Honda CR-V 4th Generation 2012-2016 (RM1-RM4, RE5-RE6) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used CR-V 4th Gen

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4th Generation CR-V: What Owners Say

  • The fourth generation 2012 Honda CR-V has received many compliments for its ride and handling. Based on the smaller Civic's platform, the CR-V inherited much of the compact car's nimbleness and responsiveness, with a firm and well-dampened ride that stopped short of being harsh. It drives more like a tall hatchback than a truck, endearing it to its owners.
  • Gas mileage is very good and even the pre-facelift 4th gen Honda CR-V RM1, RM2, RM3, and RM4 models equipped with the five-speed automatic transmission achieve a commendable 26 mpg on the combined cycle, with the AWD only 1 mpg behind. Both figures received a notable 3-mpg boost when the direct-injection engine and CVT transmission arrived for the 2015 model-year facelift.
  • The 4th gen 2012-2016 Honda CR-V's interior was lauded for its space, comfort, technology, and family-friendly features, making it excellent at the job of carting around people with the minimum of fuss and bother.
  • Although the 2012-2016 Honda CR-V is regarded as being above average for reliability, it is not above average for a CR-V and is often regarded as the least reliable, with various problems reported. Owners report broadly the same problems, including transmission foibles, failing air-conditioning, a blocked heater core, and an inadequate charging system that eats batteries.
  • While the above complaints often result in failures that cost owners money, there are other complaints too in terms of living with the CR-V. The thrifty direct-injection engine in the facelifted model is prone to excessive vibration and many owners complain of a noisy variable-valve-timing actuator that, although functioning normally, clatters or grinds on startup. Some owners have managed to get Honda to replace it, but others just live with the noise.
  • The 2012-2016 CR-V was recalled numerous times for issues ranging from vehicles that roll away despite the gear selector being in Park to problems with the doors latching and faulty airbags, all suggesting that quality was not always consistently up to scratch.
  • Although the 2.4-liter engine is adequate - and both performance and economy were usefully improved for the 2015 model - many owners still lament the lack of a more powerful engine option in the lineup. To be fair, a somewhat lackluster standard engine is a gripe this CR-V shared with its Toyota RAV4 contemporary at the time.

2015 Honda CR-V Facelift

The fourth gen Honda CR-V received quite a substantial facelift for the 2015 model year with a restyled front end and revised fascias front and rear, as well as a new trim.

2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Front Changes

The 2015 CR-V features a slimmer two-layer grille with a lower chrome garnish1 that runs into narrower projector headlights that incorporate LED daytime running-light strips for the first time2. A refreshed bumper pairs with a new lower fascia incorporating a plastic skid-plate-style panel3 and new rectangular fog lights with chrome bezels replacing the old round units4. The updated look is significantly more modern and dynamic.

2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Rear Changes

The rear changes are not as numerous, but the new model can be distinguished from the old one easily enough. The black trim at the base of the rear window is replaced with a full-width piece of chrome on top trims1. Although the taillights retain their shape, their lenses are redesigned and they gain jewel-like reflectors2. The rear lower reflectors are moved from the lower fascia higher up into the new bumper, either side of the tailgate's lower edge3. The bumper has horizontal creases and the lower fascia is redesigned, mirroring the front skid-plate-style panel4.

2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Side Changes

From the side, the cleaned-up front and rear ends and revised head1- and taillights2 can be clearly seen but other than that - and new wheel designs3- the profile remains essentially unchanged.

2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2015 - 2016 CR-V 4th Gen Facelift Interior Changes

The interior undergoes no wholesale changes but is refined and updated nonetheless. The sun visors receive sliding elements, a center-console armrest is added1, and rear air-conditioning vents appear. The most noticeable change is the addition of a standard seven-inch infotainment touchscreen in the center of the CR-V's dashboard2 from the EX trim.

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

The Honda CR-V fourth generation was launched with a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 185 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque, transmitting its power to the front wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter. AWD is optional. This drivetrain is good for EPA-estimated fuel consumption of 23/30/26 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles for the FWD models and 22/29/25 for AWD trims. The 2013 Honda CR-V gas tank measures 15.3 gallons. The 2015 facelift introduced a direct-injection Earth Dreams version of the 2.4-liter engine with the power staying unchanged at 185 hp but torque increasing to 181 lb-ft. The old five-speed automatic transmission is replaced by a continuously variable transmission and together, the new engine and gearbox improved responsiveness, low-end torque delivery, and fuel economy. The latter improved to 27/33/29 mpg for the FWDs and 26/32/28 for the AWDs.

2.4-liter Four-Cylinder Gas Engine
185 hp | 163 lb-ft
Horsepower
185 hp
Torque
163 lb-ft
Transmission
Five-speed automatic
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

From Honda's K engine family, the K24 engine in the CR-V is known for its durability if properly cared for. The five-speed automatic transmission is simple and reliable too, but the drivetrain is uninspiring and performance is only adequate for the class, with the transmission's five ratios being upstaged by the 4th generation Toyota RAV4's six-speed transmission. Drivers without a penchant for speed will be perfectly happy with the combination.

2.4-liter Four-Cylinder Direct-Injection Gas Engine
185 hp | 181 lb-ft
Horsepower
185 hp
Torque
181 lb-ft
Transmission
Continuously variable transmission
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

The 2015 model year introduces a new drivetrain inherited from the Accord. The 2.4-liter engine gains direct fuel injection and becomes the K24W. Although power stays the same, torque is usefully boosted to 181 lb-ft, with more of it delivered lower in the rpm range. To improve performance and efficiency even more, the new engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission that employs a torque converter to give the natural feel of a normal automatic transmission at pullaway. The new drivetrain gives the CR-V a decent performance and economy boost.

4th Gen CR-V Real MPG

Regardless of what their official EPA figures might be, some cars don't perform as well in the real world. After a vehicle has been on the market for a few years, the EPA publishes the mpg figures submitted by drivers for comparison's sake. The CR-V generally performs well and its real-world consumption figures mostly correspond to the EPA's estimates. In fact, the pre-facelift FWD CR-V boasts a real-world figure of 27 mpg combined, compared to its 25-mpg EPA estimate. The AWD is close too, with 24.4 and 25 mpg, respectively. The facelifted model's fuel consumption improves, but real-world figures suggest it's not by as much as Honda claims and the EPA estimates. Still, a real-world figure of 28.5 mpg combined vs the EPA figure of 29 mpg for the FWD model is very good. Strangely, the direct-injection AWD model beats its predecessor, but its real-world figure of 24.7 mpg is some way off the EPA figure of 28 mpg.

EPA MPGREAL WORLD MPG *
2.4 NA four-cylinder FWD23/30/2627 combined
2.4 NA four-cylinder AWD22/29/2524.4 combined
2.4 NA direct-injection four-cylinder FWD27/33/2928.5 combined
2.4 NA direct-injection four-cylinder AWD26/32/2824.7 combined

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.

Safety

The 2012 4th gen Honda CR-V achieved an excellent five stars overall in the NHTSA's round of crash tests, with only the rollover test scoring four - typical for a high-riding vehicle. The IIHS scored it "Good" in all the crashworthiness criteria except for the driver-side small-overlap frontal impact, for which it only scored "Marginal". Honda took the criticism to heart and reinforced the car's structure for the 2015 facelift, bagging it a "Good" score for all the IIHS' tests and a 2015 Top Safety Pick+ award from the agency. Standard safety fare at launch included six airbags, stability control, hill-start assist, brake assist, automatic halogen headlights, and a backup camera on the base model. Extra safety equipment was added from the base model as the years went by, such as rear parking sensors from the 2014 model year. The 2015 facelift saw the addition of LED daytime running lights, as well as a suite of optionally available safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning. The latter two are standard on top trims.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

Overall Rating::
(5/5)
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating::
(5/5)
Side Crash Rating::
(5/5)
Rollover Rating::
(4/5)

4th Generation Honda CR-V Trims

At launch, the 2012 Honda CR-V lineup consisted of five trims: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L with Navigation, and EX-L with Rear Seat Entertainment System. For the 2015 facelift, EX-L with Rear Seat Entertainment System trim was replaced with the Touring trim. For 2016, an SE trim was added between the LX and EX.

LX
2012-2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission (CVT for 2015+)
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

The base LX derivative comes with 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, keyless entry, automatic halogen headlights, cruise control, air-conditioning, a manually tilting/telescoping steering column, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a six-inch color multi-information display, and an infotainment system with Bluetooth streaming, USB port, read-aloud SMS-messaging ability, a Pandora Internet Radio interface, an auxiliary audio jack, and a 160-watt, four-speaker audio system. It has six airbags, stability control, and a backup camera on the safety front. The 2015 facelifted model features a strengthened crash structure, a multi-angle backup camera, and the direct-injection engine and CVT transmission from the Accord.

SE
2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
CVT
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

The SE trim was only available in the last model year and slots in between the base LX and the EX. It is essentially nothing more than a base LX, but with rear privacy glass, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a security system added to its list of specifications.

EX
2012-2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission (CVT for 2015+)
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

The EX is the next step up from base and comes with exterior enhancements that include 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, rear privacy glass, and fog lights. Inside, it has a retractable cargo cover, a security system, and a six-speaker audio system. Along with its 2015 facelift, new engine, and CVT transmission, a blind-spot monitoring system is added, as well as dynamic guidelines for the backup camera, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, and an additional USB port.

EX-L
2012-2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission (CVT for 2015+)
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

EX-L means the addition of heated side mirrors and roof rails on the outside, plus an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar-support adjustment, heated front seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, XM satellite radio, and a seven-speaker audio system. It also has blind-spot monitoring, dynamic guidelines for the backup camera, the seven-inch infotainment screen, and the additional USB port as part of the 2015 facelift.

EX-L with Navigation
2012-2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission (CVT for 2015+)
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

As its name suggests, this trim is the same as the EX-L, but adds navigation to the infotainment system, with HD Radio, real-time traffic, and voice control. It follows the normal EX-L facelift upgrades for the 2015 model year.

EX-L with Rear Entertainment System
2012-2015
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Five-speed automatic transmission (CVT for 2015)
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

This trim is based on the EX-L, but it gets the rear-seat entertainment system in place of the navigation system - these two items cannot be had together.

Touring
2015-2016
Engine
2.4-liter inline-four
Transmission
Continuously variable automatic transmission
Drivetrain
FWD or AWD

The Touring has everything the 2015 EX-L with Navigation facelift has but adds to that a power liftgate, projector-beam headlights, and 18-inch alloy wheels on the outside, as well as driver's-seat memory settings. Additional standard safety features include lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision mitigation.

Fourth Generation Honda CR-V Features

LXEXEX-LEX-L w/NavigationEX-L w/Rear Entertainment SystemTouring
Back-Up CameraSSSSSS
Bluetooth ConnectionSSSSSS
Leather SeatsN/AN/ASSSS
Apple CarPlayN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Keyless EntrySSSSSS
Keyless StartN/ASSSSS
HD RadioN/AN/AN/ASN/AS
Alloy WheelsN/ASSSSS
SunroofN/AN/ASSSSS

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Honda CR-V 4th Gen Interior Overview Honda
Honda CR-V 4th Gen Interior Overview

The interior of the fourth generation CR-V is extremely spacious, practical, and family-friendly. Leg- and headroom are generous all around and the rear-seat occupants benefit from a nearly flat floor. The rear seats can easily be folded flat from either the wide-opening rear doors or the trunk to expand the already generous cargo area - which measures 37.2 cubic inches with the seats up and 70.9 cubes with them down.

The basic trims are LE, EX, and EX-L, with the latter available with either navigation or a rear-seat entertainment system (but not both) for the first few model years. The Touring trim joins the lineup for the 2015 model year and is essentially an EX-L with Navigation trim with a few extra features. Second-hand, you might want to consider one of the trims that came with navigation as standard, because that's the only way to have infotainment-based navigation in your fourth generation CR-V. The only other option is physically mounting your smartphone in the windshield because no trims ever came with smartphone integration.

TrimLEXLESELimitedPlatinumAdventure
Black cloth seatsSN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Black, Nutmeg, Ash cloth seatsN/ASN/AN/AN/AN/A
Black, Ash cloth seatsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AS
Black, Cinnamon leatherette seatsN/AN/ASN/AN/AN/A
Black, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ash leatherette seatsN/AN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Black, Cinnamon, Ash leatherette seatsN/AN/AN/AN/ASN/A

4th Gen CR-V Maintenance and Cost

The 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Honda CR-Vs might be more reliable than average, but they're not the best Honda can do. There were various known issues, but as long as you buy smartly, they can be very reliable and the K24 engine is notably tough and durable. During its time on the market, the 4th gen CR-V was America's top-selling CUV and there are still many of them on the road. Your CR-V's Maintenance Minder should tell you when to service your vehicle, but generally, a vehicle's oil and oil filter should be replaced every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, with the lower limit applying under severe operating conditions such as dusty roads, extended idling (like taxi service), or in freezing temperatures. If you have not had a Maintenance Minder 'A' notification within a year, service your Honda every year anyway, regardless of what the minder says - an oil change and tire rotation at least. If you see a 2012+ Honda CR-V "A12" service code, it means there is 15 percent oil life left and a lubrication service is due. A 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015 Honda CR-V "B16" service code is applicable to 2016 models as well and indicates that a change of the engine and differential fluid is due, as well as tire rotation.

The Maintenance Minder 'B' notification requires that more systems be checked, including the braking system and friction surfaces, suspension, driveline, all fluid levels, exhaust system, steering system, and fuel lines. The 2012-2016 facelift CR-V with either the five-speed automatic or the continuously variable transmission should have its oil changed every 30,000 miles to ensure the maximum longevity of the transmission. Thankfully, even the CVT uses a torque converter to pull away, so there is no clutch pack that can wear out in start-stop traffic.

2012-2016 Honda CR-V Basic Service

Engine Oil Change Including Filter

2.4-liter gas engine: 4.35L (4.6 quarts)

Recommended viscosity: 0W-20 fully synthetic oil

Replacement: Every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on use.

Average cost: $58-$70

Sparkplugs

2.4-liter gas engine

Part code: 12290-5A2-A02

Replacement: Every 120,000 miles

Average price: $76-$88 for four

Air Filter

OEM part number: 80292-SDA-407

Average Price: $22

Battery

2.4-liter engine

Type: Honda OEM 51R/500Amp85, part code 31500-SR1-100M

Replacement: Every 3-5 years

Average Price: $145

4th Generation CR-V Tires

LX:
Tire Size::
P215/70SR16
All-season BSW tires::
$592 per set
SE, EX, EX-L:
Tire Size::
P225/65TR17
All-season BSW tires::
$648 per set
Touring:
Tire Size:
P225/60HR18
All-season BSW tires:
$780 per set

Check Before You Buy

Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:

The fourth generation CR-V generally upholds Honda's reputation for reliability, but is has more issues than other generations. The basics are sound and if given fresh oil at the stipulated intervals, the engine and transmission should last well. The engine uses a timing chain and not a belt and is, therefore, not subject to frequent timing-gear maintenance. Most 2012-2016 Honda CR-V problems revolve around the transmission, HVAC system, and engine. Some other problem areas have been identified over the years, but they are not commonplace enough to dedicate a section to. A such, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Honda CR-V AWD, rearview/backup camera, VSA, antenna, Bluetooth, electrical, rear-seat fold-down, sunroof, lock, windshield wiper, heated seats, push button start, USB, and navigation problems are quite rare. Some of the facelifted models came with brand-new vibration problems courtesy of their direct-injection engine, but are reliable by and large. 2015 and 2016 Honda CR-V rear brake problems are rare; however, here and there, a few front-wheel 2015/16 brake problems such as seized calipers and failed rotors have been reported. Other features unique to the facelifted models appear to hold up well - with proper maintenance and frequent oil changes, 2015 and 2016 Honda CR-V CVT transmission problems are quite rare, but a few failures have occurred. On these models, the infotainment system is also new, but few 2015/2016 Honda CR-V touchscreen/navigation problems are noted.

4th Gen CR-V Common Problems

Engine Vibration When Idling

A fairly typical 2015 and 2016 Honda CR-V engine problem is excessive vibration at idle. This is a characteristic of the direct-injection engine in the facelifted models only and can vary from mild to severe. Most 2015 Honda CR-V idle problems are related to this issue. 2015 models are the worst culprits, but the problem also rears its head in some 2016 models. Honda outlines the problem in technical service bulletin TSB 15-046 and recommends several solutions. The first is that the software of the PCM (powertrain control module) be updated to lower the idling speed of the engine, thereby reducing the vibration. Other ways to dampen the vibration include fitting a new transmission mount, longer lower-radiator cushions, new front headrests, and a tailgate damper kit. These measures are not always successful in solving the vibration problem. The problem led to a class-action lawsuit for which a settlement was approved. Most vehicles should have been fixed under warranty. If you are considering a second-hand vehicle and it has a vibration problem, be aware that this is more of an irritant than anything else but can turn out expensive to put right on an old car. Try before you buy.

Mileage: 9,000 miles on average

Cost: Varies a lot; dependant on examination of vehicle and proposed remedies

How to spot: Engine vibration at idle

Blocked Heater Core

There seems to be quite a few 2012, 2013, and 2014 Honda CR-V heater problems. The heater core can become blocked, in which case the heating and ventilation system will only emit hot air on the passenger side of the windshield and not on the driver's side. Sometimes, a descaling solution added to the system can clear the blockage, in which case the remedy costs only a few dollars. However, if this doesn't work, replacing the heater core is the only solution at great cost, because the entire dashboard must be removed to get to it. This problem seems to be most prevalent in the earliest models.

Mileage: 46,000 miles on average

Cost: $410

How to spot: Hot air emitted only on the passenger side of the windshield

Air-Conditioning Failure

The air-conditioning compressor can fail entirely, needing to be replaced. The cost is significant - up to $1,000. The problem is not very commonplace and mostly affects earlier models. Test out the air-conditioning system and if the air is not frigid, walk away.

Mileage: 50,000 miles on average

Cost: $940

How to spot: Poor or no cooling of air by the air-conditioning system

VTC Actuator

In early 2012-2014 CR-Vs, the variable timing control (VTC) actuator on the camshaft can emit a loud rattling noise soon after startup, which soon subsides. Honda outlines the problem in technical service bulletins TSB 09-010 and 16-012. The noise does not persist and it does not affect the operation of the VTC actuator. Some owners have managed to get Honda to replace noisy VTC actuators under warranty, but for vehicles out of warranty, the bill can amount to several hundred dollars. Many owners elect to live with the problem, as it does not affect the day-to-day functioning of the engine.

Mileage: 47,000 miles on average

Cost: $380-$520

How to spot: Rattle/clatter upon starting up, persisting for a few seconds before going away

Power Steering Problems

Comparatively rare are 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Honda CR-V electric power steering problems. The electric power steering sometimes loses assistance and becomes heavy while driving. This doesn't only affect older models; some 2016 models have also been affected. This is not common and does not indicate a failure, as operation returns to normal. However, it can be hazardous if you don't expect it. Because the problem is intermittent, it could be related to the marginal charging system and low battery voltage could contribute to the problem since the steering is electrically assisted. Refer to the charging-system problems for further advice.

Mileage: From new

Cost: N/A

How to spot: Power assistance goes away and steering becomes heavy

Transmission Problems

Buyers should beware of pre-facelift 4th generation 2012, 2013, and 2014 Honda CR-V's acceleration, transmission, and torque converter problems. The main issue takes the form of a vibration or shudder upon light acceleration, covered by Honda's technical service bulletin TSB 15-086. Honda recommends replacing the transmission oil and updating the transmission's software. Occasionally, harsh shifts can occur, which can often be solved by replacing the linear solenoid in the transmission. Don't buy a CR-V with any transmission problems such as shudders and harsh shifts, because it might turn out to be more expensive to fix if other things have gone wrong as well.

Mileage: 55,000 miles on average

Cost: Can vary

How to spot: Shudders on acceleration

Charging System Problems

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Honda CR-V charging, starting, or dead battery problems are well documented. The system can be found lacking and not fully charge the battery, especially if lots of short trips are part of your daily routine. The frequently discharging battery fails early and has to be replaced more often. Vehicles doing longer trips have a better track record in this regard. It might be worth investing in a trickle charger to top up the battery every few days if you do lots of short trips. A generation 2012/2013+ Honda CR-V code "85-01" reading may also appear, which indicates a low battery voltage.

Mileage: Any mileage

Cost: $145

How to spot: Slow starter action, dead battery

Airbag Problems

The Takata airbag was the subject of the biggest automotive recall in history. Some Takata airbag inflators can rupture during airbag inflation and send deadly shrapnel into the passenger compartment. The only year of the fourth generation CR-V that is affected is 2016. Before buying a 2016 model, make sure its passenger-side airbag has been replaced. Even it wasn't, you can have it done for free under the recall conditions. It is imperative that you replace affected airbags as soon as possible at a Honda dealership.

Mileage: From new

Cost: N/A

How to spot: All 2016 CR-Vs must have their airbags checked by a Honda dealer

Bad Wheel Bearings

Bad wheel bearings are not too commonplace, but look out for them, just in case. A humming noise gives it away and the noise usually worsens when going around curves. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's not very cheap to fix either and can set you back several hundred dollars.

Mileage: 34,000 miles on average

Cost: $270-$450

How to spot: Humming noise while driving, worsening around curves

Recalls

There are a few 2012-2016 Honda CR-V recalls to take note of. The 2012 Honda CR-V door problem recall fixes faulty door latches that may cause doors to open by themselves or in a crash in more than 172,000 vehicles. The 2012 and 2013 Honda CR-V transmission recall fixes a fault in more than 204,000 CR-Vs that may cause them to roll away, even with the transmission in park. A 2015 and 2016 Honda CR-V engine recall was related to a problem with the wrong pistons installed in the engines and affected only 16 cars. In terms of the Takata airbag recall, there was no Honda CR-V passenger-side airbag recall in 2016 but there was one to replace the driver's airbag. There was not one 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016 Honda CR-V heater core, starter, VTC actuator, wheel bearing, compass calibration, low-rpm vibration, loose fuse box, or rear brake recall, despite a problem reported here and there on all of these systems. There was also no 2012, 2013, 2014, or 2015 Honda CR-V airbags on recall, as the only affected airbags were in the 2016 model, nor were there a 2015 or 2016 Honda CR-V transmission recall, as the earlier transmission recall only affects the five-speed transmission and not the CVT.

Which One To Avoid

As is usually the case, earlier models have more problems than later ones. In terms of complicated technology, the facelifted model might be more of a risk, but should still be reliable if maintained properly. Beware of vast mileages, because direct-injection engines are prone to carbon buildup on the intake valves, so if a vehicle hesitates or misfires, best to avoid it. The CVT also requires strict fluid changes according to schedule to remain reliable. The facelift might be as robust as the pre-facelift in the long run, but it still has to prove itself. If in-car navigation is important to you, keep in mind that you have two choices only: buy a CR-V with built-in navigation, or mount your phone in the windscreen and use that. No 4th gen CR-V has smartphone integration, so avoid the trims without built-in navigation if you do a lot of traveling. Also avoid the ones with transmissions that shudder or don't shift smoothly. As for the trim, we would avoid the low-rent LX and go for no lower than the EX.

Which One To Buy

The EX-L with Navigation is the nicest model from the pre-facelift range, but go for a late 2014 one with all its recall work done and a smooth and seamless engine and transmission. You get no smartphone integration, but at least you get navigation. The last of the 2016 facelifted models will be the most sorted, but beware of that engine vibration and be sure that the more high-tech driveline has had all its services and fluid changes on time. The Touring is a great buy if you can find one at a fair price, with an excellent specification for its vintage, a luxurious interior, and navigation built in. The facelifted models are also a lot more driveable thanks to significantly more low-end torque from the engine, and are also more fuel-efficient. Their extra sound deadening also significantly reduces road noise when cruising.

4th Gen CR-V Verdict

The 4th gen Honda CR-V falters occasionally in terms of Honda's usually rock-solid reliability record but, to be fair, some of its gripes are irritations more than terminal failure. As long as the vehicle has a full service history and drives well, with no vibrations, clunks, and shudders emanating from either its engine or transmission, it can last you a long time. It's spacious and comfortable and handles remarkably like a car and not a big lumbering SUV. It might not have a lot of power, but it ticks all the other CUV boxes.

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