Published on November 28th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


6th Gen Honda CR-V Is The Best Looking CR-V Since The 1st Gen Model

The latest Honda CR-V in an undeniably good looking SUV and possibly the best looking CR-V ever.

The Honda CR-V has been on sale since the mid-1990s and has been available locally since before Honda Malaysia officially set up office. It’s clear Malaysians loved the original model and have continued to enjoy its practicality as the nameplate grew and evolved over the last 3 decades.

Two weeks ago, we were in Thailand testing out the latest 6th generation CR-V ahead of its local launch. While we were impressed with the new e:HEV model, we couldn’t help but notice that even without the RS bodykit this all-new CR-V was undeniably the best looking in the segment.

It’s the most proportionate and clean the CR-V has been since the original model.

Returning To A Clean Design

The original Honda CR-V featured an evergreen design with perfect proportions. It was compact yet practical with high ground clearance, minimal use of chrome (particularly in the UK-spec model), and it blended just the right amount of off-roader utility in a package that could be maneuvered in the city like a large Honda hatchback.

The spare tyre was mounted on the rear and the rear windscreen needed to be opened upward first before the tailgate could be swung open.

I honestly don’t think any subsequent CR-V has come close to matching the original’s charm and balanced looks. That being said it was tiny by modern standards and subsequent generations have focused on customer pain points leading to a much larger, more “livable” SUV that put practicality first and looks second. The CR-V went from having an adventurous spirit to becoming a focused on urban mobility – and that’s fair, as no customer was going to take their CR-V off-road.

Over the years the spare tyre got hidden away, the ground clearance was lowered for ease of entry, the split tailgate was done away with, and the walk-through centre made way for an immovable armrest. The CR-V went from being a focused product to serving its many customers and the design was pulled in many directions leading to a car that never quite turned heads.

No one, myself included, expects the CR-V to return to its roots, but the CR-V’s proportions and lines haven’t been as tidy since the original. Until now. The 6th generation CR-V is a return to serious design discipline for Honda. Every character line on the CR-V is purposeful. Chrome has been deleted on everything but the badge and exhaust tips. Curves are precise and logical, leading to an undeniably handsome premium urban SUV look.

The interior too is more mature and car-like. Unlike previous iterations, the gear selector is finally where it ought to be – above the centre tunnel. There are, admittedly, fewer cubby holes than before, but the selection is still satisfactory. The trade off is of course a much neater cabin with more ambition and focus. Even the wood trim finish has been reworked with a darker shade and a more natural grain.

Truly, the CR-V is the best it has looked since the original came out nearly 3 decades ago.

2024 Honda CR-V Design vs current rivals

The latest CR-V has a lot of competition right now. The Chinese and Koreans have some undoubtably good looking options, and of course there’s the X70 soldiering on for another year without a much needed “Boyue Pro” overhaul. That being said, the CR-V’s contemporary Japanese rivals have kind of… given up. Toyota pulled the RAV4 from Malaysia almost as soon as they launched it. The Mitsubishi Outlander has evaporated from showrooms without a replacement. Meanwhile the Nissan X-Trail’s replacement too has yet to arrive here. The Mazda CX-5 is still a very handsome SUV with sufficient demand but even that is in need of an update as the last generational change was about 6 years ago now.

Honda CR-V 6th generation e:HEV in white front

With all that in mind, we’re pretty sure the Honda CR-V is going to be the best looking SUV in its segment.

Wait, That’s A Familiar Look

Without a doubt, the new Honda CR-V’s design was inspired by premium rivals like the Volvo XC60 and the BMW X1. While it’s not a completely original design, we have to say it’s the most proportionate and elegant the CR-V has been in a long time.

From the rear, the design inspiration is quite difficult to deny. However, the front end looks a little more original. It’s a trendy look that combines the grille with an oversized mesh pattern, gloss black accent strips, headlights and daytime running lights all in one continuous brushstroke. We’ve seen it pulled off in larger contemporaries, like the Kia Sorento – another equally handsome SUV.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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