When you’re on a good thing ...
Honda was an early adopter in the SUV field and its fourth-generation CR-V stuck to the blueprint
NEW A GREAT all-rounder for today’s average family, the SUV is an attractive blend of practicality, flexibility and comfort that also adds the safety, driveability and performance of the sedans and hatches we used to favour.
When Honda, an early adopter of the genre, came out with the first CR-V in 1997 the segment wasn’t as crowded as it is now. Despite the intense competition, the fourthgeneration CR-V had many fans when it arrived in 2012.
It stuck with the same successful formula of a highriding, compact wagon. There were three models, front and all-wheel drive, and petrol and diesel engines. The cabin had ample accommodation for five adults with their gear, the dash and console were well laid-out and the controls were easy to use.
Initial engine options were petrol fours of 2.0-litre and 2.4litre capacity. Honda responded to the growing demand for diesel in 2013.
Performance of the fours was modest, particularly the smaller motor, which could feel stretched when fully loaded. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel brought lower fuel consumption but also the driveability that comes with diesel torque. The transmission choices for all engines were a six-speed manual or a five-speed auto. Some other brands stuck diesel buyers with manual gearboxes but Honda did the right thing, optioning the 2.2 with the fivespeed auto for a more pleasant driving experience. If Honda was tardy with its diesel it didn’t miss out on a wagon without the cost and weight of AWD.
As a result buyers could opt for a simpler front-wheel drive model, as well as those with the on-demand all-wheel drive. NOW Honda has long been renowned for its design and build quality, and this Thai-built CR-V was similarly highly rated.
Owners we consulted generally had high praise for their cars. The main complaints that came out of our survey were that the airconditioning isn’t great, and the performance of the 2.0-lite petrol engine is adequate, but not thrilling.
In some respects Honda took a conservative approach with the fourth generation, such as sticking to a conventional auto transmission while others plunged into new-age alternative autos, such as the dual-clutch examples and CVTs.
That’s good news for those unconvinced by the new autos — they don’t have to worry about the glitches that are plaguing the newcomers.
The CR-V is no off-roader, so be wary of any car that appears to have been used that way. The best thing to do is to walk away, there are heaps of CR-Vs out there that have been well treated and they are the ones to look for.
Also check for a service record that shows the car has been well maintained. OWNERS SAY
We have a 2.0-litre VTi and it’s OK but not outstanding. It’s noisy, guzzles fuel, the aircon is poor and the cabin feels cheap.
Apart from the aircon, which is rubbish, we like our 2.0-litre VTi-L. Overall it is comfortable, performs well and has been reliable.
I bought my 2011 2.4-litre AWD VTi-L new and it has been great. It’s good to drive, is economical and the cabin is spacious.
We have a 2.0-litre VTi and find it pleasant around town and nice on the highway, although the acceleration isn’t great. The cabin is spacious and comfortable but the aircon isn’t very powerful. We have a 2.0-litre VTi-S FWD and we think it’s a great family car. It drives well and is comfortable but could do with more power. SMITHY SAYS Generally sound SUV choice for the family on the move.