2017 Honda CR-V Review

2015 Honda CR-V VTi-L

Priced From $27,490Information

Overall Rating

0

4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
Expand Section

Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars

Technology

3 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProSpacious body; good value.

  2. ConOnly five ratios in the auto.

  3. The Pick: 2017 Honda Cr-V VTi (4x4) 4D Wagon

What stands out?

Expand Section

The Honda CR-V has a bigger body than many other mid-sized SUVs, which allows a large boot and great rear-seat space. There is also a full-sized spare tyre, which is unusual among similar cars. The interior is presented well, there is plenty of standard equipment, and all-wheel drive is available.

What might bug me?

Expand Section

Using the foot-operated parking brake – it’s more difficult than a traditional hand brake.

Stabbing repeatedly at the volume button to turn up the sound system. You can’t make an easy big change, in the way that you can with a rotating knob.

What body styles are there?

Expand Section

Five-door wagon only.

The CR-V is available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. It is classified as a medium SUV, lower priced.

What features do all Honda CR-Vs have?

Expand Section

A reversing camera that allows a choice of view angles. Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen.

An MP3 compatible sound system with an AM/FM radio, a CD player, HDMI and USB inputs, six speakers, and speed-sensitive volume control.

Height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel, which carries buttons for operating the cruise control, the sound system and your phone.

Seatbelt reminders for all five seats. A footrest for the driver.

Aluminium alloy wheels (which are lighter and more stylish than steel wheels) and a full-sized spare tyre.

Roof rails. These act as mounting points for the optional roof racks. (If you want to carry something on the roof, you also need the racks.)

Six airbags: two directly in front of the driver and front passenger; a side airbag to protect the upper body of each front occupant; and a curtain airbag on each side to protect the heads of front and rear occupants.

Electronic stability control, which can help control a skid. All new cars must have this feature.

The CR-V is covered by a three-year, 100,000km warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

Expand Section

Two petrol engines are available in a CR-V: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder, with comes with front-wheel drive versions, and a 2.4-litre, which comes with all-wheel-drive versions.

The 2.0-litre is the more fuel-efficient, using as little as 7.7 litres/100km on the official test (city and country combined). It spins smoothly and sounds good.

The 2.4-litre in all-wheel drive CR-Vs responds more urgently to your right foot and performs well on the highway. However, it uses about 12 per cent more fuel on the test.

In the real world, a CR-V VTi-L with this engine averaged 12.0 litres/100km in comparison testing of mid-sized SUVs for the August 2014 issue of Wheels magazine, putting it near the middle of 10 cars reviewed for fuel use.

The least costly CR-V, the 2WD petrol VTi, comes with a six-speed manual or five-speed auto gearbox. All other petrol-powered models offer the five-speed auto only.

(Honda no longer offers the CR-V with a diesel engine.)

What key features do I get if I spend more?

Expand Section

Pay more for the VTi-S and you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and front and rear parking sensors. Windscreen wipers operate automatically when it rains. Headlights switch on automatically at night. There is dual-zone air-conditioning, which allows temperatures to be set independently for each half of the cabin, and smart key entry, which allows you to unlock the car without retrieving the key from your pocket or handbag.

Take a further step to the VTi-L and you get part-leather trim (there’s also some fake leather), with powered adjustment and heating for the front seats, and a memory for the driver’s seat (which makes it easier to restore your settings after a companion has driven the car). There is satellite navigation, and a sunroof. The 17-inch wheels on the two cheaper versions are replaced with 18-inch wheels, mainly for the racier look.

An extra-cost option available only on the VTi-L AWD is an active safety suite that Honda calls ADAS, for Advanced Driver Assist System. It comprises Adaptive cruise control, Lane-keeping assistance, and Autonomous emergency braking. (For more on these systems, please open the Safety section below.)

All three versions – VTi, VTi-S and VTi-L – can also be ordered with all-wheel drive, in which case they will have the bigger petrol engine.

(Diesel CR-Vs - DTi-S and DTi-L – were available only with all-wheel drive. Equipment levels matched the VTi-S and VTi-L, respectively.)

Does any upgrade have a down side?

Expand Section

All-wheel drive petrol models have the bigger engine and are heavier, and so use more fuel than their two-wheel drive counterparts.

The VTi-L’s sunroof reduces front headroom by 49mm.

The 18-inch tyres on VTi-L models won’t ride quite as smoothly as the 17s on less costly models, and could cost more to replace.

White is the only standard colour, and all others cost extra.

How comfortable is the Honda CR-V?

Expand Section

The CR-V has an elegant interior with a classy and functional instrument cluster. The front seats are comfortable and offer good support. Everything is put together nicely. The large touchscreen makes it easy to navigate basic functions such as the sound system and phone connectivity.

Vision is good and so is the driving position. Most control buttons are easy to reach.

You might want more thrust from the basic 2.0-litre engine in 2WD models in everyday driving, something not helped by its five-speed auto. Most rival autos have at least six gears, respond better to inputs from the driver and make the engine appear more powerful.

The 2.4-litre engine on AWD models is more pleasant to drive, accelerating more easily.

Overall the CR-V is an easy car to live with, with steering that is light and faithful in its responses. The suspension is also fairly compliant, making it comfortable over bumps.

At high speeds, tyre noise can intrude on what is a quiet cabin otherwise.

What about safety in a CR-V?

Expand Section

With a reversing camera, airbags all around and seatbelt reminders for all positions, the CR-V has a good level of standard safety. It also has daytime running lights – additional lights near the headlamps that make the car more visible.

Features such as rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlamps on all but the least costly model improve safety levels, activating without driver intervention.

An extra-cost option on the all-wheel drive VTi-L (only) is the ADAS suite of active safety aids, which includes a form of autonomous emergency braking that Honda calls CMBS (Collision Mitigation Braking System).

ADAS uses radar and camera sensors to monitor the road ahead. They inform the Adaptive cruise control, which will hold you automatically at a safe distance from other drivers on the highway. They also inform the CMBS, which will warn you of an impending collision, and will apply the brakes automatically if you do not respond. The included Lane keep assistance monitors road markings to check that you are not drifting out of your lane on the highway – a likely sign of distraction or fatigue. If it concludes that you are, it will attempt gently to correct the steering.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rated the CR-V’s safety at five stars, in October 2012.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

Expand Section

Like alternative mid-size SUVs, the CR-V drives more like a car than an off-roader. Nevertheless, the taller body and softer suspension means it is prone to leaning in corners, which can be disconcerting through a succession of bends. And while the light steering is nice in the city, at highway speeds you may well find it too light - and a bit dull around its centre position.

However the CR-V holds the road well, instilling confidence in the driver.

The 2.0-litre engine, like many Honda engines, works best when you drive it hard and let it spin, but the auto transmission does not always harness its sweet spot, tending to select a higher gear early. The 2.4-litre engine in 4WD versions is more enjoyable and better for overtaking.

All-wheel drive versions of the CR-V are light-duty off-roaders, designed for predominantly on-road use. The full-sized spare tyre adds confidence to try some tracks and trails, but the suspension design and low ride height (for an off-road vehicle) limit its ability on rough surfaces.

How is life in the rear seats?

Expand Section

The CR-V has more leg room at the rear than most medium SUVs, and so is very comfortable and spacious there for adults. The wide rear seat fits three people easily. And vents dedicated to the rear compartment bring heating or cooling.

However, the middle seatbelt comes out of the roof and requires two buckles to fasten it.

The outer child seat anchor points are in the roof also, obstructing rear vision.

How is it for carrying stuff?

Expand Section

The CR-V’s big boot is great for families, with a long, broad floor and tall load space. The rear seats can be easily split-folded in a 60/40 configuration, using handles on either side of the luggage area. Flip up the bases before folding the backs down and you get a near-flat floor.

There’s a net on the left of the boot for smaller items.

Elsewhere in the cabin there are plenty of storage binnacles, including a sizeable centre console and a smaller pocket above the main front door pockets that’s perfect for phones.

The CR-V is rated to tow 1600kg.

Where is the Honda CR-V made?

Expand Section

Honda produces the CR-V in Thailand. (One limited edition version, a CR-V DTi-L powered by a 1.6-litre diesel, was produced in England.)

What might I miss that similar cars have?

Expand Section

Perhaps wider access to active safety features such as automatic emergency braking. You can have these only on the most expensive CR-V – and even then you have to pay extra. City-speed auto braking is standard on every Mazda CX-5, for example.

A six-speed automatic gearbox, which would improve performance and cut fuel use. Most other medium SUVs have at least six forward gears (or a CVT, with an infinite number of ratios). Among those are the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester.

Maybe a diesel engine, for reduced fuel use on the highway and a longer touring range between fill-ups. The Forester and Sportage offer this, for example.

Seven seats: the Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail offer a third row of seats in a car of about the same size.

The ability to display smartphone apps on the car’s central touchscreen, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Escape offer this feature, for example.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

Expand Section

The CR-V VTi 4WD. It has plenty of equipment and represents great value. We prefer the more powerful engine in this all-wheel-drive version.

Are there plans to update the CR-V soon?

Expand Section

Yes. The current CR-V arrived late in 2012 and received a mild update late in 2014. A limited-edition, 1.6-litre turbo-diesel introduced about October 2015 briefly augmented dwindling stocks of the 2.2-litre diesel. From about the second quarter 2016, the CRV has been available only with petrol engines.

Honda has confirmed that a new-generation CR-V is expected in July 2017. It will have a turbocharged petrol engine and will seat up to seven.