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 and one of the best used SUVs you can get your hands on. 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.

If you're looking for the latest version, check out our 2018-on Honda CR-V review

Ask Honest John

My Honda CR-V keys won't open the door manually, what is the problem?

"I’ve just bought a 2018 (2017 model) Honda CR-V after your glowing report. It only came with 1 key, with remote central locking buttons There is one keyhole in the drivers door, but whilst the key turns, it doesn’t unlock the door. The manual is unclear. I’ve approached 2 dealers about a replacement key but both seemed a bit vacant about the process. Can you help? "
If the physical key that comes with the vehicle does not open the door but starts the car, it may be that the door lock has been replaced at some point. Rectifying this situation may require replacing both the door lock and the ignition barrel, which could be an expensive process, as it may not be possible to find a door lock to match the ignition.
Answered by David Ross

What mud & snow tyres would you recommend for a Honda CR-V?

"I have a 2013 Honda CR-V currently on size 225/60R18 (100V) tyres. Can you recommend an appropriate mud and snow tyre for me please?"
We would suggest looking at the Yokohama BluEarth Winter V906 or the Hankook Winter I'cept Evo 2 SUV, as they offer good performance at a reasonable price. The Continental Winter Contact TS870 offers even better performance in terms of fuel consumption and noise, but is considerably more expensive.
Answered by David Ross

At what age should you replace tyres?

"I have a 2015 Honda CR-V which still has its original tyres. They passed easily at the last MoT with a tread of between 3-4mm. Externally there is no damage. I recall reading somewhere that old tyres should be replaced. What is your opinion please?"
The maximum recommended lifespan for a tyre in respect of age is ten years, although once a tyre is six or more years old it is worth keeping a closer eye on them. As tyres age the rubber becomes less compliant and is more prone to cracking, although if there were cracks appearing we would expect this to be picked up by an MoT test.
Answered by David Ross

Should I replace my tyres on my car after seven years?

"I have a 2015 Honda CR-V, which has done almost 36,000 miles. It still has the original tyres which were manufactured in Dec 2014. The car was sold in January 2015, so the tyres have been in use for about 7.5 years. They all have between 3.5mm - 4mm tread left. I have heard that you should replace tyres when they are this old. Is this correct or just an old tale? What would you advise?"
There is no actual age limit for car tyres but they are made from organic material and (like all things organic) have a limited lifespan. Most manufacturers recommend tyres at 10 years, regardless of condition or tread. This is because the rubber polymers weaken over time and the chemicals dry out, which makes the tyre hard and liable to cracking. The tyres are inspected as part of the annual MoT and service, which will give you a good idea of their condition. If these reports are fine then you may have a year to two of life left in your car's tyres. But I would suggest that you keep an eye on their condition and inspect them regularly for signs of damage.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

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