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Honda CR-V (2012-2018) Buying Guide

Honda CR-V (2012-2018)
Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Honda CR-V (2012-2018)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

Honda was one of the first car makers to offer a compact SUV, with its original CR-V of 1997. That came hot on the heels of Toyota which had created the segment with its RAV4 three years earlier. So by the time the fourth-generation CR-V appeared in 2012 you'd expect Honda to have got the hang of things, and sure enough here was a car that looked stylish, was refined and offered excellent efficiency into the bargain. Despite its upright back and boxy looks there was no seven-seat option but that just meant that there was ample room for five and a big boot, so if practicality is key the CR-V should be very appealing. In typical Honda fashion the CR-V has proved to be reliable and thanks to generous equipment levels - especially on the posher editions - this is a car that's luxurious too. Efficient engines and part-time four-wheel drive (or front-wheel drive) means fuel bills tend to be manageable, but servicing costs can be high, so do your sums before buying.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Efficient engines
Smart looks
Part-time 4WD
Spacious cabin
Build quality
Very safe
Made in the UK
Dynamically mediocre
Firm ride
Five seats only
High running costs
Key Dates 
10/12The fourth-generation CR-V reaches showrooms. Built in the UK, there's a choice of 2.0-litre petrol (i-VTEC) or 2.2-litre diesel (i-DTEC) engines. Both cars get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard buit can be specified with a five-speed auto.
10/13There's now a 1.6-litre diesel engine available.
02/14The Black and White Editions bring sportier exterior styling, 19-inch wheels and extra standard equipment.
03/15A facelifted CR-V arrives with a nine-speed automatic option for the updated 1.6 i-DTEC engine. There are new driver assistance systems while the nose and tail designs are refreshed too.
01/16The Black Edition is revived (but not the White Edition), with much the same benefits as before.
  • All of these CR-Vs come with part-time four-wheel drive so you have the efficiency of front-wheel drive until the wheels start to slip. The petrol engine came in FWD or 4WD forms; the diesel came only in 4WD guise.
  • The diesel engine can suffer from a noticeable lack of smoothness at idle, but as soon as the revs are increased the roughness disappears. An ECU update fixes things by increasing the revs at idle.
  • The halogen headlights are poor, largely because of the reflector design - but the xenon lights are much better.
  • The tyre pressure monitoring system can behave erratically, usually because of a fault with one of the sensors.
  • The CR-V is a popular (and accomplished) tow car. If your potential purchase has been used for towing make sure the clutch isn't slipping and that the suspension isn't tired; the latter will result in a very bouncy ride.

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