Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018) Review

Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Honda CR-V is one of the best family SUVs you can buy. It might lack a premium badge, but it punches above its weight in terms of space, efficiency and reliability.

+1.6 i-DTEC is punchy and efficient, massive boot and a spacious cabin for five adults, superb build quality edges the CR-V into premium territory.

-Petrol versions are best avoided, higher trim levels are too expensive when new, no seven-seat option.

Insurance Groups are between 22–28
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

Launched in 2012, and facelifted in 2015, the CR-V’s chief rival is the Toyota RAV4, but there are countless other SUVs vying for your attention. It’s important to choose the right engine and trim. The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel is the star of the show, while even the basic S trim offers a generous level of standard equipment.

The Honda CR-V is one of the best all-rounders in the crowded family SUV market. It’s not the most exciting car in its class, but if you’re after practicality, reliability and low running costs, it’s arguably the best choice.

The boot is huge, offering a generous 589 litres of luggage space. This extends to as much as 1,669 litres with the rear seats folded down, so you’re unlikely to require more space. It gets better, because the CR-V offers seating for five adults, with even the middle rear seat offering more space than many of its rivals.

It’s not the most exciting car to sit in, but the quality is excellent, even if the CR-V lacks the soft-touch plastics and premium materials of some of the premium SUVs. Crucially, everything is hard-wearing and robust, so the CR-V will feel as good after 150,000 miles as it did when it left the showroom. Thanks to Honda’s reputation for reliability, you stand a good chance of reaching 150k miles and beyond.

All versions get a generous level of equipment, with the S trim boasting 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, one-motion folding rear seats, city emergency braking, cruise control, front and rear electric windows, steering wheel audio controls and DAB digital radio. We could make a strong case for the S trim offering everything you could possibly need.

However, it’s probably worth upgrading to a higher trim level for the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and leather-trimmed steering wheel. You also get a wider choice of engines and the option of four-wheel-drive as you climb the trim ladder. Be warned: the Honda CR-V gets expensive once you hit the flagship model.

Not that this is a major problem when buying used. Prices range from £6,000 for a 2012/2013 model, rising to £22,500 for a 2018 CR-V. We’d recommend a CR-V built after the facelift in 2015, as these models are nicer to drive and come with enhanced specification.

The CR-V is a car that majors on ride comfort, which, when combined with the excellent visibility and a high driving position, make this a superb motorway car. Opt for the excellent 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine and you’ll be a stranger at your local filling station. The old 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines are best avoided.

A CR-V with the 1.6-litre engine and four-wheel-drive is an excellent tow car, with a maximum towing capacity of 2000kg. All versions come with trailer stability assist as standard.

Overall, the Honda CR-V is a brilliant family SUV. We’d recommend it for its cavernous boot, spacious cabin, excellent level of equipment and strong reliability record. The 1.6-litre is punchy and efficient, making it our choice of the engines.

Rather than view the CR-V as one of the best mainstream SUVs, we’d argue that it’s good enough to be considered an alternative to the premium players. It’s that good.

Ask Honest John

What SUV will hold its value over the next five years?
"Can you suggest a reliable SUV under £9000 that will hold its value over 5 years? I live in Bristol so was leaning towards petrol."
Unfortunately, unless you buy a classic car, any SUV you buy will depreciate in value over five years. You could go for something like a classic Range Rover – a tidy one could be a good investment but it'll need regular maintenance. Otherwise, a reliable SUV for £9k would be a Suzuki Vitara or, if you need more space, a Honda CR-V. We'd recommend a petrol if you live (or regularly drive into) the centre of Bristol.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What large, petrol models would you suggest for a young family with children?
"A relative of mine is interested in buying a 2012 Volkswagen Passat Bluemotion 2.0 TDI DSG with 69,000 miles for under £5000. What other large, petrol, automatic models would you suggest for a young family with children? I'm concerned about the DSG. Is this DSG gearbox one of the ones that will cause a lot of problems? A petrol car would be more suitable than diesel for 10,000 miles a year use. On a 2012 model with 69,000 miles, will expenditure on the car increase a lot from now on? Thank you for your assistance. "
I think you're right to have your concerns. The DSG gearbox used with the 2.0 TDI engine is more reliable than that paired with small petrol engines, but it's still at an age that it could go expensively wrong. You're right that a petrol would be more suited to 10k a year, especially at this end of the market. We'd recommend a Honda Accord. They're pretty rare (most buyers of cars like this want a premium badge) but very reliable. Also consider a Toyota Avensis – they're nothing special to drive, but ultra-dependable. Also consider SUVs like a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Can you suggest a reliable, petrol, used 4x4 SUV?
"We're trying to choose a reliable, used, automatic, five-seater SUV or estate for £12-16k. It can't be diesel and needs to be able to manage a family of 5 on motorway trips (so boot needs to be at least 450 litres and back seat not too narrow), narrow winding rural lanes with potholes and steep hills - so can't be too wide and ideally 4x4. We were keen on the raised ride height and 4x4 of the Skoda Scout but affordable models are all diesel. Yeti is too small and the newest Skoda SUVs are too pricy. Advice welcomed, thanks."
We'd recommend a Honda CR-V. It's got a huge boot and plenty of space for a family of five. Three adults can fit fairly comfortably in the rear seats, helped by a flat floor (so no squabbling over where passengers put their feet). It's likely to be a reliable choice, too, especially with the 2.0-litre petrol engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best big SUV with 4-wheel drive?
"What the best SUV for a low mileage user who wants AWD/4x4 and a big boot? I have a 2016 diesel Subaru Forester and a £10k budget. Many thanks."
A hybrid Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V could be a good replacement for your Forester. Both are very efficient, reliable and suit regular short journeys.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018) cost?

Buy new from £28,149 (list price from £30,445)
Contract hire from £254.29 per month