The Honda CR-V is the world's best selling SUV and the 2019 model is capable of pulling families and their luggage in comfort while also providing a wide range of tech goodies to make travel more enjoyable and less tiring.
With updated styling to go along with the tech, this is the off-roader here and now if you want a big minivan rather than a more compact midsize or small SUV.
As well as food items such as cruise control and a rearview camera, the Honda CR-V also offers a HUD (Heads Up Display) and excellent smartphone integration to keep technology-delighted, driving happy. We put some serious mileage on the SG-V to find out how well things are stacking up.
- Honda Civic Type R: An Everyday Beast
- Land Rover Discovery HSE: Above Ground, Under Ground, Rovering Free
- Kia e-Niro: an EV SUV for the people
Honda CR-V design and drive
The Honda CR-V is long, tall and wide. If you are uncomfortable maneuvering in small spaces, this is not the car for you. But if you're the type who needs space for people and everything, the CR-V has it in abundance.
One of the first things we noticed as we climbed up in the driver's seat for the Honda CR-V was just the sheer amount of Cubby holes that were available.
Door pockets are some of the deepest we've seen, and a central gap between the front seats provides a key tray, wide cupholders and extra storage (the last of which is hidden under a sliding armrest).
There is plenty of room in seat width and head height, making the cabin a comfortable and spacious place to be. Honda has improved the noise isolation for the 2019 SG-V, which means things are quieter when you're on the move.
Our model comes with a panoramic sunroof (optional) that stretches from the front to the rear seats, flooding the car with extra light if you choose to open the blind.
In the back and there are three seats that can comfortably accommodate three adults on a long trip with a decent amount of legroom. If the rear seats are often children, they will have a lot of free space.
The power tailgate - which can be occupied with a key or a button to the right of the steering column - makes accessing large loads easier, and once opened you'll comfortably fit a few large suitcases on.
Moving the front seats, and in the cold season you can use the heating function (sorry for rear passengers, seat heating is not for you), plus the driver can also use the heated steering wheel.
On the roof, next to the sunroof controls, is a section for storing sunglasses, which actually has a handy second function. Press the group and open it, allowing you to grab or stow your glasses, but press it once and you'll notice that it has an additional rear view mirror, allowing the driver and front passenger to keep an eye on the kids in the back.
Our Honda CR-V was an all wheel drive (AWD) model that provided good grip and balance on the road. The ride was smooth and cornering felt stable with what felt like good weight distribution, making the SG-V easier to handle.
Acceleration is good, but it's not the sharpest responding on the right foot. Once she's even caught up, the SG-V is moving at a good pace. The automatic transmission does its job well, but for those who want a little more control, you can opt to use paddle shifters mounted just behind the wheel.
While the 2,0-liter engine is at the center of the Honda CR-V, it also has a self-charging battery pack as part of the hybrid setup. The result is extended range from a single tank of fuel, and we were easily able to get over 500 miles between fuel stops.
You can also choose to go in all-electric EV mode, though the Honda CR-V can only go a handful of miles in this mode so more stores are popping up demanding a petrol engine.
There was something that surprised us a little, the horns. For such a large car, the sound is surprisingly weak on the Honda CR-V. push him into anger and he will do little to cheer you up!
Honda SG-V technologies and specifications
As we mentioned, the Honda CR-V Ex-Trim comes with a lot of tech. There are heated seats and wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, parking sensors and cruise control to start with.
Cruise control on the CR-V comes along with Lane Assist, which sees the car keep you in the lane if you start drifting on the line by gently jerking the steering wheel in the right direction.
It's one of the best feature strips we've used, with the SG-V doing a surprisingly good job after rounding off the road.
You have to keep your hand on the steering wheel, which provides some resistance, otherwise you will get a flashing visual warning on the dash and if you ignore it for too long, the horn will also tell you to pay attention and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
How cruise control and lane help take a moment to learn how to work with a Honda on the steering wheel isn't the most intuitive around. After a few tries, we worked out the necessary combination of seals, but he could do with being a bit simpler.
Likewise, the heads-up display (HUD) is not immediately obvious, as it is not the default for us. There was a HUD button on the wheel, but that didn't turn on the display. Instead, there is a separate button to the right of the wheel that needs to be pressed.
This saw a small glass window roll up between the steering wheel and windshield, providing you with information such as current speed, speed limits and further direction of navigation.
They did a great job of putting this useful information in your eye line from the road, which meant we didn't have to look down at the dashboard, in turn making us a safer driver.
The instrumentation on the Honda CR-V is completely digital, which means it can show you much more than just your speed, revs and fuel level. The center display can also show you what music is currently playing, navigation directions, vehicle specs like tire pressure, and more.
However, menu navigation on this display is again a bit fiddly, making it difficult to work your way the way you want. Over time we have become more familiar with the navigation required, but they could be better.
Focus shifts to a large 7-inch touchscreen display that sits astride the center console, and there's plenty of room to view maps, audio feeds and more.
The touch screen takes some effort from your clicks to register - not exactly like your smartphone's display - but works well overall.
Honda's built-in satellite navigation system does the job, but it's not as good as the internet. The good news is you can connect your smartphone to the Honda CR-V and use the dedicated display and audio apps on the car's touchscreen thanks to the availability of Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay.
The real bonus here on the SG-V, though, is the navigational directions from your smartphone's mapping app are transmitted to you on a digital display in the instrument cluster and HUD.
This does not happen on all vehicles, with many allowing third-party navigation services to the home screen only. This means it's just as easy to follow instructions from Google or Apple as it's a Honda and it makes for a much better driving experience.
And, to ensure you and your passengers keep their devices topped up, the Honda CR-V comes with two USB ports in the front and two in the back.
- John McCann is behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars and tech in them – today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he guides you through a range of makes, models, capacities and price tags in his usual TR discs speakers.