14 April 2021

Used Car Review: Honda CR-V (2012)

Back in 2012 we reviewed the Honda CR-V, and at the time it was great value for a light SUV. In fact, Honda arguably helped set the trend for compact SUVs when they first released the CR-V back in the mid-nineties.

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Honda CR-V 2012
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Honda CR-V 2012
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Honda CR-V 2012
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Honda CR-V 2012
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Honda CR-V 2012

The CR-V sold well around the globe, and in 2012 the fourth-generation was released to the New Zealand market. At the time, the SUV segment was the largest at 26 per cent. Since then, SUV sales have continued to soar and now hold a huge 43 per cent share.

But how does the Honda CR-V stack up now, nine years after it was released?

At the time the equivalent CR-V model was priced at $39,900 (+ORC) for the 2.0-litre NZ-new model – today, the new entry level model’s price will set you back $40,990 (+ORC), which isn’t bad if you take into account inflation.

Our used test model was listed at $19,985 (+ORC). Which demonstrates it holds its value well for a nine-year-old car.

Click here to read our new car review of the CRV back in 2012.

Dimensions and look

The fourth-gen CR-V we reviewed was a Japanese used import. It differed slightly in features, the most notable of which was that the NZ-new model never received the CVT transmission. Cosmetically, however, the car is the same and offers a very similar driving experience.

The 2012 CR-V was not a dramatic change from the previous generation, but its overall dimensions were reduced significantly to a length of 4,535mm and a width of 1,820mm.

Design cues like the tail lights found cascading along the D pillar were maintained from the previous model, but the front received a more cohesive appearance, with revised headlights cocooned by a restrained grille. Our model also sported front fog lights, finished in a double chrome garnish.

Dark grey protective plastic trim extends across the lower door paneling and over the wheel arches - a feature that we see now across the current Mazda SUV range. This adds a robust look to the model and gives it a more off-road appearance, despite this particular test model being front wheel drive.

Smart Spaces

The interior of the CR-V has been carefully constructed to make very good use of the space available. While it’s by no means a premium vehicle, the fit and finish is of a high standard and the materials have been chosen carefully – all of the switches and dials feel purposeful, well thought out and, perhaps most importantly, they have endured the test of time.

There is an upper display mounted in the dashboard that displays economy, music information, as well as the reversing camera. From the steering wheel, you can control both the radio and cruise control.

The infotainment system has all the usual Japanese infotainment fare which can be troublesome for many in New Zealand, however it is partially in English and it is still possible to use the satellite navigation with a bit of trial and error.

Storage-wise, you get two cup holders and two bottle holders in the front, and a large concertina bin that has a USB charging port and an old fashioned RCA video audio input. There’s also a small area of storage under the dashboard and an appropriately-sized glovebox. The one handy feature which this particular model missed was the built-in picnic table that we’ve seen in the NZ-new model.

There’s a copious amount of rear legroom on offer, and there’s a generous storage capacity of 589-litres, which is 65-litres more than the previous model offered. At the touch of a lever, you can fold down the ingenious 60:40 seats into a completely flat area to increase the luggage capacity to a huge 1,146-liters.

We also found a nifty mini cargo net in the left rear of the CR-V to prevent things like bottles from rolling about in the back – this is just another one of the many thoughtful touches that we found scattered around the cabin.

Smooth yet confident

The acronym CR-V is said to be short for Comfortable Runabout Vehicle and we can attest to this; this model cruised along very happily, and in ‘Eco mode’ the revs were kept to a minimum – the Honda CR-V gets the job done in getting you from A to B.

Interestingly, dependent on your driving style, the surround of the central speedometer changes its hue to further promote frugal driving.

In the corners, the 2012 Honda CR-V didn’t seem to roll a great deal and retains some ‘Civic-like’ characteristics and remains composed. We recently reviewed a newer Nissan Qashqai and the CR-V generally felt more engaging and planted through the corners.

The CR-V we tested was powered by the R20A engine - a very solid unit that has been produced by Honda for some time with a 2-litre capacity and a power output of 110kW at 6,200rpm. Fuel consumption was fairly good for a vehicle of this class – the CR-V is rated at 6.49-6.94L/100km. Considering its age, the 2012 CR-V’s CO2 rating isn’t too bad either at 161.2g/km.

Unlike the NZ-new model, this Japanese import features a modern CVT transmission which offers a smoother ride compared to the conventional five-speed automatic which we tested upon release.


So, is the 2012 Honda CR-V still a good buy? Well, it’s still not a bad buy at all nine years on and, as usual, Honda quality has meant that this vehicle still functions well. It really is a great all-rounder.

The CR-V was (and still is) Honda’s answer to the Toyota RAV4 and one worth considering if you’re in the market for a used SUV.

At a glance

Model and year

Honda CR-V (2012)



Date Tested



$19,985 (+ORC)





Fuel economy, CO2

6.5-7.0L/100km, 161g/km

Towing capacity




Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

589-litres (all seats up), 1,146-litres (seats down)

Safety features include:

  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Airbags
  • ESC
  • Cruise Control
  • Traction Control
  • Keyless Entry
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Eco mode

For more information on safety ratings visit rightcar.govt.nz

Choosing your next used car?

An AA Preferred Dealer is a Motor Vehicle Trader that has been certified to meet our standards of quality. We recommend that anyone looking to buy a used car visits an AA Preferred Dealer. Our series of checks on used cars gives drivers peace of mind that the used car they’re interested in buying isn’t hiding any secrets.

Click here to find out more about our AA Preferred Dealer network.

If you don’t have an AA Preferred Dealer near you, find a used vehicle that has had an AA Appraisal. Cars that have had an AA Appraisal have received a 43-point mechanical check by the AA, which focuses on the mechanical and safety aspects of the car and gives an overall evaluation of the vehicle.

Click here to learn more about AA Appraisals.

Get total peace of mind with an AA Pre Purchase Inspection

When you buy a used car, you may have a number of questions about its condition and safety. An independent AA Pre Purchase Vehicle Inspection will give you complete peace of mind with a comprehensive 100+ point vehicle check by an experienced mechanic.

Click here for more information on AA Pre Purchase Inspections

Thank you to City Motor Group for supplying us with the 2012 Honda CR-V for review. For similar listings, click here.


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