CR-V has always been regarded as an exceptionally practical, reliable and comfortable car and it was one of the very first SUV models to grace our roads back in the day. How times have changed.
In recent years, the market has become awash with SUVs and compact crossovers of all shapes and sizes making it the fastest growing sector of present times. It says something when even the likes of Jaguar with its reputation for sleek sports-like cars introduces an SUV into the mix in the shape of the F-PACE.
So, with such high demand, it would be easy to get left behind, but that definitely isn’t the case with the CR-V which still possesses all its charm and appeal.
My test car was powered by a 1.6-litre 160bhp diesel engine with all-wheel-drive, a six-speed manual gearbox and it was supplied in range-topping EX trim. This car was priced at £33,630 which increased to £35,680 with a couple of optional extras fitted.
Admittedly, the CR-V has never been considered the most dynamic option out there, but the test car could reach from 0 to 62mph in a respectable 9.9 seconds and topped out at 125mph. According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel economy of 55.4mpg with carbon emissions of 133g/km.
The CR-V is a smart-looking car with plenty of eye-catching design cues, including a bold upright stance, sweeping light clusters with active cornering and high beam assist, front fog lights, roof rails, privacy glass, 18-inch alloys, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, smart chrome trim, a panoramic glass sunroof and a powered tailgate.
Move inside and the interior is equally impressive with a clutter-free, modern and premium feel to it with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. There is a wealth of on-board technology to explore with creature comforts including the likes of full leather upholstery with heated seats, an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, ambient lighting plus an excellent sat nav infotainment system with 7-inch colour touchscreen.
There is ample space within the cabin for four adults to stretch out (five at a bit of a squeeze) and the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility thanks to the elevated driving position. When it comes to the layout, all the dials, controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for driver usability and the car has a user-friendly feel about it. It’s nice to get into a vehicle that boasts all the technology we demand but has a set-up that is simple to navigate without a degree in computer programming.
If storage and versatility are key selling points then the CR-V excels. The boot has a capacity of 589 litres which can be increased to 1,146 litres with the rear seats dropped down. And a special mention to the powered tailgate which is a life-saver when approaching the car after a busy day at the sales.
As I mentioned previously regarding performance, the CR-V is not as blisteringly dynamic as some rival SUVs, but it is no slouch either. The acceleration is both smooth and responsive through the six-speed manual gearbox and there is ample power on tap to overtake whenever necessary. As is typical of this type of model, you can expect a slight amount of body roll if thrown too enthusiastically into tight bends, but otherwise the CR-V is an accomplished all-rounder that is equally happy on the school run as it is on the open road weaving through the countryside.
Honda is renowned for developing very safe cars and the CR-V is no exception. The test car featured Honda SENSING as an optional extra that added £1,500 to the cost and introduced collision mitigation braking system with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. This was on top of a comprehensive list of features included in the Driver Assisted Safety Pack that was factored into the starting price. The CR-V also features 4×4 capabilities so will be ready for any sudden changes to driving conditions.
All in all, it’s easy to see why the CR-V has proved over the decades and continues to prove such a popular model. Yes, it is a tad pricey and it may not be as exhilarating to drive as some rivals, but it does all the basics genuinely well. It’s practical, stylish, comfortable, refined, safe, reliable, packed with technology and looks good too. And that clearly makes for a winning formula.
Honda CR-V (2015)
It’s already proved itself as one of the most popular SUVs in the world and clocked up half a million European sales last year, but now Honda has really upped the ante by giving its CR-V model a mid-term refresh.
Despite being in its fourth generation the latest CR-V is as vibrant as ever with some stylish cosmetic changes that really accentuate its sporty characteristics.
There are new bumpers front and rear, improved lighting, a new nine-speed automatic transmission, a punchy new diesel powertrain and some truly innovative safety features, including the world’s first intelligent Adaptive Cruse Control.
Buyers can select from four richly-equipped trim levels – S, SE, SR and EX – along with a comprehensive range of petrol or diesel engines plus either two or four-wheel-drive options.
Prices range from £22,324 for the 2.0-litre petrol model in S grade with 2WD to £34,120 for the 1.6-litre diesel EX version in 4WD fitted with the nine-speed auto gearbox.
We tested out the range-topping EX model powered by the new Euro 6 compliant 1.6-litre 160PS diesel engine (which replaces the outgoing 2.2-litre derivative) mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
This particular model carried an asking price of £32,470 (£34,520 with options fitted) and can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds with a top speed of 125mph. According to official figures it can achieve 55.4mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 133g/km.
When it comes to first impressions, the CR-V has never been a disappointment and the wider front and rear bumpers help to create a bolder more aggressive and ready-for-action stance.
The interior is beautifully clutter-free, yet feature-rich with plenty of on-board technology to be explored and all dials, controls and instrumentation is perfectly positioned for ease of use.
Creature comforts include a panoramic glass roof, full leather upholstery, heated seats, electric driver’s seat with memory settings, a powered tailgate, a striking alloy doorstep, ambient lighting, a great sound system and Honda CONNECT with sat nav to keep you connected on the move.
Light floods into the spacious cabin via the large sunroof and there is ample room to accommodate five adults with bags of leg, shoulder and head space in the rear. And when it comes to storage, there will never be any luggage restrictions because the boot has a capacity of 589 litres.
This can be increased to a whopping 1,146 litres with the rear seats folded flat – a procedure that takes just seconds and involves pulling on a cord in the boot.
All occupants are treated to a high standard of comfort with nicely padded, supportive seats.
Another factor that Honda was keen to emphasise was noise reduction. In fact they claim cabin noise levels have been reduced by six per cent thanks to thicker door seals, the introduction of sound absorption materials in the doors and pillars, better sealing to the front of the bonnet and upgraded floor carpets.
We tested the vehicle on a lengthy road route incorporating busy town centres, winding country lanes and fast-moving motorways and the noise levels were impressively low with minimal road or engine sound to be heard.
There was a little wind noise from the large door mirrors – which is to be expected in all reality.
The powerful new 1.6-litre engine delivers plenty of bite, and acceleration through the gears is both smooth and responsive with a constant supply of power on tap.
The CR-V grips the road nicely but you will notice it leans a little if corners are taken at pace. That aside the latest CR-V is an absolute dream to drive.
And the high-seated driving position offers excellent all-round visibility which is another plus-factor of note.
The vehicle also came fitted with Honda SENSING which is a £1,500 option and introduces a suite of safety features combining both camera and radar technology.
These include a collision mitigation braking system which recognises cars and pedestrians and the world’s first intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control system which is ideal for drivers who clock up the motorway miles. When driving along a motorway with the system activated it can predict if a vehicle is likely to pull into your lane and reacts accordingly.
Honda has announced that its entire line-up is being refreshed throughout 2015 and if the CR-V is a benchmark for what the company has in store, then there is plenty to look forward to in the months ahead.
Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 6-speed manual
Honda’s ever-popular and highly versatile CR-V is now a very economical reality too thanks to an extremely-efficient yet powerful new engine.
The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine gained many accolades when it was fitted to the Honda Civic, yet when the Japanese car maker announced it would be powering the much larger CR-V it was greeted with a sharp intake of breath from its huge fanbase of loyal followers (more than five million sales to date).
But there was no need for concern because the diesel powertrain delivers 120PS and that helps the family car reach 62mph from a standing start in 11.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 118mph – it’s certainly no slouch then!
The CR-V looks great from any angle with its instantly-recognisable sweeping light clusters, 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, roof rails and front fog lights.
And the spacious interior that has ample room for five adults cannot fail to impress with to its stylish, clutter-free, yet feature-rich layout.
The half leather and Alcantara seats can be heated and there are techno treats galore to be explored throughout the cabin.
These include a premium audio system with DAB radio, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, front and rear parking sensors automatic lights and wipers, a rear view camera, cruise control and even ambient lighting.
With a family market in mind, the CR-V has to be flexible, versatile, stylish, practical and economical.
And in fairness, it succeeds on all counts because it has all the space for a family day out with plenty of storage room. The boot can cater for 589 litres of luggage with the seats up and a whopping 1,146 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
However the car also doubles up as a very capable business driver’s vehicle and can be used to clock up the motorway miles if required. And with official figures showing it can achieve 60.1mpg on a combined run it certainly ticks many all-rounder boxes.
The test car was front wheel drive which is ideal for the majority of motorists and also results in more efficient running costs.
The latest CR-V has a premium feel to it with its soft-touch dashboard and high-mounted gear stick, but I did miss a sat nav system which is often standard on vehicles costing £27k.
In built-up city centre traffic, the CR-V handled very well and proved deceptively nimble for its size. The parking sensors and reversing camera were definitely a bonus when squeezing into tight parking spaces as was the excellent all-round visibility.
And the vehicle also proved itself very capable out on the open road too where acceleration through the six-speed manual transmission was both smooth and responsive. The road-holding was flawless and the ride was also worthy of note.
As one would expect, the CR-V is packed with safety features such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist, trailer stability assist, vehicle stability assist, hill descent control and numerous airbags.
All in all, the CR-V is a beautifully crafted all-rounder. It’s big on personality and practicality, but can be very rewarding on your pocket along the way.
Honda CR-V 2.0 i-VTEC SE 2WD Manual
Sometimes the success of a vehicle can be summed up the sales figures and if that’s true then the Honda CR-V has a proven track record as a crowd pleaser.
That’s because since its introduction back in 1995, the stylish SUV has clocked up five million sales worldwide.
And now there is even more appeal to the sporty five-door model thanks to the introduction of a two-wheel-drive version.
The fourth generation CR-V comes with a range of more economical engines and Honda has given the car a complete make-over so it now boasts a more planted stance with striking features such as pearlescent paintwork, daytime running lights, 17-inch alloys and snazzy fog lights.
As is typical with Honda models, the interior is loaded with features and many of these are included in the standard asking price. The test model also featured a sat nav system which, along with the specialist paint, bumped the price-tag up to £25,095.
Creature comforts include a six-speaker audio system with CD player and USB outlet, a colour touchscreen, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, electrically-adjusted and heated door mirrors, plus plenty more besides.
There is also an ECON driving mode to help conserve fuel which gives the dials a green outer glow and includes a gear-shift prompter and auto stop/start.
With its high-seated driving position, all-round visibility is excellent and all the controls and read-outs are perfectly positioned for driver usability.
The spacious interior allows five adults to travel in comfort with ample leg, head and shoulder space. And storage will never be an issue either as the CR-V boasts a generously-sized boot with a capacity of 589 litres with the seats in an upright position. This can quickly and easily be increased to 1,146 litres with the rear seats folded flat. Elsewhere there is a number of handy storage options scattered throughout the cabin.
The test model was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and it moved smoothly through the six-speed manual gearbox.
Road-holding was excellent and the vehicle was just as accomplished in the city centre as out on the faster open roads.
I did find the acceleration at higher speeds was a little laboured at times, but that was my only real criticism after a week-long test drive.
Another factor definitely worth noting is just how quiet the CR-V is even at motorway speeds and even the most uneven road surfaces are dealt with thanks to the excellent suspension system.
As one would expect, Honda has packed a comprehensive range of safety features into the CR-V such as anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill start assist, vehicle stability assist, numerous airbags and much more.
All in all, the CR-V is a super all-rounder with plenty of appeal for anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.
It’s difficult to improve on a vehicle that has notched up sales figures exceeding five million, but Honda has succeeded with its new CR-V.
With a more rugged and distinctive appearance, the car’s design team have achieved all their tough objectives – namely to improve efficiency, load capacity, build quality, driving dynamics and appearance.
The new CR-V boasts a more aerodynamic design which results in excellent fuel efficiency, but thankfully there is no compromise on the vehicle’s performance.
Although the CR-V is lower and shorter, there is still the same amount of interior room in this Tardis-like vehicle and it can easily house five adults in comfort.
Eye-catching new design features include a powered tailgate, deeply sculpted sides, a bolder nose, LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights, streamlined door mirrors with integrated indicators, subtly flared wheel arches and a modern three-dimensional rear light cluster.
The boot is truly massive and can now accommodate either four full sets of golf clubs or two mountain bikes. And capacity can be increased even further by pulling a lever inside the boot and folding the rear seats flat in a matter of seconds.
The CR-V is feature-rich with plenty of on-board technology built in as standard and buyers can choose from four trim levels as well as different fuel types, transmissions and, for the first time, either two or four-wheel-drive.
Honda believes the top-of-the-range EX models complete with the diesel engine will be the biggest crowd pleaser, so the manual and automatic versions were put through their paces on a range of fast country lanes and winding roads.
The driver is treated to a high seated position which is ideal as the CR-V will be an attractive option in the family market.
All controls and readouts are positioned in two convenient areas which means the driver can stay focused on the road ahead without the distraction of searching for fiddly buttons and dials.
The EX models feature all the creature comforts of lower specced cars but add in some notable extras along the way.
These include an eight-way electrically-adjustable driver’s seat complete with memory function, integrated sat nav, a panoramic glass roof, full leather interior and a multi-function sporty steering wheel with enough controls to land a space shuttle!
There is a brilliant sound system with connections to all modern devices, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch alloys, a rear-view parking camera, heated seats and plenty more besides.
First up was the 2.2 i-DTEC EX four-wheel-drive with six-speed manual transmission which proved an absolute pleasure to drive as it weaved through the country lanes.
Acceleration was excellent and road-holding impressive even through tight bends.
The cabin noise was virtually non-existent and comfort levels high.
This model was priced at £31,495, but the savings come with the running costs.
The official Honda figures show that the manual model can achieve combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg, but on an hour-long run we recorded more than 49mpg and at one time exceeded 50mpg. Carbon emissions are 154g/km and it can reach from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds.
Next up was the same EX model, but this time with an automatic transmission.
Priced at £35,020, this vehicle was fitted with the optional Advanced Driver Assist System which adds in collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
Once again the official Honda efficiency stats for combined fuel economy were beaten. Honda quoted 41.5mpg whereas we were consistently above 44 and we weren’t driving in a particularly over-cautious manner.
Carbon emissions for the automatic are 180g/km and it can reach 62mph from a standing start in 10.6 seconds.
When it comes to handling, both models performed well and there was little to choose between the manual and automatic – both are excellent.
With its Power of Dreams logo, Honda set out to make its fourth generation CR-V better than ever before, and after this display it certainly gets the thumbs up from me.
Honda CR-V 2.2i CTDi EX
When it comes to reputations being built, few manufacturers have shown the commitment to quality and build that Honda has, and that’s reflected in its stunning soft-roader the CR-V.
Boasting a wealth of creature comforts along with some outstanding technology, the CR-V has certainly lasted the test of time in the 4×4 market.
And it has the capability of taking on the roughest of conditions too which could be one reason it has always proved so popular.
It has great looks that help it stand out from its closest rivals and the drive and comfort levels are certainly no let down.
The driver and passengers alike are offered a solid, safe and almost invincible-feeling thanks to the well-structured shell and with the high-seated driving position, all-round visibility is excellent. The large panoramic roof adds to the airy and spacious atmosphere inside the cabin.
First class features include cruise control, dual-zone climate control with air conditioning, power-folding door mirrors, a rearview parking camera, alloy wheels, rain-sensing wipers, plus a whole lot more.
The CR-V handles exceptionally well in and around town and manoeuvrability is excellent considering its size. Out on the more open road, it offers plenty of power and ample acceleration too.
Inside the cabin, all the dials and controls are ideally situated for ease of use, including several on the steering wheel. Then, throughout the vehicle there are many storage compartments including a vast boot area complete with a double deck cargo shelf and a lockable glovebox.
Safety features are also excellent with anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, roll-over protection along with many airbags.
After years on the circuit, the CR-V is certainly still a force to be reckoned with on the sports utility vehicle market.