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 85% 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.

What's it like driving the Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018)? Read the Honda CR-V (2012 – 2018) Road Test

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's the best used SUV?
"What is the most economical, automatic, small SUV for me? I will be buying secondhand and have a budget of £8000."
I would probably go with the old-shape Honda CR-V. Very comfortable and easy to drive. The automatic has a good reputation for reliability:
Answered by Dan Powell
Could you suggest a family car to replace a Mazda 5?
"Our Mazda 5 was written off recently. We don't need five seats but we do like the space. We have a budget of £8000-10,000. Any advice what we should replace it with? Thanks."
If you want another MPV then the Ford S-MAX could be a good replacement: Alternatively, if you want a crossover with a raised driving position, you may want to consider the Honda CR-V:
Answered by Dan Powell
Which is the best SUV choice in my budget?
"I'm looking for a reliable SUV for under £8500. I've shortlisted the Hyundai Santa Fe 2011/2012, Subaru Forester 2011/2012 and Nissan Xtrail 2012/2013. I do less than 10,000 miles per year. Which would you recommend as most reliable and will survive the mileage with least costs and servicing problems? I understand Honda CRV up to 2006 is a good SUV but I'm concerned 2006 is now quite old or would you say it's still more reliable and sturdy than the above cars?"
The issue you're going to have is that most SUVs within your budget will be diesel. It doesn't necessarily sound like you cover enough miles to warrant a diesel. They can suffer from reliability issues if they're mainly driven for short journeys. That doesn't mean you should dismiss diesels entirely - they often suit SUVs like this and make for better tow cars, but you really need to take it for a long motorway drive once a week or so to prevent a blocked diesel particulate filter (DPF). If you do think a diesel makes sense for you, we'd recommend a Honda CR-V. The 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine is pretty good and there's also a 2.0-litre petrol, if you decide against a diesel. Your budget will get you an example from around 2013.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Could you recommend a ULEZ-compliant car that's good for taking long trips?
"My wife and I are looking for a car that would mainly be used to travel to Europe up to four times a year (France and Czech Republic). Our budget is £6000 and we live in London. It would ideally be ULEZ compliant if it helps with the resale value in a years' time or so. Which model and maybe year would you recommend?"
It's a tricky one as it sounds like a diesel would be ideal for that journey, yet an older diesel could be problematic and won't be ULEZ compliant. With that in mind, we'd probably be looking for a comfortable petrol car. A Honda Civic could be a good option. Your budget will get a 2012 model with the reliable 1.8-litre petrol engine. If you need more space, consider a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V. Neither will be particularly frugal but ought to be reliable.
Answered by Andrew Brady

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

Buy new from £26,279 (list price from £29,130)
Contract hire from £223.34 per month