The Honda CR-V has earned a great reputation for reliability, which is why we’d recommend it as one of our favourite used family SUVs. It’s a shame the older models don’t come with the option of seven seats – for that you’ll be better off looking at the Hyundai Santa Fe. Or splash out for a new 2021 model. Otherwise, it’s got a huge boot, and spacious cabin and the sort of durability that family motorists will love.
Under the hood of the Honda CR-V
It was offered at first with a 2.2-litre diesel offered and 2.0-litre petrol, but a facelift in 2015 added an improved touchscreen media and nav system for all but entry-level S-cars, and a 1.6-litre diesel that is usefully more economical than the 2.2. offered in a couple of power outputs.
You can choose from front- and four-wheel drive, as well as manual and automatic gearboxes, so there should be one to suit you. You’d be wise to avoid the auto petrol models unless you do very low mileage – the fuel costs will be pretty eye-watering, but otherwise, there’s not a bad option in the CR-V range.
Notes on the interior
There are very few faults with the CR-V despite there being plenty of high mileage examples out there. As it’s a family car, a lot of them have been hard used and can bear some signs of wear inside, so check that the interior’s up-to-scratch rather than just, well, scratched. If it’s been used for towing, make sure that the clutch feels strong and isn’t slipping, as new clutches or flywheels can get expensive. Door locks can get sticky and some minor electrical glitches have been noted. Keep a keen eye out for blinking lights on the dash or odd behaviour from the nav system.
On the subject of the nav system, don’t expect anything too special. It does the job, but it looked old when it was new, so even the systems in the facelifted models (which got bigger 7-inch screens) are going to look pretty archaic by today’s standards.
Avoid base S trim as it missed out on a lot of the kit that most people will want, including Bluetooth. SE is widely available on the used market and got a higher-spec; front- and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, the touchscreen media system, air-con and cruise control. SR gets xenon headlights and a height-adjustable passenger seat. The top-spec EX gets the full works with leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.
What you can expect to pay for a Honda CR-V
Normally we’d suggest avoiding an SUV for a family car. But, you can find decent examples of the CR-V for impressively little money. Notably the lower mileage, well looked after cars are only £2000 or so more expensive. So, if you can stretch to one of those then you’ll effectively get more car for your money – including the facelifted 1.6 diesel cars that would be our pick of the bunch, even if high-mileage, older cars remain great options if you need to keep purchase price right down.