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Honda CR-V: Fresh new look for the world's biggest-selling SUV

Honda boasts its CR-V model is the biggest-selling SUV on the planet.

By Paul Connolly

As the all-new fifth generation model lands in showrooms, we check it out.

What's new?

Honda's all-new Honda CR-V has just appeared for sale in fifth generation guise. It features petrol-electric hybrid versions - a first in this model - seven-seat models, and improved interior quality, refinement and spaciousness.There's also a new chassis aimed at delivering a more engaging driving experience and comfort, plus genuine off-road capability as well, according to Honda.

Added to this is are better engine options and a raft of new tech, meaning this model should be the best yet.

It's hard to under estimate the CRV-s importance to Honda - it has sold some 3.5 million models globally in the past five years alone.

Born in 1995, the CR-V is Honda's mid-range utility vehicle, slotting above the smaller HR-V.

Perhaps unusually, Honda doesn't offer a larger SUV in the UK, although it does elsewhere. This is possibly because they believe the CR-V is big enough by UK standards - and they might be right as it's very roomy.

Looks and design

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2018 Honda CR-V VTEC TURBO Petrol
 

The new model gets a fresh exterior design, with broader, more muscular wheel arches, sharper contours on the bonnet and rear quarters, as well as the latest Honda family 'face' with its signature headlight graphic.

Thinner A-pillars, sculpted front and rear bumpers, and under-engine and under-floor covers are all said to improve the car's aerodynamic performance.

It is slightly larger than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase and wider stance that enable a "significantly roomier" cabin and "best-in-class" space efficiency.

For the first time, CR-V petrol models will be available with the option of seven seats.

Access to the third-row seats is "class-leading", claims Honda, thanks to a wide and low step-in aperture.

The seven-seat options are in SE and SR trim, although of course you do lose significant luggage space with the two rear seats up.

Inside the cabin

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2018 Honda CR-V VTEC TURBO Petrol
 

The re-modelled cabin moves further upmarket, with both design and material changes.

The dashboard features two 7-inch displays, while the layout of controls has been rationalised with a simple cluster for air-con management located beneath the central touchscreen.

There's been a host of safety, convenience and technology features added in to the fifth-generation model.

Cabin occupants in the front and rear can make use of iPad-sized extra-large capacity door pockets, enabled by moving the speakers further up in the door panels.

In the front, a new three-mode centre console includes a convenient tray for a smart phone, or a large capacity space big enough for a small handbag.

In higher trims, twin USB ports are available in the rear, providing charging points for phones, tablets and other personal electronic devices.

Optional extras include a hands-free tailgate, complete with the ability to set opening height for use in confined spaces.

Boot capacity is claimed to be class leading, with the biggest ever loading bay 'footprint' in a CR-V, aided by foldable seats and a two-stage adjustable cargo floor at the rear of the car.

There's now a load space with a maximum loading length of 1,830mm on the five-seater (or 1800mm on the seven seater) - up 250mm on the previous model CR-V, and big enough, says the manufacturer, to accommodate a 19.5inch frame mountain bike.

Under the bonnet

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In common with a growing number of carmakers, Honda has ditched diesel engines for petrol and petrol-hybrids (the latter will be along next year).

The 1.5 i-VTEC petrol engine comes with a choice of two and all-wheel drive and in both manual transmission and CVT.

Power is delivered via a six-speed manual gearbox, or an optional CVT automatic transmission tuned to deliver a more linear response.

The petrol and hybrid powertrains are front-wheel drive as standard, but both can be specified with Honda's latest all-wheel drive technology - 'Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System' - which gives the CR-V some all-terrain capability.

Also helpful in the rough stuff, ground clearance has been increased by 38mm for all variants, up to a height of 208mm for the AWD petrol model.

Trim levels

Available in dealer showrooms from earlier this month, the new CR-V follows the grading of the previous generation rising from the entry level S grade to SE, SR and finishing at the range-topping EX.

Standard across all trim levels are parking sensors and a rear-view camera, as well as Honda Sensing, Honda's suite of safety features which includes collision mitigation braking system, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

SR and EX will also feature blind spot warning and cross traffic monitoring, while the CVT version will feature low speed follow.

SR grade also adds smart entry and start, leather interior, active cornering lights and front windscreen de-icer; while EX further includes a heated steering wheel, head up display, hands free access power tailgate, heated rear seats and panoramic glass sunroof.

Who would buy one?

The CR-V hasn't sold millions around the globe for nothing.

It's a great family car, with enough tech, space, comfort and room for use on a whole variety of occasions and requirements.

The price range starts at £25,995 for a 2WD manual S grade and tops out at £36,455 for an AWD EX model with CVT.

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2018 Honda CR-V VTEC TURBO Petrol

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