The new Honda CR-V ditches diesel but is still as safe a bet as ever

“The new Honda CR-V ditches diesel but is still as safe a bet as ever”

  • Spacious and comfortable interior

  • Generous safety equipment

  • New Hybrid technology available


Overall Rating

  • Infotainment feels a little dated

  • Overly supple suspension can make the ride feel a little bouncy

  • Lack of diesel may rule it out for those who do heavy mileage

Overall Rating


With over nine million of them sold to date, the Honda CR-V has become one of the bestselling SUVs in the world since it first arrived in 2005. Now into its fifth generation, this latest incarnation retains its stronghold in the areas of space, comfort, safety and practicality and adds to it with the introduction of a seven-seat option and impressive new Hybrid technology.

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Interior Gallery


Space & Practicality

Underneath the newly sculpted rear lies a generous boot capacity of 561 litres. This shrinks to 497 litres on the Hybrid model and to just 150 litres if you opt for an extra row of seats in the back instead, a trade off it shares with all of its seven seat SUV rivals.

With the full capacity of the 5-seat petrol model, practicality is suitably impressive – there’s a good, wide opening and some handy features that make it easy to live with. There’s a false floor for separating or hiding valuables, and the seats fold completely flat with the pull of a lever. The only drawback is the unusually large tailgate which does require a bit of space to open, so be careful where you park.

Our test car was the five seat model, and not even taller adults could find reason to complain about head or legroom in the back. There’s no big transmission tunnel for a middle seat passenger to wrangle with either, making the CR-V one of the better options if you are carrying three back there regularly and your kids are getting taller. It’s also quite a wide car which means they’ll also get more shoulder room.

It’s got Isofix anchors for the smaller ones – the higher ride height should make it easier to get those car seats in and out, and when you’re not carrying a middle seat passenger, there’s a pull-down centre armrest complete with cupholders.

Back in the front that great feeling of space prevails, the wide cabin meaning that both driver and passenger also get plenty of room to stretch out. There’s a large central storage unit, some well-placed cupholders and decent size doorbins which all serve to keep a neat and orderly feel to the cabin.

Equipment and Safety

As for the overall look and feel of the cabin – it’s fine, if a little underwhelming. The quality is for the most part very good, and it’s all very logically laid out. The dashboard feels perhaps a little overstyled with its divisive wooden inserts but that will be down to personal taste and more importantly than that, it does feel very well screwed together.

The infotainment system is more or less exactly the same – highly functional, but a bit lacking when it comes to the finer details, like graphics.

Standard equipment, and safety kit in particular, is very generous. The excellent Honda Sensing Safety system is standard across the range and includes some very handy driver-assisting features like lane departure warning, active cruise control, road sign recognition, forward collision warning, and emergency braking.

In addition to being very safe the entry level Comfort model also gets 17 inch alloy wheels, automatic lights, climate control, lumbar support for the driver starts at €33,500. However, it doesn’t get a touchscreen, and as questionable as those graphics might be, we would still recommend you upgrade to the Lifestyle model which does. The Honda Connect system also gets SatNav, DAB radio, online services and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (which you can always use in place of that interface if you like). The Lifestyle comes with a €2,000 premium over the Comfort and also adds styling upgrades like larger 18 inch wheels, rain sensing window wipers, dual zone climate control and some extra leather around the cabin on the steering wheel and gear stick.

This is where we feel the best value in the range lies, but there are higher trim levels available. The Elegance will add a leather interior, some more styling upgrades and ambient lighting, although the premium is larger because you’ll also have add four wheel drive. The same goes for the Executive model which does add some very nice features like an automatic tailgate, heated steering wheel, sunroof and electronic seat adjustment, but it also comes with a starting price of €45,000.

Performance & Running Costs

The big news with this new CR-V is that in a very 2019 move, they have dropped diesel from the line-up altogether. The only option now is petrol, or the soon to be launched Hybrid version.

The petrol option under the hood of our test car was the 1.5l 4 cylinder V-Tec that can also be found in the Civic and pushes out a healthy 173ps in its front wheel drive, manual form. There’s also the option of four wheel drive and an automatic CVT transmission which will up that power output to 190ps.

Despite the larger dimensions of the CR-V, there always feels like there’s plenty of power available, it pulls away nice and quickly and feels very refined. It’s a nice, quiet engine.

As a package, it’s definitely geared more towards comfort than engagement and that feeling is mainly down to an overly-supple suspension set-up, which can make it bounce around a little over rough surfaces. It does settle down on a longer stretch though, and doesn’t detract too much from the ride quality in general which is overall very good.

Like with most Hondas, the steering is nice and direct and the short throw and high-mounted position of the gear lever gives it a nice sporty feel.

Fuel econony for the petrol is not too bad in relation to its claimed figure of about 6.2l per 100km. It’s still not going to be as efficient as the previous diesel model but if you don’t do massive mileage it might not be that much of an issue. However, it does cost €390 a year to tax and if running costs are a priority the Hybrid might be a better option when it arrives with its slightly more impressive figure of 5.3l/100km and reduced tax bill of €270.

Reliability & Residuals

You can generally count on Honda when it comes to reliability and that’s a trait that helps them hold on to their value on the used market.

The CR-V might not blow your mind in any one area but it does excel in enough of the vital ones to make it a very solid choice of family car. The much-awaited new Hybrid option might just be enough to give it the edge this time around.

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