Honda CR-V Review
The Honda CR-V is spacious, has a big boot and is comfortable in town, but its quality is questionable in areas and it has one of the worst infotainment systems on sale.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Good interior space
- Decent boot
- Comfortable to drive
What's not so good
- Lacking interior quality
- Impractical infotainment system
- Noisy petrol engine
Honda CR-V: what would you like to read next?
The Honda CR-V is a spacious family SUV that comes in either petrol or petrol-hybrid form. The CR-V Hybrid is at odds with the car’s closest alternatives like the Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008 and Kia Sorento, because they only offer traditional petrol and diesel engines.
The Honda CR-V stands out in terms of the way it looks too. It’s more muscular than its predecessor and sits 35mm higher from the ground for better off-road ability. As you work your way up through the range you’ll get bigger alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof and roof rails, while range-toppers have more shiny exterior trim than Trump’s presidential limo.
Inside there are more questionable touches, such as Honda’s fake wood trim fitted to every model. Still, you can swap it for a little extra and the rest of the dashboard is nicely designed with soft touch plastics and leatherette in abundance. Well, higher up on the dash and doors – lower down around the doors and centre console things aren’t as sturdy.
It’s not even worth considering the entry-level infotainment system on S models because it’s extremely basic – you’re better off going for an SE model or higher which get a 7.0-inch touchscreen system with sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s worth it for the smartphone mirroring alone, because the Honda’s native menu system is very difficult to navigate.
Thank God the Honda CR-V comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, because the standard system is so poor, it puts you off wanting to interact with it full stop.
Even very tall passengers sat in the front seats are able to stretch out and the driver gets a wide range of seat and wheel adjustment, whether it be manual or electric – dependant on the trim. Behind them, another couple of tall adults will have plenty of headroom and loads of space between their knees and the front seats.
On seven-seat models the third row is probably best left to children rather than adults – a Kia Sorento is far better at transporting seven people. It’s frustrating that Honda hasn’t included levers for folding down the rear seats easily, too. Still, at least the boot itself is large in size versus alternatives’, is a square shape and has great access.
The petrol CR-V gets a 1.5-litre with 173hp. It offers decent performance, but makes quite a bit of noise when pushed hard, especially when fitted with the CVT auto gearbox. The Honda CR-V Hybrid model is silent at low speeds when running on electricity, but if you want all of its 184hp for overtaking a 2.0-litre petrol engine joins in. The Hybrid is quicker in a sprint, but also the more fuel efficient – if driven properly.
Whichever engine you pick, the CR-V’s good visibility and light steering make it easy to guide through town, while its soft suspension helps iron out most lumps and bumps. Head onto a country road and although there’s good grip, the CR-V does lean quite a bit, while on the motorway it remains comfortable, but allows quite a bit of wind and road noise inside.
All told, there are better SUVs for carrying seven and better infotainment systems available but the Honda CR-V ticks enough boxes to be worth considering, especially if you know you want hybrid power. Check out our Honda CR-V deals for the very best prices.
The CR-V’s standard wood trim looks yesteryear and, lower down, its plastics are scratchy, while its infotainment system is one of the very worst on sale today.
The Honda CR-V seats four adults with ease and its boot will swallow lots of luggage, but there are better cars at seating seven and ultimately bigger boots if you need it.
The CR-V puts in a strong showing for space, even if there are ultimately more spacious SUVs for those who require it. There are some frustrating practicality failings, though.
Even very tall passengers sat in the Honda CR-V’s front seats are able to stretch out and the driver gets a wide range of seat and wheel adjustment, whether it be manual or electric – dependant on the trim.
Behind them, another couple of tall adults will have plenty of headroom – even in models with that panoramic sunroof fitted – and loads of space between their knees and the front seats, although the raised middle seat makes it uncomfortable for a third.
It’s worth noting that five-seat models have a lower-set rear bench for even better headroom, because the seven-seat car’s middle row can be folded over and slid to make way for the third row. That said, it’s a bit of a faff to do.
And on the subject of that third row, it’s probably best left to children rather than adults – an adult of average height will just about squeeze in but will start to moan on a long trip. A Kia Sorento is far better at transporting seven people.
Families will have no shortage of places to throw all their odds and ends. The glove box isn’t stand-out for the class but is generous enough, while the front door bins will easily take a 1.5-litre water bottle.
Then there are a couple of cupholders between the front seats set behind a fairly deep cubby that’s perfect for throwing your phone, keys or wallet. There’s also a deeper cubby with removable cover in front of a central armrest, as well as space beneath the armrest itself.
Then, in the back, the door bins will take a smaller water bottle, and although there’s no ski hatch between the rear seats, there’s a pull-down armrest with cupholders within it.
It’s annoying that a seven-seat CR-V’s rearmost seats leave a lump in the boot floor when folded which Honda has tried to counter with a small and awkwardly designed adjustable boot floor section.
It’s also frustrating that Honda hasn’t included levers on the boot sides for folding down the rear seats easily and that seven-seat cars don’t come with any kind of tonneau cover for hiding your valuables.
Still, at least the boot itself is a good size at 561 litres, has a square shape and great access, easily swallowing two large suitcases, a set of golf clubs or a large pushchair. Folding the rear seats will allow a bicycle to go in without taking its wheels off too.
Bear in mind, though, that if you need even more space, a Skoda Kodiaq’s boot is 20% bigger again.
Unlike its alternatives, the Honda CR-V offers hybrid power and all models are comfortable to drive. However, some buyers will be disappointed there’s no diesel engine.
You’ll never be gagging to drive the CR-V, but it grips well and is comfy in town. Shame its petrol engine is noisy and there’s wind and road noise on the motorway.
The petrol option for the Honda CR-V is a 1.5-litre with 173hp, which can be paired with two or four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual or CVT automatic gearbox. It offers decent performance, but makes quite a bit of noise when pushed hard, especially when fitted with the CVT auto gearbox which holds the revs high when accelerating.
The CR-V Hybrid model is silent at low speeds when running on battery power and electric motors alone, but if you want to use all of its 184hp for overtaking, a 2.0-litre petrol engine fires up and joins in. As such, the Hybrid is quicker in a sprint, but also the more fuel efficient – if driven properly.
Whichever engine you pick, the CR-V’s good visibility and light steering make it easy to guide through town, while its soft suspension helps iron out most lumps and bumps. Another reason to avoid the entry-level CR-V and go for the SE or above is that SE models come with both front and rear sensors as well as a rearview camera, which will all help guide the CR-V into parking spaces.
Head onto a country road and although there’s good grip, the CR-V does lean quite a bit and its steering isn’t the last word in precision, either. You’re better off easing off and enjoying the way it irons out bumps.
On the motorway, it remains comfortable too, but allows quite a bit of wind and road noise inside at higher speeds.