Used Honda CR-V 4x4 2002 - 2006 review

Category: Large SUV

It's one of the best 4x4s (except off-road). It's spacious and practical, too

Honda CR-V 4x4 (02 - 06)
  • Honda CR-V 4x4 (02 - 06)
  • Honda CR-V 4x4 (02 - 06)
Used Honda CR-V 4x4 2002 - 2006 review
Star rating

What's the used Honda CR-V estate like?

The CR-V is more a pumped-up estate than out-and-out off-roader. In fact, 4WD only kicks in when it's needed, so for the bulk of the time, you're driving a front-wheel-drive car.

In other words, and as Honda will admit, this is basically a road car with some (very limited) off-road ability. That means, with no awkward compromises to strike between its on- and off-road abilities, the car can concentrate on one thing - and so it does, to tremendous effect.


It's one of the best 4x4s (except off-road). It's spacious and practical, too

  • It's impressive on-road, extremely roomy and well equipped
  • It's not great off-road, and the part-time four-wheel-drive system kicks in too often

On Tarmac, the CR-V is a fine drive, with the emphasis on comfort. That does mean it's not quite as sharp as a Toyota RAV4, but there are no complaints about its smooth ride.

Also excellent is its cabin space - in fact, no other contemporary mid-sized 4x4 is bigger. It will happily double as a family car and, with sliding, split-folding rear seats, it even has something of an MPV's flexibility.

Ownership cost

What used Honda CR-V estate will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Honda CR-V estate?

The CR-V isn't the cheapest 4x4 to buy used, but at least there's a certain feeling of quality to justify the prices. Prices are close to the Land Rover Freelander, but cheaper than the Toyota RAV4.

For fuel economy, it's one of the best in its class. The 2.0-litre petrol engine returns 31mpg - considerably better than the 1.8-litre Freelander and only just behind the RAV4. The diesel manages 42.2mpg, well ahead of the Freelander and even beating the diesel RAV4.

Servicing costs also undercut its main rivals', but insurance does it no favours. It's in at least group 11, when the Land Rover and Toyota are generally a group lower across the range.

Average repair costs for the CR-V are quite cheap by class standards - a little less than for the RAV4, and much less the Freelander. Dealer labour rates are also good, but at independents they're quite expensive.

Our recommendations

Which used Honda CR-V estate should I buy?

The CR-V has never been a particularly extensive range, and it was only in early 2005 that a second engine, the 2.2-litre diesel, joined the range. Until then, all you could have was a 2.0-litre petrol.

Mind you, even after that, the petrol remained the best buy. Sure, the diesel is more fuel-efficient and delivers much stronger pull at low revs, but its refinement is a real disappointment, especially given how good it is in the Accord - and, because the diesel costs more to buy, you'll need to do a lot of miles before it makes financial sense.

Likewise, you only have a limited choice of trims, but there's no need to spend more than on the basic SE. This has air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and good safety kit. Sport upgrades the air-conditioning to climate control and adds alloy wheels, while Executive adds leather upholstery and sat-nav, but they're not worth the extra expense.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Honda CR-V estate?