Honda CR-V was an early entrant into the SUV market when it arrived Downunder 21 years ago. Since then it has pretty well followed the typical path of vehicles in this class. That is, it began as a reasonably serious small 4WD that had an external spare wheel and gradually morphed into a large station wagon with limited off-road ability.
We are looking here at the CR-V Series 4 models from October 2007. These took a major step to being family wagons, with added interior space and slightly softer suspension systems. Most notably they had the choice between front- and all-wheel drive.
These gen-four CR-V’s were upgraded in December 2014, receiving LED daytime running lights, a new grille and front and rear bumpers. Inside, a piano-black finish and chrome surrounds gave it a more upmarket look.
The gen-five Honda CR-V arrived in July 2017. The biggest change was the option of seating for seven. Major features were a 7.0-inch Advanced Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A useful safety feature is Honda’s Driver Attention Monitor for those who would rather focus on their mobile phone than look at the road ahead.
All Honda CR-Vs prior to the gen-five have seating for five. The width of the second-row seat is more suited to two adults than three. There’s good legroom in the second-row seats thanks to the tall styling. Boot space is good and the rear seatbacks fold fully flat to create an excellent load area.
Ride comfort of the Honda CR-V is good and has improved with each new model. Handling is adequate and safe rather than exciting, exactly the way it should be in a vehicle in this class.
Honda CR-V has used a variety of engines: 1.5-litre turbo-petrol (only from 2017) and 2.0-litre and 2.4 litres petrol units as well as 2.2-litre turbo-diesels. Manual and automatic transmissions are available but manuals became increasingly rare and may be hard to sell or trade later.
Spare parts are a little bit more expensive than average, though not outrageously so as Honda put a lot of effort into reducing prices a few years back when their vehicles were getting a bad reputation for pricing.
Honda’s dealer network is long established and efficient. As is often the case you may struggle to find a dealer way outback. CR-Vs aren’t overly complex so in the unlikely event of having problems in the bush you can usually get a local to help.
Insurance rates are normally in the middle of the scale and don’t seem to vary a great deal from one company to another.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Looking at a Honda CR-V that’s never been off-road? Smart move, but keep in mind that carting kids can be just as hard on off-road vehicles as taking them into the bush. So look over the cabin for signs of rough treatment, such as footmarks on the seats and damaged carpet or trim.
If you think a CR-V has spent a nice day on a beach do a full inspection of the underbody and bumper corners and mounts. Also check for sand and salt in the crevices, the latter could lead to severe rust.
Check the engine starts promptly, runs smoothly and doesn’t blow smoke from the exhaust.
Make sure the automatic transmission goes into gear quickly, changes smoothly and doesn’t hunt up and down through the gears when it shouldn’t.
A manual gearbox that has been misused may be crunch on fast downchanges.
Budget on spending from $5000 to $8000 for a 2007 Honda CR-V; $7000 to $11,000 for a 2008 Luxury; $9000 to $14,000 for a 2010 Luxury; $12,000 to $17,000 for 2012 VTi-S or a 2013 VTi; $15,000 to $21,000 for a 2013 VTi-L; $17,000 to $24,000 for a 2013 VTi-LT; $18,000 to $26,000 for a 2014 VTi-L; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2015 VTi-L; $22,000 to $31,000 for a 2016 VTi-L; and $27,000 to $36,000 for a 2017 VTi-L (ADAS).
CAR BUYING TIP
Spend as much time on researching finance and insurance as you do on the vehicles themselves.