The Honda CR-V is a large family SUV that’s a breeze to drive and is very comfortable, but alternatives have bigger boots and better infotainment systems
The Honda CR-V is a large family SUV that’s reasonably roomy and more comfortable than a VW Tiguan. You can get it with petrol and diesel engines, two or four-wheel drive and either a manual or automatic gearbox.
The current Honda CR-V was launched in 2012 and refreshed in 2016. This latest model has been made more comfortable, comes with subtly restyled bumpers and a new (but not all that impressive) seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Unfortunately, little was done to perk up the rather subdued Honda CR-V interior. It’s by no means boring – and there are loads of soft-touch plastics on the dashboard and doors – but both the VW Tiguan and Toyota RAV4 come with more eye-catching cabins.
Thankfully, the CR-V’s comfortable seats help it claw back some points. Every Honda CR-V gets height adjustment and backache-reducing lumbar support for the driver as standard and there’s loads of head and legroom.
The back seats are pretty spacious, too. There isn’t quite as much legroom as you get in a Tiguan but the Honda’s wide central seat, flat floor and plentiful shoulder room mean it’s better for carrying three abreast.
Sadly, the Honda CR-V can’t match the VW in terms of boot space. Its 589-litre capacity lags behind the Tiguan by just over 25 litres but there’s still enough space to carry a large baby stroller and a few soft bags. Need to carry some long luggage and a rear passenger at once? The back seats fold down in a two-way (60:40) split using some handy levers in the boot.
With both back seats folded you can carry 1,627 litres of luggage. The almost-completely-flat boot floor makes it easy to pack full of large boxes and there’s just enough space to carry a bike without removing its wheels.
The CR-V’s styling makes it look a bit like a Jazz that’s been stung by a bee and suffered anaphylactic shock
You can get the Honda CR-V with one petrol and two diesel engines. Pick the 2.0-litre petrol if you spend most time around town – it’s smoother than the rattly diesels and it’ll return around 30mpg compared to Honda’s claimed 39.2mpg.
You can get the 1.6-litre diesel with either 120hp or 160hp. The former’s more economical but the latter is fast enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic on motorways and will still return around 45mpg in normal driving conditions.
Where the Honda CR-V stands out is on bumpy roads. It’s much more comfortable than both the Tiguan and RAV4 and it’s reasonably quiet on motorways. It leans quite a lot on twisty roads but it’s a breeze to see out of and its light steering makes it easy to thread through town. All but entry-level models get parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard, too.
The Honda CR-V received a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating back in 2013, but you should bear in mind that these tests have been made significantly stricter since then. As a result, newer five-star-rated cars such as the VW Tiguan will offer more protection in a crash.
The Honda CR-V is well worth considering if you prefer your large practical family cars comfortable rather than sporty.