Publication date: 17 July 2013
Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

Acting tough

Review - There is a big difference between being tough and being tough. Those who act tough use firm language, but cannot deliver on promises or threats. Those who are tough will use the same force terms, but can put their money where their mouth is if necessary. The Honda CR-V undoubtedly looks tough. But can the new "1.6 i-DTEC" engine deliver the performance to match?

First, the CR-V's main achievements: this fourth generation of Honda's large SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) is more of a luxury passenger car than a tough off-roader. Of the latter, the CR-V has only the tough looks and space.

Space up front is fine, although the exterior is lacking in harmony. Sometimes Honda opts for "high tech", sometimes traditional. A characteristic feature of the CR-V is the dual display screen. Centrally under the windscreen is a colour screen that displays information from the trip computer, data from the radio/CD, or a self-selected picture as desired. A step below is the display of the combined audio, sat nav and communication system.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

Considering the price, the equipment is fine. When it comes to safety, the CR-V is also right up to date. For example, the electronics watch along with the driver and warn when there is too big a difference in speed with the car in front or if the lines on the road surface are unintentionally crossed.

The CR-V's strongest point is its boot. This measures 589 litres as standard and can easily be expanded to 1,669 litres. Even some (even) bigger SUVs have to make do with less!

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)
Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

Attack plan

The new Honda CR-V has been tested before. Back then, the CR-V was available with two engines: a modest, efficient petrol engine and a powerful, mighty diesel engine. An economical diesel engine is therefore entirely in keeping with Honda's plans.

This is not only good news for the environment, but also for the wallet. Both in purchase and use, the "1.6 i-DTEC" diesel engine is much cheaper than the 2.2-litre diesel. Still, the difference in power output is modest. The 2.2 litre diesel produces 150 hp / 350 Nm, while the newcomer puts out 120 hp / 300 Nm.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

The difference between the two engines is especially noticeable on the motorway. The large diesel engine accelerates from 100 km/h to even higher speeds with ease in top gear. At high speed, the smaller diesel engine reacts hesitantly to commands from the throttle and accelerates smoothly only when downshifting.

But. then, that is the only time when it is noticeable that this is a "economy diesel"! From standstill, this modest diesel engine actually takes off remarkably easily. Even in town and on country roads, the 1.6 litre diesel performs just fine. As with the other engines, the CR-V does so quietly.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)


To reduce fuel consumption, the CR-V features "Eco Assist". With this, the frame of the clocks colours depending on driving style. When driving economically, the clocks turn green. A shift indicator is also provided.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

Nevertheless, in practice it is difficult to drive as economically as the brochure promises. According to Honda, average consumption is 4.5 litres per 100 km. Despite a "green" driving style, on a demanding route (mountain roads, city traffic, little motorway) 6.5 litres per 100 km was the best achievable. This puts consumption even higher than at the time with the 2.2-litre diesel! In practice, the smaller diesel engine simply has to work too hard and therefore consumption still increases.

On the attack

Still, there is a good reason (besides the lower purchase price) to choose the 1.6 i-DTEC: the handling is much better! Honda had set itself the goal of offering an SUV with the CR-V that drives as well as an ordinary passenger car. With this new engine, the CR-V succeeds better than it has so far.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

This is primarily due to a significant weight reduction. The smaller diesel engine is much lighter than the larger engine. Together with the lack of all-wheel drive, the weight has been reduced by 116 kg.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine not only has a smaller capacity, but also smaller dimensions than the 2.2. The engine could therefore be built lower in the car, resulting in a more favourable centre of gravity. The all-round clearance also meant that a better mount point could be chosen, better absorbing engine vibrations.


The suspension is perfectly adapted to the lower weight, lower centre of gravity and lack of all-wheel drive. Pressure on the front wheels is now greater, for maximum grip.

Honda CR-V (2012 - 2017)

The modified suspension catches short bumps slightly less nicely, but actually offers more comfort on rolling roads. Moreover, the car feels more nimble and agile. Although performance has not improved, driving pleasure has therefore increased.


The Honda CR-V is now also available with a relatively small, efficient diesel engine. This makes the car more affordable in the first place. Performance is so good that it is hardly noticeable that this is an entry-level model. Unfortunately, consumption in practice is much higher than promised.

The biggest advantage of the new diesel engine is that handling has improved. Thanks to the lower weight, handling has become livelier. All-wheel drive has been dropped because it is costly and adds too much weight. Moreover, in practice, the CR-V is mainly bought for its looks and practicality. With that, the "Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC" limits itself only to acting tough, but is very good at it.

  • Very spacious
  • Excellent performance
  • Drives like an ordinary passenger car
  • Not as economical as promised
  • Chic execution does not convince as top model