What's the used Honda CR-V estate like?
SUV might stand for ‘sport utility vehicle’, but the third-generation Honda CR-V very much trades the ‘sport’ part of that description for ‘comfort’. Honda engineered its family SUV with an emphasis on cosseting, so gave it more comfortable seats than the previous-generation CR-V. But Honda didn't compromise on practicality, because it's also very spacious inside.
Engines in early examples consist of a 2.2-litre diesel or a 2.0-litre petrol. Both could be had as either an automatic or a manual, with the diesel being the better option because the additional torque makes for a more relaxing drive. The CR-V received a refresh for the 2015 model year, which tweaked the look of the car slightly but consisted mostly of a new 1.6 i-DTEC diesel, replacing the old 2.2-litre engine, to provide a useful decrease in fuel consumption and emissions.
Honda also realised that some of its customers might not necessarily need four-wheel drive to tow a horse box out of a muddy field, so the CR-V can be had with two-wheel drive – indeed, many of the used examples you’ll find for sale today are so specified.
As you can probably guess, the CR-V was primarily aimed at those who wished to remain on Tarmac rather than go rock-crawling. To that end, the CR-V has accurate steering and pretty decent levels of grip. But, like other more road-biased rivals such as the Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe, rather than the Land Rover Freelander, the ride can be a tad fidgety and there's a bit of body roll in corners due to the tall body.
The CR-V is quite a large car and this is reflected in the interior, which is one of the biggest in the SUV class. The boot is noticeably larger than most of its rivals, except for the five-seat version of the Hyundai Santa Fe (which can also be found in seven-seat form, unlike the CR-V).
The rear seats in the CR-V can also be made to fold flat, although it is let down by the fact that you only get a 60/40 split, whereas the Volvo XC60 and Santa Fe get a more useful 40/20/40 arrangement. The Honda does at least have handles in the boot to drop the rear seats, meaning you don’t have to go into the vehicle to flatten them.
Downsides are mainly focused on the dashboard and infotainment system; it’s just not as easy to use as it is in rivals, blighted by many confusing buttons, with screens that should be clearer and have long-winded menus. If you avoid the S spec CR-Vs and go for the SE, it'll come with useful features such as front and rear parking sensors and a back-up camera; essential on such a large car. SR comes with xenon headlights and a height-adjustable front passenger seat, while top-spec EX CR-Vs have full leather upholstery, a panoramic glass roof and a power tailgate.
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