CHOICE tested the top-of-the-range Honda CR-V VTi-L, which is 4WD and comes with leather seats, a sunroof, smart entry, push-button start, and a 2.4L engine.

We took this five-seater family car for a spin, then handed it over to CHOICE voting members and family of five, the Websters. They went for a weekend drive to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and on errand runs as well as a trip to the park for a picnic.

The Websters say:

This car has good ground clearance and having doors that open to almost 90° makes accessing the rear seats very easy. There's no bending over or twisting to reach the seats, so putting our kids in and taking them out was simple. The rear seat was wide enough for our three kids, although it wouldn't be comfortable with three child seats.

The controls are out of the kids' reach and the child seat anchors are easy to locate, and because they're mounted on the ceiling meant we could easily accommodate the cargo blind. When the driver seat was set as far back as possible, our kids had enough room when they were fastened in.

We like all the features that come with this car, particularly the sunroof, hill assist and autosensing 4WD. We like the auto headlights and how they stay on for about 30 seconds when you get out after parking. The convex mirror on the ceiling-mounted sunglasses case is useful for seeing what's happening in the back seat.

The only things we'd change are the glove box size so we could store our selection of DVDs and other bits and pieces, and more cup holders for the rear that pop out from the middle console.

CHOICE says:

Steering is well weighted and there's good communication between the driver and the car. We think the fuel economy is pretty good for such a large and heavy model. While the gearbox is automatic and works well, a sixth gear would be good. The ride is comfortable (if a bit on the firm side) and performs well over bumps.

Front seats are unsupportive and the leather is slippery, but it's not uncomfortable on a long trip. We'd prefer more side support for both pew and backrest. Cabin noise is low while driving on good roads, but on coarser roads there is a fair bit of tyre noise. The interior is a bit spartan, and grey imitation wood doesn't do anything to improve the feel. It has a decent cargo area, and an almost-flat floor when you activate the rear seats to fold down by pulling on a lever.

The verdict

The space, features, visibility and power impressed the Websters so much they've already asked for a brochure on the Honda CR-V. They think it's great value for money, with all the features they want for their family. Our tester was also impressed overall, especially with performance on such a big and heavy car.


Cost: from $45,845


Fuel usage claim vs measured per 100km: 8.7L vs 8.2L

Acceleration to 100km/h: 10s

Braking distance from 60km/h: 14.3m

ANCAP safety rating: 5 stars out of 5