• If the new CR-V looks more crossover than old-guard SUV it may be because the roofline is 30mm lower than before
  • The pinched nose treatment is intended to present a bolder face to the world
  • These 18-inch wheels are the biggest you'll see on any CR-V
  • The CR-V has a much less steep A-pillar, thanks to the windscreen being 60mm further upwards
  • The tapered side glass is edged in chrome and draws your eye away from the CR-V's squarer roofline
  • For a manufacturer perceived as an almost-premium brand, Honda has shown a disappointing lack of flair with the CR-V's cabin
  • There is ample accommodation on offer in the rear with no obstructive transmission tunnel
  • Despite the lower roofline, the boot has grown in size and is improved with a lower lip line
  • At entry level S-trim, you'll have only an AM/FM radio, USB connection and a CD player to keep you occupied
  • The Honda finds good traction, grip and braking stability in the wet
  • Body control is not great and not bad, simply average
  • The CR-V's drivetrain is more efficient, more sophisticated and lighter than its forebear
  • The CR-V feels like a front-wheel-drive car for the vast majority of the time
  • Turn the ESP off and the the CR-V can become surprisingly mobile at the rear
  • No longer one of the class elite. A competent but unremarkable SUV

You may remember that the previous Honda CR-V was one of our favourite soft-roaders. The reason was that, for all its SUV-credentials, it didn’t feel like one when you drove it.

On the contrary, the manner in which it attacked the open road felt closer to that of a conventional car. So here was one recreational off-roader that offered the configuration that makes these cars so popular in the marketplace, with the driver appeal to make it work properly out there in the real world, too.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The Honda CRV's ride is acceptable, but there's no great finesse

No longer. We will not be the first to remark that Honda seems at present to have lost something of is once enormous engineering mojo, and you can feel it in the CR-V as well as anywhere else.

By the somewhat modest standards of its class, it doesn't actually have a bad chassis, but it is disappointing, particularly if you’re stepping into it from a car of the previous generation. Nor do you need an open and empty road to feel it.

The ride quality no longer sits near the top of the class. Instead, the car feels like someone charged with reducing development costs has put a big red pen through the previous model's shock absorber specification and mandated something rather more prosaic instead.

So now it fidgets a little and offers body control that’s merely fit for purpose rather than genuinely impressive. It rides like most other SUVs do: well enough, but nothing like as well as a properly developed conventional saloon or estate.

It’s not much fun to drive hard, either. The steering is still accurate, but the car’s poise is now nothing special and its attitude to be thrown around is now one of benign indifference rather than positive enthusiasm. Is that why people buy such cars? Clearly not, but it was once a clear differentiator for the CR-V and we’d not be Autocar if we let that pass without comment.

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