The Honda CR-V is a long-established contender in the compact SUV class. With its classy looks and high-quality interior, it goes head-to-head with other premium models such as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.
It's available with a choice of two or four-wheel drive, although ultimately it's a car for tarmac rather than anything more challenging. The latest generation of lightweight, car-like SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai may be more economical, but the CR-V's diesel engines and nine-speed automatic gearbox help it close the gap.
The CR-V is a spacious car, with versatile and clever seating. However, its ace card is a large boot that can be made even bigger at the pull of a handle. This tips the rear seats down to create a flat load floor and class-leading boot capacity.
If that weren’t enough to entice family buyers, the CR-V comes with lots of safety equipment as standard, including automatic emergency braking. Meanwhile, options include Honda's ‘Driver Assistance Safety Pack’. This features forward collision warning and cross-traffic assistance, which warns of vehicles approaching from the side. Active cruise control is a feature on some models, too, enabling the car to automatically maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
CR-V power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol engine or one of two 1.6-litre diesels. We prefer the less powerful diesel: it's economical, yet punchy enough for most people's needs. The more powerful diesel is only available with four-wheel drive.
In addition to a six-speed manual gearbox, there's an optional nine-speed automatic. The CR-V is a comfortable and refined car. It's grippy, too, but ultimately not as much fun to drive as the lighter and tauter Mazda CX-5.
There are six trim levels, ranging from S to EX and including two sat nav-equipped versions called Navi. Standard equipment is generous across the range, with alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control and DAB digital radio all thrown in.
Our favourite is the second trim in the line-up, called SE Navi. It adds Garmin navigation, rear parking sensors, front foglights and the Honda CONNECT audio and information system. Beware of the top-spec EX. This trim level brings a full leather interior and a panoramic glass sunroof – but at a price tag that pushes the CR-V squarely into contention with the more desirable Mercedes GLA-Class.
There are few question marks over the Honda CR-V's quality and reliability. Meanwhile, the model was awarded the full five stars for crash safety by Euro NCAP and has a long list of standard safety equipment, including city braking, hill-start assistance and ISOFIX child-seat mounts.