The Honda CR-V isn't always the first choice for buyers in the crowded and heavily competitive medium SUV segment. It is, however, one that finds favour once we recommend it and buyers take a closer look at the mix of features, space, practicality and value for money. For us at CarAdvice, it's one of the picks in the segment, no matter what your budget. That's why we booked one in for a long-term stint in the CarAdvice garage.
Our long-term CR-V is the entry-level AWD model – the VTi-S – with pricing that starts from $35,490. A couple of things to mention here. It had to be AWD, because for mine, if you're buying an SUV, a FWD doesn't really make any sense. The whole reason I'm looking at the SUV segment is to access AWD, so I'd rather test that platform. Secondly, that's some seriously sharp pricing for what is a well-equipped, medium SUV.
Pricing for the CR-V range starts from $28,290 for the entry-level 2WD model if you're so inclined, and there is a seven-seat variant in that range across two specification grades. They start from $34,490 and $38,990 respectively. The range-topping AWD that sits above our long-termer is the VTi-LX, which starts from $44,290.
Read our 2018 Honda CR-V pricing and specification guide for a more detailed breakdown.
Our CR-V is powered by Honda's 1.5-litre VTEC turbocharged petrol engine, which makes 140kW and 240Nm, and is mated to a CVT rather than a conventional automatic.
Standard features include: keyless entry, push-button start, active noise control, dual-zone climate control, rear-view camera, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight speakers, proprietary satellite navigation, electric park brake, LED DRLs, front fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, full-size spare, driver-attention monitor, tyre pressure monitor, trailer standby assist, electric tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, and LaneWatch mirror-mounted camera technology.
It now also gets AEB, previously standard only on the range-topper, which is only an issue when you compare the CR-V directly to the segment, where this equipment is becoming more and more common across the range.
The medium SUV segment is now a serious battleground in Australia. It's more competitive than ever, and ignoring the more expensive, premium offerings, the CR-V has to go to battle with: the Ford Escape, Holden Equinox, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, Renault Koleos, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan. That means buyers have this many options before they even get to the test-drive stage. Despite this, every manufacturer wants a part of it – that's how vital medium SUVs are globally in 2019.
Stay tuned over the next few months, and we'll take a closer look at the Honda CR-V, reporting back on the reasons why we think it's one of the most compelling offerings in the segment. After a week and 200 odd kilometres behind the wheel, we're thinking that we're going to enjoy our time with the CR-V.