What is it?

The original Honda CR-V invented the compact crossover 16 years ago. Now, it’s back with a fourth-generation hitting U.S. showrooms before year-end, and due to follow on this side of the Atlantic next year.

Few models are more eagerly anticipated. The segment is among the market’s fastest-growing, but the Honda CR-V is also a critical product for the manufacturer which took a critical drubbing for the latest U.S. version of its mainstay Civic – and which has struggled to maintain momentum as the result of production cuts caused by the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

What’s it like?

Honda can crow about the 2012 CR-V’s excellent use of space, front and rear with lots of useful storage nooks. Then there are the elegant new 1-touch fold-down rear seats.

On the downside, the interior mimics the latest Civic with too much hard plastic that suggests over-zealous cost-cutting. The exterior is reasonably attractive – from most angles – though the back of the greenhouse is a bit awkward.

The 2.4-litre inline-four engine is smooth and responsive, delivering excellent fuel economy for a compact crossover, even the all-wheel-drive model reaching 30mpg (US) on the motorway.

But Honda seems to have taken a ‘good enough’ approach, opting for port fuel injection where the competition offers direct injection, and a 5-speed gearbox where 6, 7, even 8-speeds are becoming the norm. The maker insists it doesn’t need to spend the extra money to top the rest but what happened to the Honda that once led the world in powertrain innovation

Our single biggest complaint covers the Honda CR-V’s new electric power steering system. It may save fuel but it is disconnected from the road and requires too much sawing as you work your way around the corners. Too bad, as the overall ride is reasonably pleasant with relatively little body roll.

The CR-V is one of Honda’s most consistent models, with few variations between US and European models – unlike Civic, which is completely different. However, there could still be differences when the car appears on this side of the Atlantic, particularly to the suspension and steering settings.

Should I buy one?

Current owners will likely appreciate the functionality and efficiency but the 2012 Honda CR-V will face a tough challenge regaining its sales lead from competitors like the equally all-new Ford Escape (to be sold as the Kuga in Europe).

-Paul A. Eisenstein

Honda CR-V

Price: £21,000-30,000 (est); Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: na; Economy: 31mpg (est); CO2: 202g/km; Kerbweight: 1500kg; Engine type: 2354cc, four-cylinder, inline; Power: 185hp; Torque: 163lb ft; Gearbox: five-speed auto

Join the debate

Comments
25

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

Looks like sort of VALVO crap xc 60 or so.. :) Nice interiour though. Lacks more powerful than 2.2 150 hp diesel, gas 2.0 is not appropriate.

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

Looks better than before, but what with its much more capable rivals, I'm not sure that the new CR-V is going to be too much of a success. I'm sure it will reattract buyers of older CR-Vs, as Honda owners are a loyal old bunch, and why not? Honda's are practically bombproof.

src

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
The original Honda CR-V invented the compact crossover 16 years ago. Now, it’s back with a fourth-generation hitting U.S. showrooms before year-end, and due to follow on this side of the Atlantic next year

Honda did not invent the compact crossover, The Toyota RAV4 was the first compact crossover, The RAV4 was launched a year before the CRV. I bought a 3 Door RAV4 GX in June 1994 when the RAV4 was launched and then in June 1995 the 5 Door RAV4 was launched and then the Honda CRV was launched in 1995 in Japan. Europe did not get the first CRV until 1997.

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

Fidji wrote:
Looks better than before

Well, I've got to disagree there. It looks awful.

Fidji wrote:
Honda owners are a loyal old bunch

Not this one! When faced with styling that poor and compromises everywhere we'll be going elsewhere in 2 years.


Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

bomb wrote:

Fidji wrote:
Looks better than before

Well, I've got to disagree there. It looks awful.

I'd still say that it's an improvement.

bomb wrote:

Fidji wrote:
Honda owners are a loyal old bunch

Not this one! When faced with styling that poor and compromises everywhere we'll be going elsewhere in 2 years

You've been warned Honda. Your market research clearly isn't up to scratch.

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

i think it looks much better than the current car, but until its tried with a powertain for Europe there isnt much point in judging it. Another worry has to be Honda UKs attitude towards prices, which of late appears very optomistic

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

artill wrote:
Another worry has to be Honda UKs attitude towards prices, which of late appears very optomistic

Agreed. The new Civic is ludicrously expensive for a car of its class, and you can now spend over £20k on a well-specced Jazz! In contrast, this CR-V will probably equate to £40k in top spec. Frightening!

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

That rear styling is almost plagiarised from the XC60.

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

This is another poorly thought out Honda design.Its not as bad as the Civic but that would take some beating.The Toyota RAV4 was the first (src got it spot on) and still better than the Crv in every way imo.

Re: Honda CR-V 2.4 4x4

2 years 45 weeks ago

I think Honda has got itself into a complete mess! After the deeply miserable Jazz of two years ago which became made just a little less awful followed by the dated, awkward Hovis loaf Civic which has just been replaced by something looking even worse, we now get a CRV that has managed the impossible...it's got desperately worse! What was already a very oddly styled car with two squashed up fronts at the same time and a glasshouse that just didn't fit the car at all, we now get a version that looks like a Korean mistake from 1999! This could be the Sassyong BooBoo for 2000!! What a frumpy, tired and dull car finished in "interesting maroon" with a 2.4 petrol engine that nobody will actually want! HONDA...FOR GOODNESS SAKE WAKE UP!!!! Fire your so called "designers" right now because whatever you think, they are dreaming up well off target rubbish!!

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Can the Honda CR-V bring anything new to a crowded arena?

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