I like a higher driving position, so recently decided to change my 2013 Hyundai i30 for this nearly-new CRV. Haven't had it long, but test-drove extensively before buying this one; also tried the older model, but the latest model is better all round, in my view. I don't see any UK reviews of the petrol auto on this site, so I hope this is of some use.
I'm still in the honeymoon period and we'll see how it goes over time, but I really like it!
Let's deal with the performance first: This is NOT a quick car! If you are a hoon/journo/rep or similar, you will NOT like it! If you are 'older' and like a peaceful journey, you will. Having said that, it'll hold a motorway cruise with ease.
Using the 'econ' button (and I leave it on) affects the throttle response (and climate control, I believe) to the extent that if you've set the cruise control at say, 55mph, then enter/exit a roundabout, then press the 'resume' button, the car will VERY gently accelerate back to 55. You wonder if it'll ever get there and I wouldn't recommend if you're in a line of traffic; better to throttle it up to 55 or you'll annoy people behind you! However, for empty roads and if you're really after maximum economy, it can be done.
Otherwise, the auto gearbox changes but you don't notice it, the drivetrain is smooth and the car is quiet on a cruise. Probably noisier if you boot it, but I don't drive like that. According to the onboard computer, the economy has seen 37.7 MPG best so far, but I haven't done any long motorway trips yet. And of course, how accurate is the computer? (More accurate than the clock, I hope - the only fault I can find so far!). But even if it's a few MPG out, that's still pretty good for this engine/box, I think.
Handling: In my non-professional opinion, I'd say it's a bit sloppy. Does it bother me? Absolutely not! Light steering and a relaxed driving style suits me fine.
The ride on the 17" SE wheels is better than the 18" SR and EX models, which is one reason I bought it. In truth, it's not magic carpet - I'd say it's no better than the i30 - but the general serenity in the cabin, plus the thick, soft seats, make the ride quality SEEM more relaxed. It'll still thump/jolt through pot holes, though, and you can hear/feel joints in the road - so try before you buy!
Honda claim this car is 3dB quieter than the old one. Having driven both, it probably is - an impression helped by a less 'agricultural' feel in general. Refinement is certainly very impressive on a cruise (at any legal speed). Road noise is a huge improvement over the i30. Yes, you CAN hear the difference in road surface when it changes, but it's not intrusive.
Build quality: Generally faultless - very pleased! All I could criticise is the quality of some dash plastics. I managed to put a slight scratch on the section above the glove box, just with a fingernail. Hope to be able to polish this out, but will have to be careful with this in future. Not really in keeping with a £27k car, to be honest. Other plastics are soft-ish touch on dash/doors, with padded cloth on the armrests etc.
Although the seats are a little short in the squab (no worse than many others, though), they have proved comfortable for me. The cloth is comfortable but hard to hoover - perhaps I need a better hoover! The front centre armrest isn't an improvement over the individual folding armrest if you actually want to use it as an armrest while steering - it's a bit too low - but it is usable otherwise. Pity we don't get the American seats, which retain the individual armrests. If you're used to the old car (which had them), you may be disappointed with this.
Space: Great except for oddment space. The glove box is OK for gloves, but not much else. The centre box under the armrest and the door pockets aren't huge. Depends how much junk you carry, I suppose! There is however, plenty of space where the spacesaver wheel goes, and the general boot/cabin space should prove enough for anyone in the market for a car this size. The neat rear seat folding mechanism is useful, too.
I have to say that this is the first secondhand car I've bought in 20 years, but it doesn't disappoint at all. It's an ex-Honda-owned car sourced by my local Honda dealer (great service) and I'm so far very confident it'll be as good as a new car. We'll see...!