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 Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
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.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Honda range

Driven this week

  • Skoda Karoq
    First Drive
    28 April 2017
    The Yeti has morphed into the Karoq for its second generation, and this early drive reveals a solid, practical small SUV that could challenge the class best
  • Opel Ampera-e
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    Opel's second-generation Ampera is smaller than the first, and now purely electric. It's also very capable with a remarkable range
  • Lotus Elise Sprint
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    The latest incarnation of the Elise may be out of its depth on track, but on the public road it is probably the purest version since the original
  • First Drive
    26 April 2017
    The compromises of adding a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the 5 Series make the new 530e iPerformance tough to recommend
  • 2017 BMW 440i Coupé
    First Drive
    26 April 2017
    The assumption was that a few minor tweaks to the 2017 BMW 440i Coupé wouldn't make much of a difference. It turns out they do