Used Honda CR-V 4x4 1997 - 2002 review

Category: Large SUV

It's a fine family car - just stick to the Tarmac

      Used Honda CR-V 4x4 1997 - 2002 review
      Star rating

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

      Along with the Toyota RAV4, the CR-V was one of the first so-called soft-roaders - cars with the looks and image of an off-roader, but which were set up more for on-road use.

      In fact, never mind low-ratio gears, the CR-V doesn't even have permanent four-wheel drive. Normally, it drives just the front wheels, and four-wheel drive only kicks in when the system detects the front wheels slipping.


      It's a fine family car - just stick to the Tarmac

      • The CR-V drives well on the road
      • It's also very reliable and spacious inside
      • It has limited off-road ability, and there's too much grey plastic in the cabin

      As such, the CR-V has only very limited ability away from Tarmac, but on the road it's one of the best of its type, with good handling and a decent ride.

      As far as practicality goes, the CR-V makes a fine case as an alternative to an estate car. Apart from using too much drab plastic, the cabin is hard to fault, with good space in the front and more rear legroom than in a RAV4.

      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?

      As a used car, the CR-V costs almost exactly the same as the Land Rover Freelander and RAV4, and of its obvious rivals only the Subaru Forester is cheaper - and even then, by only a few hundred pounds.

      As for running costs, the CR-V looks pretty good. Routine maintenance costs are lower than on a Freelander or a RAV4, and its 29.1mpg on the combined cycle is also very respectable.

      The CR-V sits in groups 9-11 for insurance, which is no worse than any of its rivals and better than the Forester. Similarly, in the unlikely event that you need unscheduled work on your CR-V, there should be no nasty shocks. Warranty Direct tells us that repairs on Hondas cost no more than average (although some suspension and engine repairs on the CR-V can be dear), while labour rates at dealers are among the lowest.

      Our recommendations

      Which used Honda CR-V estate should I buy?

      Honda keeps things nice and simple when it comes to engine choice in this original CR-V - there's only a 2.0-litre petrol engine. However, you're better off buying a model from after March 1999 (T-reg), when a new version of the engine, with more power and slightly better fuel economy, was introduced.

      As the same time, a higher-spec trim (ES Executive) was also introduced, with a CD multichanger and leather upholstery as standard. However, this trim remained on sale for a little over two years before being dropped, leaving the base LS or ES trims.

      We'd always favour the cheaper, better-selling LS over the dearer ES as the extra kit (including alloys and heated mirrors) isn't worth the extra money. Again it's worth buying a model from after March 1999, as air-con (previously an option) became standard from then on.


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