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Honda CR-V SUV - Interior & comfort (2018-2023)

Interior upgrades give the Honda CR-V more character and the infotainment system is improved

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

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Interior & comfort Rating

3.0 out of 5

Past generations of the CR-V had a reputation for being well built and sturdy inside, but somewhat lacking in style. Honda took steps to put this right in the interior of the new CR-V; there are better-quality materials throughout, with top-spec EX cars getting a flocked leather dashboard and tasteful wooden trim.

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Only the plastics on the glovebox and door bins feel slightly lower-rent. Further changes for the hybrid-only version also added some spark to the interior. The CR-V’s driving position is great, with a wide range of adjustment in the seat and the steering wheel. However, the lack of a mid-life update has started to take its toll, because the CR-V now feels increasingly dated next to newer rivals, particularly when it comes to infotainment.

Honda CR-V dashboard

While the infotainment screen in the old CR-V looked like an aftermarket device, the seven-inch display in the current car is more neatly integrated and comes standard on all but entry-level S trim cars, which get a rather ugly radio with an LCD screen. The touchscreen from SE trim and up takes pride of place in an attractive gloss-black housing that sits proud of the rest of the dashboard, and there's a touch-sensitive side bar for added convenience – however, it’s not the easiest system to use and even switching radio stations can feel like a chore. The addition of a rotary dial for volume is welcome, though, and the climate controls are easily adjustable when on the move. Compared with the latest rivals, however, the CR-V’s touchscreen looks and feels rather dated and basic, and even upgrading to the Civic’s 10.2-inch display and software would be a noticeable upgrade.

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Silver interior trim highlights and a blue halo for the 'H' Honda badges were ushered in when the CR-V went hybrid-only, helping lift the interior ambiance. 

Another gripe is the Honda’s sat nav – a dated Garmin system that can’t match the clear and easy-to-use system in rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on SE and above, so you don’t have to rely on Honda’s in-built navigation system. The head-up display on range-topping EX models works well enough, but it projects onto a small pop-up glass element rather than the windscreen, which isn’t quite as slick as what you get in the new Nissan Qashqai.

Equipment

There are five quite a few trim levels to choose from, starting with entry-level S and moving up through SE, SR and finally EX. Meanwhile, Sport Line introduces a more assertive look to the CR-V range.  All models get parking sensors and the Honda Sensing suite of safety kit, which includes collision-mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, road-departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition. All models get part-digital dials, too, while a rear-view camera comes with SE trim.

The SR has smart entry and start, a leather interior, front heated seats, active cornering lights, blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic monitoring, while the range-topping EX gets a heated steering wheel, head-up display, hands-free powered tailgate, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof and wireless smartphone charging.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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