The new Honda CR-V is now on sale in Ireland
The new Honda CR-V is now on sale in Ireland

Caroline drives the 2018 Honda CR-V.

Following on from the arrival of the award-winning Honda Civic in 2017, Honda Ireland has recently welcomed the new Honda CR-V. Honda’s large family SUV first emerged back in the 1990s but with the explosion of SUVs in recent years, it’s just as relevant today as the Civic, if not more.

When this new generation of the car was revealed last year, the Honda CR-V grabbed headlines because Honda confirmed no more diesel for this model in this part of the world – it was to be the first CR-V to be exclusively powered by petrol and for the first time as a petrol electric hybrid.

The CR-V Hybrid will arrive in Ireland in early 2019, but 1.5-litre petrol launch models are already in Honda dealers. A few years ago one might balk at the idea of a petrol engine in a big bruiser like the CR-V, but with Honda’s skill in making great engines and a general shift in public consciousness, this CR-V looks well primed for the future.

What’s new with the 2018 Honda CR-V?

Benchmarked against premium-brand products, Honda says that the new CR-V delivers improved ride quality, steering response, body control and refinement. The new CR-V is built on the same platform as the new Honda Civic and the slightly larger exterior proportions, longer wheelbase and wider stance give it a significantly larger interior over its predecessor. There’s also a wider, deeper boot with a longer load bay.

The interior of the 2018 Honda CR-V
The interior of the 2018 Honda CR-V

On the outside the styling has evolved again but the 2018 Honda CR-V retains a familiar silhouette and imposing physical presence. The wheelbase is longer and there are larger wheels and dual exhaust tailpipes for a sporty stance. LED headlamps come as standard and aerodynamics have also been improved using Honda’s Active Shutter Grille system.

Inside, it’s immediately apparent that the CR-V has gone upmarket. The quality and build is rock solid but it’s the material quality and design that really elevates the 2018 Honda CR-V. It’s a sleek design with slick features like the screen integrated neatly into the centre stack. A soft touch panel sweeps across the width of the cabin and the wood effect trim is a very nice addition adding some contemporary coolness to the cabin.

Will it make a good family car?

Standard models are five seat but for the first time there is a seven seat option on petrol AWD models (from €40,300). The longer wheelbase means that there is more space inside and the CR-V is definitely one of the more spacious family SUVs of its ilk, with a good wide bench in the rear, large footwells and loads of headroom. In five seat models, there is a boot of 561 litres (472 litres in seven seat models). There are plenty of practical bins and spaces around the cabin to accommodate family life too.

The new Honda CR-V is available with five or seven seats
The new Honda CR-V is available with five or seven seats

The new CR-V is available in four trims in Ireland: Comfort, Lifestyle, Elegance and Executive. Standard equipment includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, 17″ alloys, climate control, auto lights, 5″ monitor audio with DAB digital radio and Bluetooth, and automatic high beam. The Lifestyle model on test added Honda Connect with 7″ touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 18″ alloys, parking sensors and a rear view camera.

Smooth, petrol power for the 2018 Honda CR-V

At launch the Honda CR-V comes to Ireland with a 1.5-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine with 173hp (manual) or 193hp (automatic). In February 2019, a hybrid version will arrive. The 1.5-litre ‘Lifestyle’ five seat model on test has a list price of €35,500.

The new Honda CR-V has a lighter and more rigid chassis with the wider body stance and longer wheelbase improving stability. On the road the 2018 Honda CR-V is a star performer with great comfort for all on board, while also delivering considerable prowess when the roads get twisty. For a large SUV, it’s smooth to drive and neat to manouvre – it’s not laboursome to drive, even with a manual gearbox.

The new Honda CR-V goes on sale in Ireland priced from €33,500
The new Honda CR-V goes on sale in Ireland priced from €33,500

The 1.5-litre petrol suits the short hops in and out of town while also settling down for a hushed cruise on the motorway. The engine has plenty of power, though diesel fans will miss the immediate shove of torque from low down in the rev range – the petrol engine builds its speed in a different way. Still it’s very pleasant to drive around town.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 7.1l/100km, while the CR-V 1.5 qualifies for motor tax of €390 per year.

Would you buy it?

The 2018 Honda CR-V is a formidable family car with a spacious interior and high quality finish that make it highly desirable. While this time the CR-V launches with no diesel option, the 1.5-litre petrol makes particularly good sense for drivers that will spend a lot of time in suburbia. Next year’s CR-V Hybrid promises to offer even more efficiency. A seven seat option for the first time should boost the CR-V’s fortunes even more.

Caroline Kidd

The Honda CR-V is a formidable family SUV
The Honda CR-V is a formidable family SUV

Model tested: Honda CR-V 1.5 VTEC Turbo Lifestyle
€35,500 (Range from €33,500)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo petrol
173 hp
Torque: 220 Nm
9.2 seconds
Top speed: 210 km/h
CO2 emissions: 
143 g/km
Motor tax: 
€390 per year