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November 21, 2017

Review: 2018 Honda CR-V SX Diesel AWD 7-Seater

Compact sedans and executive sedans are dying because of one single reason: the compact SUV or crossover segment. Today’s crossovers can now match up with sedans when it comes to refinement, driving manners, and fuel economy while giving heaps of cargo capacity. People see them as truly multipurpose—the one vehicle that fulfills a wide variety of needs for everyone in the family. And among all the choices available out there, the one that fits that bill the best is now the 2018 Honda CR-V SX.

While other crossovers tended to excel in one or two attributes, the CR-V always managed to balance them all. For 2018, Honda has managed to tiptoe nicely on that balance while enhancing every attribute be it in terms of real-world performance, fuel efficiency, flexibility, and comfort.

The most peculiar aspect of the 2018 CR-V is Honda’s decision to fit a diesel engine under the hood. And though fitting an oil burner is a surefire way to sell locally, there are some apprehensions with the CR-V’s engine mainly because of its power output. One hundred twenty horsepower does sound meager, especially since the BR-V matches it; but what the spec sheet doesn’t tell you is how it actually performs.

Far and large, this is the biggest surprise of the 2018 CR-V. No other diesel is as smooth, linear, or easy to drive as this one. The best characteristic of the 1.6-liter i-DTEC is how it can manage to pull all this weight (1,732 kilograms) and feel zippy without needing to rev its heart out. It’s peppy, but in a gasoline sort of way. Instead of having the wind knocked out of you each time you jab the accelerator, the power is delivered gradually like a large displacement gasoline. Driven sensibly, there’s no discernable lag and it can carry 5 adults with little problem. There are some vibrations that make it to the seats and pedals, but nothing major. In fact, the engine’s behavior is reminiscent of BMWs, except it’s far quieter with a lot less rattle.

Along for the ride is a 9-speed automatic that’s well suited to the engine. It’s a lovely piece of work too, shifting seamlessly and quickly. It always hits the right gear at the right time, keeping the engine in perfect harmony. There are paddle shifters and even a Sport mode, but they’re unnecessary. The gearbox is so smart, it actually predicts a downshift a split-second before you need it. Oh, and the gear ratios are so well spread that the revs rarely go beyond 1,700 rpm. The result? 11.28 km/L even in the heaviest of traffic (average speed 13 km/h) and up to 23.33 km/L on the highway (average speed 63 km/h). During 10 days of mixed driving conditions, the final average is 15.22 km/L with an average speed of 28 km/h.

Honda’s made stellar efforts to make the CR-V feel like a truly effortless long-distance cruiser, but it still lacks in one important department: excitement. Ask for a shot of adrenaline, and the CR-V will likely look back at you with a puzzled look: “Huh? You want me to do what?” Yes, progress is there and overtaking is fairly easy, but the overall vibe from the engine won’t exactly light your loins on fire. Oh, and turning the ECON mode off doesn’t seem to make any discernible difference either.

The CR-V’s sensible, attainable performance fits excellently with the rest of the package. It’s truly a family-friendly choice.

For starters, it doesn’t feel so compact anymore. True to form, the CR-V has grown successively larger with each generation and the new one isn’t immune to this trend. In fact, it’s managed to sprout an extra row of seats that increases its maximum capacity to 7. Still, Honda designers have done a great job masking that girth. It’s shapely with muscular fenders and nicely detailed lighting elements front and back. More than once, some people commented that it looks like the “newest Subaru” or newest Mazda”, that’s got to be a compliment, right?

Inside, the 2018 CR-V is thoughtfully laid out. Although the design itself looks messy, the end result is one that’s plush, comfortable, and welcoming. It looks more expensive than its price thanks to the abundance of soft-touch plastics, plush leather, high-gloss piano black accents, and convincingly done matte faux wood.

From the driver’s seat, all the controls and dials are within easy reach and are clearly marked. The LCD gauge cluster make take some time to get used to, but ultimately, they communicate the right information at the right time. Even better is Honda’s decision to finally give its Display Auto system an actual volume knob instead of a fiddly touch sensitive slider. Oh, and it also incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well. Although, it should be noted that the sound quality from the 8-speaker system could be better.

The biggest ergonomic challenge posed by the CR-V is mastery of its push-button shifter and not for the most obvious reason. Having to press buttons does take some getting used to, but admittedly, this becomes second nature after a while (even when you’re trying to make a three-point turn). What’s difficult to adjust to is the one-second delay the electronics needs to move from gear to gear. Sometimes, it makes you double check if you selected the right gear or not.

Despite being classified as a compact SUV, the CR-V’s interior space is actually quite good across all three rows. Without a doubt, the front passengers are treated the best with all the room they could ever need. The rest though will have to learn how to share. Space in the third row is largely dependent on how much legroom those in the second row would be willing to give back. They can opt to get economy class legroom to fit 7 adults or decide to go business class and amputate the legs of those in the back. Aside from seating flexibility, the CR-V is pretty clever too. There’s an abundance of storage spaces across all rows (including a clever re-configurable center console), half a dozen charging ports (2 12-volt sockets and 4 USB ports), and even a two-level rear package shelf.

On the road, the CR-V delivers an experience pretty much suggested by its name: Comfortable Runabout Vehicle. Riding on a new, stiffer platform, it has allowed the suspension to be tuned softer. As a result, it delivers a well-sorted experience with a firm, but compliant ride and controlled behavior. It also returns a very smooth ride with good straight-line stability. The all-around independent suspension filters out road imperfections to a tee while still being delightfully fun to toss around.

That said, don’t expect the CR-V to be a sporty crossover; that portion of the segment has largely been ceded to the Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester XT. In fact, it’s more focused on the destination than on the next corner. With that, the variable-ratio steering may offer a feeling of sharpness, but it remains too artificial.

The SX Diesel variant is also equipped with Honda’s Real Time AWD system. Hardware changes allow more power to be sent to the rear axle, and you can monitor that in real time on the digital gauge cluster. There aren't any settings for the all-wheel-drive system: it’s always on, and automatically chooses which wheels to spin. In other words, it’s a set-and-forget system which makes perfect sense for the typical CR-V owner.

Together with the AWD system is a suite of safety technology collectively known as Honda SENSING. It contains systems such as collision mitigation, lane- and road-departure mitigation, active cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. Overall, it’s great but there are some parts of system which require some tweaking for the Philippine setting. The Forward Collision Mitigation, for example, gives far too many false alarms, even in its least sensitive setting. Thankfully, it can be shut off completely. This new version also comes with a Driver Attention Assist which senses if you’re tired or not paying attention (you’ll get a coffee cup icon on the dash reminding you to take a rest). Interestingly, the CR-V makes do without any blind-spot warning system. Instead, it gets LaneWatch which displays an image from the right side of the car on the central LCD screen.

The arrival of the 2018 Honda CR-V signals yet another nail in the coffin for traditional compact sedans and executive sedans. Not only does it offer true passenger car comfort, it does so while upping the game on flexibility and of course, fuel efficiency. Naturally, with a diesel engine and 7 seats, it’s aiming for the heart of the mass market—a segment also occupied by much larger PPVs or Pickup-based Passenger Vehicles. Of course, in the end, they offer opposing values. Those who aren’t into hardcore off-roading or towing (a.k.a. the vast majority of the population), will find the CR-V to be all the family car they’ll ever need. It’s now currently the best of the breed.

2018 Honda CR-V SX Diesel AWD
Ownership 2018 Honda CR-V SX Diesel i-DTEC AWD
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.6
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 120 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 300 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 9 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive w/ Low Speed Follow
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 11.26 km/L @ 13 km/h,
23.3 km/L @ 63 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,571
Width (mm) 1,855
Height (mm) 1,667
Wheelbase (mm) 2,660
Curb Weight (kg) 1,732
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Struts
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Michelin Primacy 3 ST 235/60 R 18 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front and Rear with Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Lane Keep Assist
Lane Departure Warning
Road Departure Mitigation
Front Collision Warning
Collision Mitigation Braking
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Driver Attention Monitor
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row); 50/50 (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Automatic, Dual Zone (front),
Manual with Vents (rear)
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 8
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Pretty good SUV for old people and women who drive slow

    1. Its faster than a 2.4L fortuner that's for sure.

    2. They're after the same market

    3. Just talk if you can afford a Ferrari....

      Shut up if you can't

  2. how is the brake hold system?

    1. it tends to apply the hold even if you are not at full stop so it sometimes surprises you. Hopefully they can tweak it

  3. Just add a little more and you'll get the CX-5 Skyactiv diesel that offers more power, luxury and quality compared to Honda's overpriced product. 175hp w/420nm of torque vs the CRV's pitiful 120hp and 300nm of torque and the CX-5 is still significantly lighter by 64kg. The interior plastic and leather quality is not as good as in the Mazda. And being priced at more than 2m with a mediocre sound system is a no no. The only thing that I like in the CRV is the panoramic sunroof.

    1. If you want a better value diesel CRV, get the model priced at 1.7M. Yeah I agree this is overpriced at 2M, but at 1.7M its acceptable although not the best value for money.

    2. is cx-3 a 7 seater ?

  4. Where that crackhead who can't start a sentence without a LMAO

  5. Sportage will knock the socks of this weak ass CRV and it starts at only 1.3m without the generous discounts. LMAO

    1. Nah nipis ng kaha ng Kia. No thanks!

  6. Hi Uly,

    Will you review the 2.0 Cvt also? The 5-seater is enough for some people and has a bigger cargo area.

    1. We don't want to look like a CR-V website hahaha, but yes, we'll line up the 2.0 too.

  7. Honda only wants ur money. They can sell a Honda City at 1.7M if they want. putting on the simplest turbo and few accessories. Bang! City type R? S? V?

  8. I hope they come up with a diesel HRV as well!

  9. 120 hp for 2+ million. Honda is getting ahead of itself. The awd is grossly overpriced. It's robbery. The V would've been worth a look but Honda thought it's too cheap so they remove navigation and put a teeny weenie head unit. That's 1.6 million without navigation. What a dick Honda is.

  10. Comparisons to the Santa Fe have been glaringly omitted. Pretty obvious since it's been doing what this new CRV can do for the past 4 years. Only difference is the Santa Fe does it better.

    1. Its not even a fair comparison. Santa Fe is a 200hp 440nm beast while the CRV has the power of an subcompact accent.

  11. Sir Uly please make an article about the Ford Ranger Raptor coming here in the Philippines next year. I want to hear your thoughts about it too. Thank you.


      This is the only info we have thus far.

  12. This Honda CRV is for family oriented owner. The power will be sufficient for Philippine Road condition specially at the Metro. I think this is the future and will be the benchmark of upcoming SUVs. Later we will see PPVs and Korean SUVs with digital cluster, Button type shifter, LED headlights, etc. I will still choose to buy the SX model than other korean counterparts and PPVs na nagkalat sa kalsada. My CRV is a headturner and most vehicle on the road checkout my car. Pinagbibigyan ako sa road para pagmasdan.

    1. Wow daig pa pala ng CRV ang Range Rover at G-class!

    2. LMAO. klaro na salesman ng Honda tong si Ano1043

  13. Fuel economy is good! I wonder how does it perform when loaded with 7 people? Or even 5? Will it be as efficient?

    1. We partially drove it with 5 passengers. I would think efficiency and performance will go down with 5 or 7 people...

  14. Sir Uly, I hope you will also do reviews for the 2.0S variant. Thanks.

    1. Yes, will do. We'll just space it out because we can't have too many CR-V 😂

    2. Am also curious whether the CRV's 2.0 cvt is adequate for Philippine city roads and highways

    3. looking forward too for the 2.0 S review! :)

  15. Will you recommend this to buyers looking at the Fortuner, Montero, Everest, Trailblazer, mu-X and the like? For at most city use and occasional out of town family trips.

    I get that they're not really on the same segment but can't help to compare since diesel and 7 seats. Space on the 3rd row won't be much of an issue as the 2 seats will also be for occasional use.

  16. I'm quite surprised that it has a full alloy spare tire instead of a space saver.

  17. Stop criticizing and making baseless assumptions if you haven't driven one yet.

  18. Its a sad state Honda's products lineup right now. All of their cars except for the Civic RS are slow. Puro na lang ricers kanilang kotse.

  19. No, thank you. I'm waiting for the arrival of the new Subaru Forester and the new Hyundai Sta. Fe. Lol

  20. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is just a 5 seater SUV in developed countries. So if you put and additional row of seats (make it a 7 seater) it would compromised the safety of those seating in the 3rd row.

    1. No. Not exactly. It was engineered from the get go to offer a three row option for developing markets such as the Philippines. This was presented to us by a Japanese executive of Honda during its local launch.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Can you add seats to the 2.0S variant? What about removing the rear seats of the 7 seater Diesel variants? Is it possible?

  21. Just drove a 2018 7 seater turbo diesel CRV V yesterday. Matulin. Ganda ng handling. Pero over priced ang Honda talaga. Dagdag bayad sa pangalan.

  22. Well, just drove it one.. The ride is somehow good, you're like driving a sedan(closer to the ground).. 9 speed of only 120hp, that makes CRV fuel eco, coz you're not getting more rev... Hmmm.. I don't think so... The urethane dshboard not leather, the gear shift button(that makes me feel playing a car racing from timezone), and the price of 2M++. It's not worth it... �� ... I rather buy midsize SUV, mauUber o magaGrab ko pa!

  23. Would you know if the diesel CRVs have a diesel particle/particulate filter installed? I read somewhere that having one would require you to run the car at 60-80kph for a hour every fortnight..

  24. Weak engine, period.

  25. There is no getting around that weak engine of this SUV.

  26. I drive the CR-V SX variant and I find the power to be adequate. In the city where traffic is everywhere, I have no complaints and actually enjoy the driving comfort it provides. I use Low Speed Follow all the time in EDSA and believe me, you will love it when you feel less tired when you reach your destination. In the highway though, if you feel the need to overtake and go berserk, better switch to Sports mode so the engine reaches higher revs before upshifting and you won't feel power-deprived. I let a skeptic friend of mine drive it and got the last laugh when he said "matulin nga.."
    Lastly, I won't go challenge every car I see on the road to a race so I don't mind the 120 hp engine. Bottom line, I'm happy with my car and I think it can kick a PPV's butt to a sprint when challenged :)

    1. Yeah, the CRV SX AWD is no slouch. It's a wonder how Honda engineered such car. It really doesn't fee like having a 120hp engine.

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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