Honda's CR-V has a been a longtime favourite in Aussie driveways and a recent upgrade has made it a better all-round package. We sampled the mid-tier VTi X and VTi-L to see what's new.

THERE'S A CAR FOR EVERYONE

Honda has an expansive CR-V range, with enough variants to accommodate most buyers.

There are both five- and seven-seat options in varying levels of trim, while buyers wanting all-wheel drive can stump up extra for increased traction.

Prices start from about $35,000 drive-away for the base Vi version and top out at a ritzy $53,000 drive-away for the VTi-LX.

Honda has given its popular CR-V a big upgrade.
Honda has given its popular CR-V a big upgrade.

IT PAYS TO BE SAFE

The recent update has made the CR-V a much safer vehicle. The brand's "Honda Sensing" technology is included as standard on all but the cheapest variants.

It includes auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, auto high beam and radar cruise control.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you pay for a CR-V you can't get blind-spot monitoring or rear cross-traffic alert, which are standard on the cheapest Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.

All but the cheapest variant comes with a decent amount of standard safety equipment.
All but the cheapest variant comes with a decent amount of standard safety equipment.

THERE'S ROOM TO GROW

Young families will appreciate the CR-V's spacious cabin, as there's plenty of room for growing kiddies to fill out.

The second row is ready for regular action with two airconditioning vents and USB ports and all seven-seat versions get third row vents, too. The flat floor in the second row makes for a more comfortable middle seat.

Front-seat passengers have oodles of room and the driver's seat provides good vision of the road ahead. Soft-touch materials occupy all the real estate you'll rub against, making for a comfortable and stylish commute.

The boot is enormous at 522 litres or 1717 litres with the seats down.

At times the CR-V can feel big on the road compared to other mid-size SUVs, particularly on tight inner-city streets and in cramped car parks.

The CR-V is a big unit inside and out.
The CR-V is a big unit inside and out.

GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES

On paper the CR-V's 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine sounds a little undercooked, but all but the cheapest version get turbo power, which lifts outputs to an acceptable level.

With 140kW and 240Nm on tap the CR-V handles the school run and inner city commuting with ease. Upgraded suspension makes it one of the better riding mainstream SUVs.

The CVT auto may take a little getting used to. It emits as distinctive whirl and can feel a bit hesitant as it finds the right ratio, but it's better than most examples out there.

Fuel use is respectable at a claimed 7.3L/100km, but you'll struggle to get near that if you spend most of your time in traffic. It wins back some points by only requiring regular unleaded petrol.

A classy cabin makes for a comfortable commute.
A classy cabin makes for a comfortable commute.

TRY AND GET A DEAL NOW

The CR-V is Honda's highest selling vehicle in Australia, attracting almost 10,000 buyers last year. That said, it is only the eighth best-selling SUV in the country and is outsold by the former News Corp Car of the Year winning Toyota RAV4 by four to one.

The CR-V is becoming even more important to Honda's long-term future as it discontinues the popular Jazz small car.

Honda is also drastically cutting its dealership network and moving to a no-haggle sales policy and more online selling. That's due to kick in from July this year, so twist a dealer's arm while you still can.

Originally published as Huge change to affect popular SUV


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