Honda CR-V Reliability by Year: Best and Worst Years

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The Honda CR-V is one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market. As a top-seller for Honda, the CR-V combines practicality, efficiency, comfort and the brand’s reputation for reliability.

But how reliable is the Honda CR-V, really?

After analyzing expert reviews and poring through owner reports for each model year, the short answer is yes, the Honda CR-V scores well on predicted and actual reliability ratings. However, there are some model years with more problems reported than others.

In this detailed guide, we will explore Honda CR-V reliability over time, uncover the most common issues, and see how reliability ratings and reviews compare to competitors like the Toyota RAV4.

Specific aspects covered include:

  • Honda CR-V overview and key specs by year
  • Expected reliability by model year from 2023 to 2017
  • Common Honda CR-V problems reported each year
  • Major recalls impacting safety and reliability
  • How maintenance costs and longevity compare to similar SUVs
  • Recommendations for the most and least reliable CR-V model years

After reviewing this comprehensive analysis, you’ll have a clear picture of Honda CR-V reliability by year along with smart guidance to help pick the best model year when buying used.

Honda CR-V Overview

First arriving in the mid-1990s, the Honda CR-V helped originate the small crossover SUV segment combining a car-like ride with available AWD and ample cargo room.

Now in its 5th generation as of 2017, Honda’s top-selling SUV aims to compete with segment leaders like the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 by emphasizing excellent passenger space, fuel efficiency, popular features and Honda’s reputation for dependability over decades.

But does reliability actually live up to expectations across all model years? Let’s find out…

How Reliable Is the Honda CR-V by Year?

While Honda as a brand is known for reliability, actual dependability varies slightly by model generation and year.

To quantify Honda CR-V reliability by year, we’ll look at expert assessments like the respected J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study which measures problems reported in the past 12 months by owners of 3-year old vehicles.

We’ll also analyze mechanical issues and PainRank scores reported by owners to Consumer Reports for each model year to uncover real-world reliability trends.

2023 Honda CR-V Reliability Preview

  • Predicted Reliability Score: 4 / 5
  • J.D. Power VDS Rating: Not Yet Rated

While we don’t have concrete dependability ratings for the redesigned 2023 CR-V, early reviews predict very good reliability on par with Honda’s standards. Updated features and no significant changes to powertrain options also hint the latest model year should continue long-term mechanical dependability.


  • Introduces hybrid option for improved MPG
  • Fresh interior and updated tech
  • Similar underlying mechanical components to past years


  • Some growing pains expected with a new generation
  • Continuously variable transmission remains polarizing

Clearly the 2023 refresh aims to build on the CR-V’s appeal while maintaining Honda’s reputation. But the latest tech does introduce the risk of some early issues. We expect the hybrid model to outscore gas versions thanks to the proven, efficient eCVT transmission.

Overall, predict 2023 CR-V reliability on par with top years at around 4 out of 5.

2022 Honda CR-V Reliability Issues & Recalls

  • J.D. Power VDS Rating: 81 / 100
  • PainRank Score: 3.79 / 5
  • Common Issues: Climate system, infotainment glitches, excessive oil consumption

As a late model year of the 5th generation before the 2023 refresh, the 2022 CR-V continues very good predicted and actual reliability following last year’s high scores.

Oil dilution from short trips remains an ongoing issue with the 1.5L Turbo as cold starts prevent full burn off leading to gas mixing with oil over time. Premature brake wear is also occasionally reported.

Beyond that, most problems relate more to tech glitches with climate controls or Honda Sensing driving aids rather than mechanical deficiencies or safety issues.

  • Safety Recalls in 2022:
    • Passenger airbag may not properly inflate
    • Rear seat belt brackets can detach in crash

With impressive owner satisfaction and an average 31.7 MPG combined, the 2022 CR-V makes a very dependable used model balancing efficiency, value and Honda’s lingering CVT transmission questions.

2021 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

  • J.D. Power VDS Rating: 86 / 100
  • PainRank: 4.01 / 5
  • Common Issues: Oil overfill problems with 1.5L Turbo, infotainment freezes, A/C compressor failures

Scoring the highest marks since this 5th generation debuted in 2017, the 2021 Honda CR-V shows very impressive reliability and owner satisfaction. This represents a big jump over early years of this model plagued with widespread issues.

While not drastically redesigned since 2020, Honda did work out many of the kinks troubling past model years leading to much smoother operation. Lingering problems remain mainly with the finicky turbocharged engine in certain conditions.

Beyond that occasional issue, expert assessments find the 2021 CR-V as Honda’s most dependable compact crossover in years minus the hybrid version.

2020 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

  • J.D. Power VDS: 83 / 100
  • PainRank: 3.58 / 5
  • Common Issues: Oil mixing with gasoline in 1.5L Turbo engine, CVT transmission shuddering, infotainment freezing requiring reset

The 2020 model year shows a definite improvement over early 5th generation models thanks to software updates and manufacturing tweaks addressing past problems.

While the 1.5L turbo engine continues showing some oil dilution concerns from short trips, an extended warranty update from Honda offers some peace of mind. Aside from that lingering issue and a few minor electronic gremlins, the 2020 CR-V rebounded well as a used model.

  • Safety Recalls in 2020:
    • Major recall for faulty fuel pump (633k vehicles)
    • Passenger airbag deployment issues

Despite a few persistent problems carried over from the 2018 and 2019, J.D. Power found the 2020 model takes a large step forward in long-term quality versus past years. This makes the 2020 CR-V a solid improvement if you find a good deal but still check service records for the fuel pump recall completion.

2019 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

  • J.D. Power Predicted Dependability: 3 / 5
  • PainRank: 2.3 / 5
  • Common issues: Engine stalling, infotainment glitches, turbo oil dilution

The 2019 model year unfortunately continues problems introduced with the full redesign of the 5th generation CR-V. Lower than expected reliability stems primarily from a rocky launch plagued with programming issues.

Key trouble areas involve the turbo engine stalling, electronic glitches like frozen screens and poor smartphone integration, and the polarizing CVT automatic transmission amplifying powertrain issues. These likely stem from issues with the computerized torque control system managing power delivery rather than pure mechanical deficiencies.

While Honda did issue some software updates to fix stalling and hesitations, many owners report lingering problems persisting through this model year leading to poor reliability versus class leaders.

Consider passing on the problematic 2019 CR-V unless you find one with extensive service records showing software updates completed.

2018 Honda CR-V Reliability Issues

  • J.D. Power Predicted Dependability Rating: 2.5 / 5
  • PainRank: 2.43 / 5
  • Most reported issues: Engine stalling, infotainment problems, oil dilution with 1.5L Turbo

The debut model year of the fully redesigned 5th generation CR-V suffers the worst reliability and highest rate of owner issues reported to CR.

The main culprits involve the new turbocharged 1.5L engine stalling along with electronic gremlins from the integrated computer torque vectoring system. Many problems require repeat dealer trips to attempt fixes with software updates.

Automatic CVT transmission shuddering and sudden downshifts also amplify powertrain issues given excess torque overloads. All trim lines show problems but high spec engines and electronics suffer most with stalling turbo motors.

While Honda did extend the powertrain warranty for 2018-2020 models due to stalling concerns, resale values and owner satisfaction remain low for this troublesome model year.

Unless you find an ultra discounted late build 2018 CR-V with all updates applied, best to avoid this model plague by teething issues from the redesign.

2017 and Earlier Honda CR-V Reliability

  • Average PainRank: 3.63 / 5
  • Common Issues: Oil leaks as engines age, rust prone rear subframes in cold climates

Proving Honda’s longstanding reputation for reliable and practical compact SUVs, model years of the previous 4th generation CR-V from 2012-2016 score well for only minor issues.

Earlier years show CV joint failures, brake wear, and A/C compressor problems typical of aging vehicles. But no prevalent powertrain issues emerge when maintained properly beyond 150k+ miles.

Comparing the 5th and 4th generations shows clearly improved reliability and owner satisfaction for model years before and after the 2018 full redesign. PainRank data analyzing repair frequency firmly indicates it took until 2021 for the current generation CR-V to work out kinks that eroded Honda’s stellar reputation.

Key Honda CR-V Specs by Year

Review key specs like fuel economy ratings, dimensions and powertrain options for CR-V model years highlighted:

YearMPG City/HwyLengthWidthEngine Options
2023TBA182.1″73″1.5L Turbo, Hybrid
202228 / 34180.6”73”1.5L Turbo, 2.4L
202128 / 34180.6”73”1.5L Turbo, 2.4L
202027 / 32180.6”73”1.5L Turbo, 2.4L
201928 / 34179.9”73”1.5L Turbo, 2.4L
201828 / 34179.9”73”1.5L Turbo, 2.4L
201726 / 32179.9”73”2.4L

2023 Honda CR-V Reliability Preview

As discussed earlier when analyzing CR-V reliability by year, the 2023 model ushers in a complete redesign. However, dependability and satisfaction ratings remain unclear for the latest 6th generation.

Given Honda’s reputation and lack of significant mechanical changes beyond adding a hybrid powertrain option, we expect reliability on par with top years around 4 out of 5 from J.D. Power. The hybrid’s proven eCVT transmission should help minimize issues that plagued the gas model’s CVT gearbox.

Early reviews praise the updated technology, more refined ride and improved fuel efficiency especially for the hybrid CR-V. Equipment levels also match or exceed rivals like the RAV4 depending on trim.

Just be aware it remains an all-new model so launch year gremlins are still a possibility even from trustworthy Honda. But all signs point to competitive or class-leading dependability carrying on the CR-V’s long history.

Consider the 2023 an excellent choice but run any used models you find through a full pre-purchase inspection before buying.

2022 Honda CR-V Reliability Issues & Recalls

As mentioned in our analysis of CR-V issues by year, the 2022 model avoids major mechanical problems but does see a few tech glitches and minor recalls:

  • Some climate control and radio bugs requiring resets
  • 1.5L turbo oil overfill and dilution concerns continuing
  • Unusual brake wear in first 20,000 miles

Honda also issued two small recalls in 2022 for:

  • Passenger front airbag potentially under-inflating
  • Second row outboard seat belt brackets detaching in crashes

With an impressive 81 out of 100 J.D. Power dependability score and avg 4+ owner rating, the penultimate model year of this generation makes a smart, reliable used CR-V choice.

Just be diligent when test driving for any signs of transmission shuddering from the polarizing CVT gearbox or turbo engine oil issues.

2021 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

Marking a high point for 5th generation dependability, the 2021 CR-V achieves Honda’s best compact crossover reliability ratings in recent years.

Scoring an outstanding 86 / 100 in J.D. Power’s vehicle dependability study, owners report fewer mechanical and electronic issues after previous model years worked out most gremlins.

Any lingering problems relate more to small glitches versus outright failures:

  • Some 1.5L turbo engines still vulnerable to oil overfill and gas dilution during short trips
  • Touchscreen freezing requiring operating system reboot
  • Rapid A/C compressor failures in certain climate conditions

With Hond’s updates to address past concerns, you can shop used 2021 CR-Vs with more confidence in avoided repeat visits and long-term ownership costs. This makes the 2021 a smart model year for high dependability minus the early production woes seen in 2018-2020 editions.

Just be pickier on pre-purchase inspections and make sure any lingering recalls completed before buying given inflated used car prices.

2020 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

The 2020 CR-V model year represents a nice improvement over problematic 2018 and 2019 editions in terms of reliability. Updates to torque control systems and infotainment software reduce two of the most prevalent owner complaints.

However, Consumer Reports still receives higher than average trouble reports for:

  • Engine hesitation and stalling issues, especially with the turbo
  • CVT transmission shuddering from torque overloads
  • Oil overfilling and dilution concerns with 1.5L turbo engines
  • Poor smartphone integration with Honda infotainment

While not stellar, the overall picture proves better than past years plagued by bugs introduced with the full redesign. As Honda worked out some kinks, the 2020 CR-V becomes a more dependable used model if you find a nicely equipped version with lower miles.

Reliability does stay a step behind options like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester that avoided similar new model issues. But nicer examples with detailed service history make the 2020 CR-V a reasonable value buy.

Just remain vigilant for proper completion of the major outstanding fuel pump recall before driving any used 2020 off the lot.

2019 Honda CR-V Reliability Rating

Unfortunately, the 2019 model year represents the low point for 5th generation CR-V dependability based on higher than average problems reported by owners in key areas:

  • Engine stalling and hesitation: Particularly with the 1.5L Turbo, stalling and poor torque control plague the 2019. Numerous complaints sent to NHTSA with multiple dealer failed attempts unable to resolve despite software updates. Likely the result of issues with integrated computer-controlled systems managing engine and transmission operation. Most issues emerge when accelerating between 30-60 mph.
  • Infotainment freezes and glitches: Buggy operation of the Display Audio touchscreen standard on EX+ models requires multiple resets with screens freezing often. Slow recognition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay also frustrate owners.
  • Excess oil consumption with turbo motors: Affecting 1 out of 6 owners in CR’s surveys, the 1.5L turbo fails to properly burn oil during short trips resulting in rising consumption over time along with gas dilution.

Clearly the numerous powertrain and electronics issues dragging down reliability makes the 2019 CR-V a risky model year to buy used unless you find one with impeccable service history.

2018 Honda CR-V Reliability Issues

As the first model year of the fully redesigned 5th generation CR-V, 2018 versions predictably suffer more problems as Honda worked out kinks and bugs with the new architecture.

In fact, the 2018 model year records the lowest reliability scores and owner satisfaction for any Honda CR-V dating back to 1997 when it debuted.

The two primary trouble areas involve:

  • 1.5L Turbo engine stalling or hesitating: Computer-managed torque vectoring systems seem to overwhelm drivetrains in certain conditions leading to stalling. Most prevalent when accelerating between 30-60 mph with A/C on, issues require multiple trips for reflashing ECU as Honda gradually issued software updates.
  • Infotainment freezes and reboots: The updated Display Audio interface looks slick but proves buggy with slow recognition of Android/Apple phones. Entire system commonly freezes completely requiring operating system reboot.

Other issues like excessive brake wear, CVT belt shudder and rapid battery discharge amplify problems for an overall terrible year hampered by the redesign growing pains.

Unless you find a rock bottom deal on a late build 2018 CR-V with all software updates applied, best to avoid this troublesome year as Honda eventually extended the powertrain warranty to reassure frustrated owners.

Sticking with previous 4th generation models or waiting until more recent years sees a return to expected Honda dependability proves the wise move.

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