There’s loads to like
The perennial CR-V is well-built, rides high, hauls plenty of gear and drives like a car
THE CR-V has long been a favourite with Australian SUV buyers and has consistently sold well.
There’s no secret to its success: it has a high-riding driving position, it handles with the assurance of a car and the cabin accommodates a family of five with space for luggage.
It came as a base CR-V and the better specified Sport and Luxury. The clean, pleasant styling and upright stance fared well in a car park test against other SUVs.
Inside, the seating was comfortable, the audio easy-touse, the aircon efficient and the switches readily fell to hand.
Conventionally for the compact SUV class, the mechanical package combined a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, automatic or manual transmission choices, and ondemand all-wheel drive.
With 125kW/218Nm, the engine coped comfortably with highway speed as well as city crawl.
You had the choice between a six-speed manual gearbox and a five-speed automatic, the latter being the preference for most city dwellers.
The on-demand all-wheel drive handled most conditions with aplomb, with power generally directed to the front wheels until loss of traction was detected, prompting a portion of the power to be redirected to the rear.
One of the most appealing things about the CR-V was the on-road feel — it behaved like a car and, if not for the high-driving position, you wouldn’t know you were driving an SUV.
Honda has always prided itself on building quality into its cars and that comes across when talking to the trade or owners.
The build quality is one of the reasons the CR-V feels so solid on the road.
There’s no shake or rattle and only a little body roll, not enough to spoil the experience.
Owners are generally a happy lot and few complain about their choice of car. Many are on to their second and even third CR-V.
Little goes wrong with the CR-V; all reports say they are living up to Honda’s reputation for reliability.
One owner told us that he thought the paint on his car was soft; something he says appears to be common on Hondas, and can result in peeling and scratching in the areas where contact is made with the painted surface.
On the mechanical side a rumbling noise when reversing or turning is a call to renew the oil in the rear differential.
It’s a known issue and one of the rare things some owners report but a change of oil generally fixes it.
The engine is robust and reliable; it doesn’t use oil, and rarely gives any trouble if serviced to plan.
Renowned for advanced technology, Honda engines are built to tight tolerances and their oil galleries are relatively small. It’s one of the reasons servicing is crucial to keep the sludge down and the oil flowing.
It’s highly recommended that owners stick to Honda’s nominated 10,000km service intervals.
Mechanics generally agree that it’s worth using Honda fluids and lubricants.
Some 2008 model year cars were not fitted with a child restraint anchor in the centre rear seating position. Check to see whether yours has it.
Bob Gilchrist: We’ve driven around Australia twice in our CR-V without any hassles whatsoever. It’s done over 100,000km, been serviced by the book and we’ve never had to add oil or water between services. We changed the diff oil to rectify a slight vibration. We could not be happier.
Stuart Campbell: My wife and I are “mature” so we wanted a car with good access and the CR-V satisfied that need. I like the performance and we’re reasonably content with the 8.3L/100km we get on rural running. I also like the steering feel and turning circle, and the fact that it has a fullsized spare. Overall it’s well built, reliable, honest and good value for the money.
Kingsley Pocock: I have never been more satisfied with a car. It’s great on long drives, cruises at 110km/h, the overtaking performance is good and it gets 7.9L. Around town it is comfortable, its high driving position makes it easy to see out of and the flat floor makes it comfortable for those in the back. The only downside is the 10,000km service intervals but with capped price servicing it’s not too bad.
Neil Barry: We wanted a safe car, with a higher seating position, that would be competent on road. The CR-V has met all these quite well. It’s a bit thirsty at about 12.5L around town if driven briskly but drops to low 8s on the highway if driven more smoothly. We’ve had to replace the battery and the interior mirror broke. Rear diff oil needs changing more regularly than Honda recommends. Ours has done 90,000km and hasn’t yet had a brake pad change and the original tyres did 76,000km.
Well-built, good to drive, reliable ... what else is there to like?