Visual Comparison: Has The New Honda CR-V Reached Its Maturity?

Don’t feel bad if you need a guide to spot all the differences between the fifth-gen Honda CR-V and the outgoing model.

Having proven its worth where it counts – on the showroom floors, with 345,647 fourth-generation CR-Vs sold in the U.S. alone last year, Honda took the decision to polish instead of reinvent its compact crossover.

At first glance, the new model’s busy design seems almost identical to its predecessor, to the point that a casual observer might even think that it’s a facelift, but once you delve into the details, it becomes more clear that we’re talking about two separate iterations. Sure, the shape remained the same, but everything else was updated.

The front fascia, for instance, adopted a cleaner look; the fog lamps migrated to the bottom portion of the bumper, while Honda also re-arranged the chromed, contrasting elements in clusters, making the grille more dominant. The air vent below the logo has increased in size, while the headlamps (which appear like they are an extension of the upper grille) contribute to the clean design.

On the side, things are more familiar, with the CR-V rocking almost the same design cues. There’s a chrome strip on the new model, which together with the smaller side mirrors, make it seem more slender. Moreover, the rear quarter panels are more bloated, and separated from the vehicle’s derriere.

Around the back, the CR-V obtained some sportier cues, including more contemporary tail-lamps that now extend horizontally on the tailgate and which represent the biggest design change. It also gets bumper-integrated exhaust pipes and a relocated license plate holder.
Inside, Honda has tried to simplify the design. The climate control functions are still where you’d expect them to be (just above the gear shifter), but everything else was re-arranged. For instance, the clumsy center screen flanked by two air vents has now been replaced with a cleaner screen that governs the entire console, while most users will hail the return of the physical volume knob.

The steering wheel was revised, while the instrument cluster gained digital LCDs. Attesting to the CR-V’s newfound style are the (optional) wood trim inserts and the leather-covered dash.

All in all, Honda took the CR-V to the next level with (what may seem) minor, but effective modifications. It looks like the CR-V is growing along with the segment, and the customers, slowly, but steadily becoming more “serious” as it ages.


  • WG

    The CRV loses its round shape, which is a huge improvement imo… i am not a fan of the interior layout tho

  • Bananarama

    This new model is much cleaner and far from “identical” to the outgoing one. The profile, body contours, and DLO have all changed. It no longer looks like a hunchback with the rear window protruding up so much. I’m very happy with how Honda has gone more conservative and traditional, opting for cleaner detailing and body lines (not Civic-like).

    They’ll continue to sell like gangbusters.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Looks like a RAV4 to me

  • Max

    who the fuck wrote that article? you can clearly see the differences between the two models. The new one looks way better in my opinion. And they did put the physical volume knob back.

    • Althea Later

      What they are saying is that even though it is different, it is still basically the same. They took all the design elements and just moved the lines in different directions. It still has the same basic look.

  • Day_Trader

    Come on guys, either one is uuuuuugly! Barf.

    • Eythan Aldrich

      nope……nobody cares about that you said…….get a paper bag on your head and turn around pal -_-

  • XZKL

    I think the 2017 CR-V is what should have been the fourth generation. If you compare the third-generation and this fifth generation, the design evolution makes sense. Also, I wasn’t expecting this new generation to come up, but then I guess the BR-V is its foreshadow.

  • MarketAndChurch

    The old one is the old Honda… design something awkward, and then spice it up with plastic and chrome as an after-thought. It sort of held consumers hostage: Accept our ugly honda design, because it could always be worse.

    The new one looks like it was designed to be attractive from the onset, even if it has an awkward angle here and there.

    • donald seymour

      What up MarketandChurch, long time no see. I agree with you in every aspect, but the funny thing is the CR-V is one the best selling CUVs out there. I honestly don’t know why people would even buy the previous model but they do, and they buy them like hotcakes.

      • MarketAndChurch

        Great to hear from you Donald! I don’t know, and I don’t think it’s so much an acquired taste for ugly designs… so much as a demand that a vehicle’s design convey first (and foremost) something else other then beauty. Some want to convey frugality and sensibility. Some want their design convey youth or the quirky part of their nature, or a sense that “I don’t take myself too seriously.” Others want to tell others that they’re socially “aware” about political issues, are health-obsessed, or to let others in on the size of their bank account(or the size of their ego).

        It’s not that these things can’t coexist alongside beautiful, inspiring design, but sometimes other people have something more important on their minds that they want to let the world know about themselves, at that point in their life, and they want that certain something to define first and foremost the biggest visual quality of the next car they buy.

  • Incog Nito

    I could not decide which one is uglier..

  • Six_Tymes

    it now looks more Toyota Rav-ish

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    V is way better than IV in every design aspect

  • Bogdan

    OK Bogdan, which is the old one and which is the new one…??
    The one on the LEFT or the one on the RIGHT? Your post does not make it clear…

    You assume everyone here is a car nut well, the Honda CRV is not a vehicle I tend to follow…

    • donald seymour

      Sorry to inform you, but everyone here is a car nut. Not to offend you, but why wouldn’t you know which one is the old one vs which one is the new one? For real? But welcome to Carscoop.

  • diego

    1st Honda with a nice dashboard

  • QRT

    If only it is equipped with the 2.0T like the one appear in the Honda Avancier. Should have just coupled it with conventional 6-speed automatic transmission instead of the CVT (not saying it is not good, Honda has the best CVT in the business so far).

    Thankfully, interior wise it looks rather upscale than the outgoing model but I dislike the location of the gear lever. It should have adopted the high centre console like those in the Civic and HR-V to give it more upscale look (since Honda said, it benchmarked the Volvo XC60 and BMW X3 when they brought this 5th CR-V into R&D).

    Too many chromes too.

    Overall i like the new CR-V and I think it’ll sell well. Well done Honda.

  • Liberty 4 Kids

    Of course the V looks better than the IV. The IV was the ugliest crossover on the road. And it wasn’t even close. But is the V’s design better than other crossovers like the Tuscon or Escape or CX-5 or well, any of the current ones? No

  • stelvio

    Mr. Zoltan needs new glasses.

  • SteersUright

    Well done. Looks far more premium for the money. Not beautiful, but as a mom-mobile or sensible SUV purchase, its probably the most appealing in the segment for many reasons.

  • Bob

    I have a thing for these visual comparisons. If they could be made side-by-side on each picture it would be even better.

  • Maurice

    One of the ugliest cars ever made. Most cars are ugly these days. Manufacturers of all products are clueless.

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