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Honda CR-V 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.8
Honda's CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs when it appeared in Australia in 1997, but has recently fallen out of favour. All that could change with the arrival of the fifth generation model.

Honda's CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs, and when it appeared in Australia in 1997 its only real rival was the Toyota RAV4, so it didn't leave us with much choice. It was a case of that one or the other one. 

Now that's all changed, and there are currently more than 20 different mid-sized SUVs under $60k on sale in this market. 

Mazda's CX-5 is the king of the segment in terms of sales, with the RAV4 a close second, but the CR-V has fallen out of favour.

All that could change with the arrival of the fifth generation CR-V. We went along to the Australian launch to see if the CX-5 has anything to be afraid of, and found out a lot more in the process, including that it might be worth waiting before you buy one.

Honda CR-V 2017: VTi (2WD)
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$27,990

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

This fifth-generation CR-V looks like it found a gym and reappeared as a beefed-up version of the last model. The dimensions don't lie – the new CR-V is 11mm longer at 4585mm end-to-end, it’s 6mm taller at 1679mm for the FWD and 4mm more in the 1689mm AWD. 

At 1820mm across, it's 35mm wider and the wheelbase is 40mm longer. Ground clearance is also up by 28mm in the FWD at 198mm, and 38mm in the AWD, with its 208mm.

  • Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars, but the curvy bonnet limits vision in car parks. (VTi model shown) Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars, but the curvy bonnet limits vision in car parks. (VTi model shown)
  • This fifth-generation CR-V looks like it found a gym and reappeared as a beefed-up version of the last model. (VTi model shown) This fifth-generation CR-V looks like it found a gym and reappeared as a beefed-up version of the last model. (VTi model shown)
  • From the back the CR-V looks wide and planted, but busy with all those creases and angles. (VTi model shown) From the back the CR-V looks wide and planted, but busy with all those creases and angles. (VTi model shown)
  • Front seating is comfortable, but the chairs feel too large, and lack bolstering to hold you in place in corners. Front seating is comfortable, but the chairs feel too large, and lack bolstering to hold you in place in corners.
  • The new generation CR-V doesn't come with a manual gearbox, instead buyers will have to go with the CVT auto on all models. (VTi model shown) The new generation CR-V doesn't come with a manual gearbox, instead buyers will have to go with the CVT auto on all models. (VTi model shown)
  • The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and also acts as a multi-angle reversing camera. (VTi model shown) The 7.0-inch touchscreen comes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and also acts as a multi-angle reversing camera. (VTi model shown)

Just look at the pictures, there are those swept back headlights, that huge black and chrome grille, adorned with an oversized Honda badge, the muscular front wheel guards, which seem to push up and make the bonnet bulge. 

From the back the CR-V looks wide and planted, but busy with all those creases and angles. While the profile isn't as sleek as others, such as the CX-5, it’s designed for practicality.

You might not have noticed, but the A-pillars either side of the windscreen are super thin to improve visibility.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

While the new CR-V misses out on a sleek profile, it gains in practicality. Tall, wide doors which open at almost 90 degrees to the side of the car make getting kids (and yourself) in and out a lot easier.  

The tailgate opens high enough for me at 191cm to just walk under, and the low load lip means you don't have to hammer throw your shopping over the bumper into the boot.

Cargo space is 522 litres in the five seater and 472 litres in the seven-seat CR-V, an LED light which can be flicked on and off is great for when you're fumbling for gear in the dark.

That auto tailgate can sense if there are fingers in the way and will stop just as it touches them but before it crushes them – I know I tested it myself, with my own fingers, and all of them are still on my hand. 

The increase in wheelbase means more legroom in the second row and I can sit behind my driving position with about 10cm of space - that's verging on limo territory. 

  • The CR-V scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, however it doesn’t get the advanced safety equipment of the top spec VTi-LX such as AEB. (VTi-S model shown) The CR-V scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, however it doesn’t get the advanced safety equipment of the top spec VTi-LX such as AEB. (VTi-S model shown)
  • The VTi-S sits on the second rung up in the CR-V range with the front-wheel drive version listing for $33,290, and the all-wheel drive listing for $35,490. (VTi-S model shown) The VTi-S sits on the second rung up in the CR-V range with the front-wheel drive version listing for $33,290, and the all-wheel drive listing for $35,490. (VTi-S model shown)
  • All CR-Vs share the same i140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder. (VTi-S model shown) All CR-Vs share the same i140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder. (VTi-S model shown)
  • The centre console storage bin is excellent – you can configure it several ways. (VTi-S model shown) The centre console storage bin is excellent – you can configure it several ways. (VTi-S model shown)
  • The CVT drones on and is joined by quite a bit of road noise from the tyres filtering into the cabin. (VTi-S model shown) The CVT drones on and is joined by quite a bit of road noise from the tyres filtering into the cabin. (VTi-S model shown)

The third row in the seven-seat VTi-L is cramped for me, and my knees are tucked under my chin, but your kids will love it - unless they're giants.

Climbing into the third row isn't too much of a challenge – the footpath-side seat slides and flips forward to open up a little pathway through to the back. 

Seven-seat mid-sized SUVs are becoming more common now – there's the Nissan X-Trail, Skoda Kodiaq, and the Volkswagen Tiguan AllSpace will be with us soon, too. 

Each row has two cupholders (yup, even in the VTi-L's back seats) there are small bottle holders in the rear doors and bigger ones up front.

The centre console storage bin is excellent – you can configure it several ways.

The lock and go function is excellent, too – walk two metres away from the car for more than two seconds and it will lock itself. You only have to touch the handle to unlock it again.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

Prices have gone up… and down, depending on which grade of CR-V we're talking about. The entry-level VTi lists for $30,690 (a $900 increase), the front-wheel drive (FWD) VTi-S above it is $33,290 (a $1000 jump) while the all-wheel drive is $35,490 (up $200). The VTi-L has dropped by $300 to $38,990 and the top-of-the-range VTi-LX is down $1500 at $44,290.

Honda says it's added between $2600-$4350 of value across the range with this new model, which sounds awfully nice of them, and going by the healthy standard features list, and in comparison to its rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, Nissan X-Trail, and Toyota RAV4, the value for money is good.

Standard on the base-spec VTi is a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multi-angle reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control,  17-inch alloy wheels, push-button ignition and proximity unlocking.

  • Honda's CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs and is now on its fifth generation. (VTi-L model shown) Honda's CR-V is one of the original compact SUVs and is now on its fifth generation. (VTi-L model shown)
  • The VTi-L’s third row and a total of seven seats makes this grade unique in the line-up where all other trim levels have only five seats. (VTi-L model shown) The VTi-L’s third row and a total of seven seats makes this grade unique in the line-up where all other trim levels have only five seats. (VTi-L model shown)
  • Standard interior features include a leather seats, panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control, push-button ignition and proximity unlocking. (VTi-L model shown) Standard interior features include a leather seats, panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, sat nav, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control, push-button ignition and proximity unlocking. (VTi-L model shown)
  • You’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts for child seats across the second row. (VTi-L model shown) You’ll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts for child seats across the second row. (VTi-L model shown)
  • The third row in the seven-seat VTi-L is perfect for kids. (VTi-L model shown) The third row in the seven-seat VTi-L is perfect for kids. (VTi-L model shown)
  • There is 472 litres in the seven-seat CR-V. (VTi-L model shown) There is 472 litres in the seven-seat CR-V. (VTi-L model shown)

Stepping up to the VTi-S adds front and rear parking sensors, power tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The VTi-L is the FWD seven-seater and gets all of the VTi-S's features and adds a panoramic sunroof, auto wipers, and heated front seats with the driver's being power adjustable. 

King of the range is the VTi-LX, which picks up all the VTi-L's gear and adds leather-appointed seats, LED headlights, tinted windows and an advanced safety equipment package which includes AEB.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

Simple. One engine for the whole range. It's a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol which makes 140kW/240Nm. That's not a great deal of grunt, but it’s more than the same engine makes in the Honda Civic, and at no point did it feel like it needed more oomph during our hilly drive. 

There's no diesel engine in the line-up any more, or a manual gearbox.

The automatic transmission is a CVT. They're prone to making the engine drone loudly without producing much in the way of acceleration. Honda's CVT is one of the best I’ve encountered, though.

Do you need an AWD CR-V? Well, the CR-V is not an off-roader, the on-demand AWD is really for a bit of extra traction and stability in the wet or on dirt and gravel. My advice is to get it if you can afford it and not worry about the fuel bills. The CVT is so good at being economical the difference is almost zilch. Read on to find just how much zilch.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Despite my gripes with CVTs, they are super fuel efficient. In the FWD VTi Honda says it'll consume 91RON at a rate of 7.0L/100km (we recorded 8.9L/100km) then step up to 7.3L/100km in the VTi-S FWD, then 7.4L/100km in the AWD version. The seven seat VTi-L is also officially 7.3L/100km (we recorded 8.3L/100km) and the AWD VTi-LX is 7.4L/100km.

 

What's it like to drive?   7/10

We drove three of the four grades of CR-V at its Australian launch – the base spec VTi, and the VTi-L seven seater, which are FWD, and the AWD only VTi-LX.

Honestly, there is next to no perceptible difference in the way any of them drives, apart from the AWD being more sure-footed on gravel roads.

That engine is a good thing. It's small, but delivers a decent output. Our drive route included hilly country, and it didn't feel underpowered, at all.

The CVT drones on and is joined by quite a bit of road noise from the tyres filtering into the cabin, but the ride is comfortable and the handling impressive for an SUV in this price range.

  • The VTi-LX is the king of the CR-V range and lists for $44,290. (VTi-LX model shown) The VTi-LX is the king of the CR-V range and lists for $44,290. (VTi-LX model shown)
  • The VTi-LX comes with all the goodies such as front and rear parking sensors, power tailgate, proximity unlocking and multi-angle reversing camera just to name to a few. (VTi-LX model shown) The VTi-LX comes with all the goodies such as front and rear parking sensors, power tailgate, proximity unlocking and multi-angle reversing camera just to name to a few. (VTi-LX model shown)
  • The VTi-LX comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (VTi-LX model shown) The VTi-LX comes with 18-inch alloy wheels. (VTi-LX model shown)
  • Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars. (VTi-LX model shown) Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars. (VTi-LX model shown)
  • The same 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine is shared across the range and produces the 140kW/240Nm of power. (VTi-LX model shown) The same 1.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine is shared across the range and produces the 140kW/240Nm of power. (VTi-LX model shown)

Visibility is excellent around those super thin A-pillars, but the curvy bonnet limits vision in car parks.

Front seating is comfortable, but the chairs feel too large, and lack bolstering to hold you in place in corners. The back seats are flatter and harder.

All models have excellent brake response, thanks to and electronic brake booster system. And steering is quick compared to the old model, with fewer turns of the wheel required to turn the same distance.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

Okay, first up, the new CR-V isn't fitted with Takata airbags, which are the ones at the centre of the current worldwide recall.

The new CR-V has not been given an ANCAP rating yet, but the previous model did score the maximum five-stars.

What you should know, too, is that only the top-of-the-range VTi-LX grade comes with advanced safety equipment such as AEB, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda told us at the launch that the advanced safety tech would soon be available on all grades, but could not tell us when. So, you might like to wait until it arrives on more grades.

You'll find two ISOFIX points and three top tether mounts for child seats across the second row, and all grades of CR-V have a full sized spare wheel.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

Servicing is recommended at intervals of 12 months or 10,000km and is capped at $295 per service all the way up to 100,000km.

All CR-Vs also come with Honda's five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Verdict

In the mid-sized SUV world the X-Trail is known for being super practical, the Mazda CX-5 for its looks and the way it drives, and now the new CR-V slides into the gap between them. Great value, practical and good to drive, the sweet spot in the range is absolutely the VTi-S; well equipped, with the option of AWD. Keep your eyes peeled though for when Honda updates the base grades with advanced safety kit. We'll let you know when it does.

Is the CR-V going to steal you away from the Mazda CX-5? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$33,790
Based on 95 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$23,990
Highest Price
$39,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
LE (4x2) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $20,900 – 26,510 2017 HONDA CR-V 2017 LE (4x2) Pricing and Specs
LE (4x4) 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $23,650 – 29,150 2017 HONDA CR-V 2017 LE (4x4) Pricing and Specs
VTi (2WD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $27,990 – 28,990 2017 HONDA CR-V 2017 VTi (2WD) Pricing and Specs
VTi (4x2) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $23,990 – 26,895 2017 HONDA CR-V 2017 VTi (4x2) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.8
Design8
Practicality9
Price and features8
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety7
Ownership9
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$25,490

Lowest price, based on 69 car listings in the last 6 months

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