Honda CR-V review: Hands-on

It looks good, but how does it drive?

What is a hands on review?
Image 1 of 5 Honda CR V
Honda CR-V
Image 2 of 5 Honda CR V
Honda CR-V
Image 3 of 5 Honda CR V
Honda CR-V
Image 4 of 5 Honda CR V
Honda CR-V
Image 5 of 5 Honda CR V
Honda CR-V

Honda's CR-V isn't trying to fool anyone. It's not being billed as a beemer X5 alternative, or as a backup plan for the middle class punter who fails to raise the funds to cover the cost of a brand new Range Rover.

No. The CR-V is a feat in its own right. It's the family-friendly 4x4 re-mastered for the 21st century driver who demands giant leaps in cabin space and fuel efficiency. Or as Honda puts it: it's a “perfectly centred balance between a car and an SUV.”

It has all the makings of your typical SUV (aside from one, but more on that later) – a decent engine, comfort and bags of room – which it packs into a stylish chassis that’s tall, wide and boasts a shed load of safety enhancements. Key, if you’re pitching to the family market.

Honda CR-V: Tech

Tech? Oh yes. The on-board media system comes equipped with a stunning touchscreen with a slick interface, Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity and, if you’re willing to cough for them, Honda’s satellite-linked sat nav and DVD rear entertainment systems. Paired with four total speakers with 160 watts of stereo output, it’s a winning combination.

Honda CR-V: Specs

- i-MID with 5-Inch LCD screen and customizable feature settings
- 160-Watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers
- Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines
- Honda satellite-linked navigation system
- Eco Assist System

Honda CR-V: Performance

Most buyers will opt for the 2.2-litre diesel engine, which packs an impressive 148bhp and is both flexible and eager to rev. Its 148bhp 2.0-litre petrol sibling doesn’t pack as powerful a punch, but still puts on a good show. Both come equipped with a six-speed manual box as standard but there is also the option of a five-speed automatic.

Improvements to both engines has resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, making it one of the only few SUVs that can be mean and green at the same time.

But with eco-friendly prowess comes compromise, and in this case, it’s its off-road capability which, to put it mildly, sucks. The sporty suspension is firm on rough roads, so lumps and bumps can be tricky to handle, and the car tends to sway heavily as conditions get rougher.

But roll this baby out onto a smooth surface and you’re laughing. Steering is swift and responsive, and the ride is smooth. Then again, this is a Honda, so you wouldn’t expect anything less.

Honda CR-V release date: Out now


Honda CR-V price: From £22,600

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.