The all-new CR-V continues Honda's upmarket push, striking the right balance between sleek styling, a more premium interior, and the sort of chassis tuning that the brand is known for.

For Honda, the 2024 CR-V is one of the most important vehicles in its arsenal. The last model in its lineup to be replaced by the slew of sleeker current generation variants now sat in the brand’s Aussie showrooms, the new CR-V hasn’t arrived a moment too soon to complete the brand’s upmarket push that has accompanied a switch to a no-haggle agency sales model.

Offered in four trim levels with provisions for both five- and seven-seat configurations, the version on test here is the VTi LX. The most expensive petrol variant on offer, as the range-topping RS is the sole hybrid available, it has seating for five, standard all-wheel drive, and comes priced at $57,000 drive-away.

As with the rest of Honda’s current lineup, the CR-V is certainly a looker. It’s sleek, but with a bit of an influence from the brand’s American models such as the Pilot and Passport, particularly at the front, which helps it look larger and bolder than it actually is. Particularly in the Meteoroid Grey of my tester, I think it looks premium enough to pull up anywhere without looking out of place.

Sportier front and rear bumper designs, 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome (fake) exhaust outlets, and a full-size panoramic sunroof are all standard fare on the outside of the VTi LX, which does charge a significant premium over the VTi L model when also equipped with all-wheel drive. It also marks a $3400 price increase over the previous-gen CR-V in this guise, although the improvement in its styling is almost worth double that to my eyes.

Stepping inside, the new CR-V feels familiar to most other Honda models with the same 9.0-inch infotainment screen seen as everything else, while the 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster in this variant is shared with the smaller ZR-V. It’s worth noting wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto, satellite navigation, and wireless phone charging are standard on all variants.

The infotainment system itself is an easy system to use with a fairly slick interface and no glitches in its operation, including when wirelessly mirroring my iPhone. Those who prefer physical buttons will be glad to see the inclusion of home, back, and track buttons, along with a proper physical volume dial. The 12-speaker Bose audio system it’s connected to is a good one, too.

Other interor items such as the extended honeycomb air vents, climate control panel, steering wheel, shifter, and other switchgear have also been directly lifted from other Honda models, meaning that while there are few unique touches in here, it does feel cohesive and consistent with the rest of the brand’s portfolio. Mind you, some faux wood trim on the door cards and across the dashboard does add a unique touch of class, as do the flourishes of white ambient interior lighting.

The array of materials used throughout the cabin are all of a good standard, with key touch points clad in quality leather, while none of the plastics are in any way offensive. It’s perhaps not quite the same level of plushness you’d get from Mazda as there’s no leather-wrapped dashboard topper here, but it’s certainly a big step up over the previous-gen CR-V while holding an advantage over other mainstream brands.

Interior space is good with the cabin feeling wide, spacious, and surprisingly airy despite the high beltline, although the panoramic sunroof certainly does some of the heavy lifting in that regard. All of the storage cubbies and beverage holders are well-sized, and there’s plenty of them with slots for eight cups and bottles in five-seat models, increasing to 10 in seven-seat variants.

It’s also worth highlighting that getting you, your family, and your things in and out of the CR-V is made particularly easy thanks to its rear doors which open to a 90-degree angle, making putting a car seat in the back a piece of cake, while there’s a hands-free powered tailgate on all grades to make life easier when you’re struggling with shopping bags in both hands. Boot space comes in at a handy 581 litres for the VTi LX, expanding to 1636 litres with the rear seats folded flat, and there’s a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor.

Powering all CR-V variants – bar the hybrid-only RS model – is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 140kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm from 1700-5000rpm. Whether you opt for front- or all-wheel drive, a CVT automatic is the only transmission on offer.

Despite how small this engine is, it doesn’t feel out of place in the CR-V. In fact, when I first got behind the wheel I thought it might even be a 2.0-litre before I’d checked the spec sheet. Its surprising gutsiness chiefly comes down to the breadth of its peak torque plateau, as it stretching all the way out to the 5000rpm mark means there’s far more up top than you’d see in many engines this size.

There is a sense that the engine can be working a bit hard at times, so a little bit more power would be nice to have, but much of this comes down to the CVT zapping more power than a dual-clutch or torque converter auto would. It’s far from the most offensive CVT I’ve come across out there – its simulated manual mode is fairly good, and it does at least pretend to shift through gears when you leave it in Drive and put your foot down – but I still think a more conventional transmission would be more befitting of the premium vibe Honda is trying to strike up.

With that said, Honda’s highly-regarded chassis tuning prowess is clearly on display here, as the CR-V’s ride displays an ideal amount of composure even on poor road surfaces, while its handling is confident and tidy in the way we’ve come to expect from all Hondas by this point. The steering is quite engaging thanks to having a bit more weight to it than most other SUVs as well.

Of particular note is the CR-V”s relatively light weight, with even this kitted-out VTi LX model being on the low side for an SUV this size at 1719kg, and that lightness can certainly be felt in how eager it is to dart around with total compliance on a twisty road. There’s no cumbersome feeling here like you can experience in some other SUVs – this is one that genuinely remembers that the S stands for ‘sport’.

But even in the day-to-day commuting most owners will use these for, it’s a very calming and pleasant drive thanks to the quiet cabin and comfortable ride, which is the biggest testament to the premium aspects of its genetic makeup.

Thanks to the pint-sized engine, Honda claims fuel consumption as low as 7.1L/100km for petrol front-wheel drive models, while this VTi LX is the thirstiest in the range at 7.7L/100km. I managed a return of 8.5L/100km after my 668km of testing which is within a fair range of the claim. Do note that the hybrid RS claims just 5.5L/100km by comparison.

As with all Honda models, the 2024 CR-V is normally covered by a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty, but if you buy one before March 31, 2024 that will be extended to seven years, with complimentary roadside assistance thrown in for the same period.

Although its servicing intervals are on the shorter side, with a visit to the dealer required every 12 months/10,000km, Honda does cap the cost of the first five services to just $199 each which is very affordable compared to many other SUVs.

As with the rest of the brand’s refreshed lineup, Honda has worked its magic on the 2024 CR-V, delivering yet another vehicle which looks and feels every bit as upmarket as the brand is trying to be. Considering the national drive-away pricing, it actually presents itself as strong value despite the no-haggle buying model, and the dirt-cheap running costs only add to that.

The spaciousness and practicality of it only adds to the mix, as it looks big outside and feels it on the inside, yet manages to feel reasonably small and light from behind the wheel. Vehicles like this show Honda doing what it does best.

Sure, there are more affordable options such as the Nissan X-Trail, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4, and Subaru Forester. Only the Mitsi comes close in terms of offering a premium feel, while the Subie comes closest in the ride and handling department, but none offer the full package quite the same way this does. Mind you, there are other variants in the range that offer better value than this VTi LX, but you’re getting a lot for your money whichever way you go.

2024 Honda CR-V VTi LX AWD (5 Seat) Drive-Away Price: $57,000
  • 7.5/10
    Performance - 7.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Ride & Handling - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Tech & Features - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Practicality - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Value for Money - 8/10

Pros: Sleek styling, roomy cabin with a sizeable boot, compliant chassis, very affordable running costs
Cons: There’s better value elsewhere in the range, no 360-degree camera, pricier than some rivals

Full Disclosure: The vehicle tested here was provided by Honda Australia for one week with a full tank of fuel. All additional fuel expenses were covered by the author.

Patrick Jackson
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