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The new Honda CR-V is a big improvement over the previous model, but not a home run

21 Nov 2012

HONDA says it has well and truly turned a corner after a long period of declining sales and product mediocrity, with the fourth-generation CR-V being the latest example.

Smaller yet roomier, better equipped yet with a cheaper entry price, and a whole lot quieter, more refined and safe, it represents a stronger proposition for buyers who have long abandoned the series for more sparkling rivals like the Mazda CX-5.

The latest Honda compact SUV doesn’t do anything truly spectacular, but it also doesn’t do a whole lot wrong either. We reckon it’s easier to recommend than the old one.

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Model release date: 1 November 2012 to 1 December 2013

Previous model


Released: February 2007
Ended: October 2012
Family Tree: CR-V

A MASSIVE improvement over the rather coarse second-generation CR-V, the RE series abolished the 4x4-like side-opening tailgate and exposed spare wheel for a roomier and more refined wagon body with five adequate seats, more safety and improved driveability.

Now made in Thailand rather than in Japan, three models were offered in Standard, Sport and Luxury guises. All were powered by a 125kW/218Nm, 2.4-litre, twin-cam, i-VTEC four-cylinder petrol engine, driving the front wheels (unless slippage was detected whereby torque was sent to the rear ones using Honda’s Real Time 4WD system) via a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic.

Sales were strong initially, but the CR-V was soon joined by newer-gen compact SUVs such as the Nissan X-Trail Mk2, Subaru G3 Forester, VW Tiguan, and more recently the Hyundai ix35, Kia Sportage III, and Mazda CX-5, and sales suffered accordingly.

Get the full story: Honda re-arms the CR-V in its long-running feud with Toyota’s killer RAV4

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