It’s been a little over 12 months since we drove the previous Honda CR-V.

Introduced to Australia in 1997, CR-V has grown to become Honda’s most successful
model globally.

Released in July last year the sixth-generation of the five- and seven-seat SUV, like its
predecessors, is targeted at families.

This time around the styling is more sophisticated and some might say sporty, with
particular attention to the interior.

As Japanese car makers fight to stave off the onslaught of increasingly better Chinese
competitors, Honda was one of the first companies to take the high ground.

It cut costs, discarded dealers and moved to a fixed price, ‘haggle-free’ sales system that
saw product lines rationalised and the emergence of a more premium lineup, but with a
price tag to match.

What else could it do?

Sales are down eight per cent year on year, but this figure does not reflect the higher profit
margins that the new structure must be generating.

CR-V is the company’s best-seller here, with 8123 sales last year, but this year’s sales are
down more than three per cent — despite the introduction of an all-new model.

Time will tell.

Repositioning of the front roof pillars and relocation of the side mirrors to the doors, have
achieved a sportier, raked look and better forward visibility.

There’s six colours and seven variants from which to choose: VTi X, VTi X7, VTi L, VTi L7,
VTI L AWD, VTi LX AWD and e:HEV RS. The latter is a petrol-electric, self-charging

Prices start from $44,500 driveaway for the five-seat 1.5-litre VTi X with an auto. The VTi
X7 (same model with seven seats) is priced from $46,800.

Our test vehicle the VTi LX AWD is priced from $57,000 driveaway. Sitting one step above
and at the top-of-the-line hybrid e:HEV RS is $59,900 – or another $2900.

At 4694mm, it’s 59mm longer than before, with a 40mm longer wheelbase that provides
15mm more rear legroom.

Entry-level VTi X comes with 17-inch wheels, premium fabric seats, two-zone climate
control with rear air vents, powered driver seat, smart keyless entry with push button start
and walk-away automatic door locking.

There’s also a power-operated tailgate, adaptive LED headlights, auto lights (but not
wipers), front and rear park sensors, 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, eight-speaker
audio and wireless phone charging.

VTi-L adds 18-inch alloys, leather trim, ‘i-two zone climate control’, heated front seats,
driver-seat memory, powered front passenger seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and
gear shifter, auto dimming rear view mirror, and auto rain-sensing wipers.

LX jumps to 19-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof and 12-speaker Bose audio.

CR-V comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, plus 5-year roadside assistance.

Uber drivers take note however because the warranty reverts to 5 years and 140,000km if
the car is used for a commercial purpose (which includes rideshare).

Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000km, with the first five visits capped at $199.
Variants with satellite navigation receive five years of complimentary over the air map

Infotainment consists of a 9.0-inch colour touchscreen, eight-speaker audio, active noise
control, Bluetooth, AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android
Auto, wireless smartphone charging pad plus connection to the Honda Connect app.

VTi-L adds satellite navigation and a Smart KeyCard.

There’s USB-A and -C ports in front, along with a 12 volt/180W outlet, with another two
USB-C ports in the back and a 12-volt outlet in the luggage area.

The 1.5-litre turbocharged four carries over. While it produces exactly the same amount of
power and torque, we’re told it has been significantly revised.

Full power of 140kW arrives at 6000 rpm, 500 rpm later in the rev range, while maximum
torque of 240Nm is generated 300 rpm earlier – between 1700 and 5000 rpm.

In comparison the hybrid with two electric motors delivers 135kW and 335Nm, the latter
figure the more significant as it is produced from get-go — between 0 and 2000 rpm.

Transmission is via a CVT continuously variable unit with seven steps or gears that are
controlled by change paddles.

In the hybrid these paddles have been repurposed to control the level of regenerative

CR-V is yet to be rated by ANCAP for safety.

An improved Honda Sensing safety system features a total of 11 airbags, with a new
front camera and radar system.

Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure has been updated to
distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front, side, and rear of the vehicle.

There’s also forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane
departure and lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, road departure mitigation, adaptive
cruise control, low-speed braking control, traffic sign recognition and high beam support.

VTi-L and above add blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert with e:HEV RS also
getting LED active cornering lights and adaptive driving beam.

However, there’s no head-up display or 360-degree camera.

Most of the improvements appear to be in the styling area, both inside and out.

Honda interiors have always been functional but cheap and the CR-V is a definite step
forward in this regard, although it still falls short of premium.

The previous model looked pretty good. This one looks slicker and more mainstream, with
its black honeycomb grille and slitted LED headlights.

The tail lights remain recognisably the same.

Inside, the instrument binnacle is the same general shape as before, but the rest of the
dash has been redesigned with a freestanding touchscreen and long thin air vent that
spans the breadth of the cabin — a la Civic.

In this grade, the instrument panel is fully digital, but retains the look and feel of an
analogue unit, with twin circular dials for tacho and speed.

You can’t change the appearance, at least not easily.

Our LX AWD uses a claimed 7.7L/100km of standard unleaded, while they reckon the top-
of-the-line hybrid e:HEV RS is good for 5.5L/100km (not exactly a game changer).
The turbo produces 176g/100km of CO2, while the hybrid is rated at 125g/100km (worth

VTEC variable valve timing and lift control have been added to the exhaust side of the
twin-cam head to improve fuel efficiency.

That said it still uses more fuel and produces more carbon than the equivalent model that
we tested 12 months ago which was good for 7.4L/100km.

Improving acceleration is a high-efficiency, high-response turbocharger and low pressure-
loss turbocharger piping.

Engine noise has also been significantly reduced with a new high-rigidity crankshaft, oil
pan, and a new intake cover.

Further noise reduction comes from noise-absorbing engine mounts and a new muffler

In order to reduce belt noise, the thickness of the transmission casing has been increased,
with added ribs to increase case rigidity and suppress vibration.

For the sixth generation the Real Time AWD system is quieter and features an improved
control module with increased processor speed, improving handling
performance as well as traction management in slippery conditions.

Ride quality is where it should be for the target buyer of this car and that is middle of the

You could argue it is a little soft, with too much body roll when you punt it — but remember
this is a vehicle designed for comfort rather than being driven hard.

The steering is light and reflects this approach nor do the brakes require much effort.
In keeping with its AWD status, this model gets a 10mm lift in ground clearance to a
creditable 208mm which means you can safely tackle rougher dirt roads.

CR-V features up to three driving modes: Normal, Econ which reduces throttle and
transmission sensitivity as well as air conditioning output to help preserve fuel efficiency,
and Sport mode that enhances throttle response and engine sound.

Alas, the e:HEV is the only grade that gets Sport mode. Gotta love marketing.

But dropping the transmission into the ‘S’ position acts as a defacto sport mode, keeping
engine revs to around the 3000 mark where the car performs best.

Significant improvements to the CR-V’s structural stiffness, including a redesigned front
sub-frame, benefit its ride quality, handling, and collision safety protection.

The interior has been optimised to make the cabin and cargo feel more spacious in both
five- and seven- seat variants, with the second row able to slide, providing more legroom if
As well as 15mm more legroom, the rear seat now offers 16 different recline settings
instead of two and is able to recline a further 10.5 degrees.

Honda claims the third row in seven-seat variants can comfortably accommodate 170cm
tall occupants, with access via a single action lever on top of the second-row seat.

In terms of fuel consumption, we were getting 8.7L/100km after more than 440km of mixed

Despite its immense practicality, new CR-V lacks the fun factor.

As soon as you start pushing hard, the wagon starts to feel underdone, revving for not
much result.

The CVT also becomes noisy and starts to slur, and on one occasion failed to drop back
after rapid deceleration – a little like throttle overrun.

For an extra three grand the hybrid could stack up.

On the other hand, it’s quiet and reasonably comfortable and an excellent fit for families
looking for a traditional wagon with value in mind.

Looks: 7.5
Performance: 6
Safety: 8
Thirst: 7
Practicality: 8
Comfort: 7.5
Tech: 7.5
Value: 7.5
Overall: 7.4


CR-V 1.5T VTi X 2WD: $44,500
CR-V 1.5T VTi L 2WD: $48,800
CR-V 1.5T VTi X7 2WD: $46,800
CR-V 1.5T VTi L7 2WD: $53,000
CR-V 1.5T VTi L AWD: $51,300
CR-V 1.5T VTi LX AWD: $57,000
CR-V 2.0 e:HEV RS $59,900
Note: These are non-negotiable driveaway prices.

Honda CR-V VTi LX AWD five-seat 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol five-door wagon
Capacity: 1.5 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1700-5000 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.7 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 176 g/km

Continuously variable transmission (CVT), front wheel-drive

Length: 4704 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1866 mm
Height: 1691 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1719 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 57 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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