Is there anything interesting about its design?
One thing you’ll notice immediately is that, at least from the outside, it’s genuinely hard to tell the CR-V Vi is a base-model. There are no steel wheels as you'll see on the RAV4 GX, no plastic hubcaps like the Tucson Go's, no naff black plastic doorhandles or wing-mirrors, The Vi greets you with almost all the visual splendour of a $16k more expensive top-spec VTi-LX.
The Vi scores two-tone 17-inch alloy wheels, LED DRLs and all the chrome highlights and the nice red paint on our test car doesn’t cost you a cent extra.
From a design point of view, the inside isn’t bad at all either. The Vi scores pretty much the same visual treatment you’d get across the rest of the CR-V range, albeit with some significantly worse materials.
The steering wheel for example is a cruddy plastic resin, which is a definite step down from the chunky leather-bound alternative available in the rest of the range, the seat material is made of a slightly abrasive synthetic weave which looked fine, but could be nicer to sit in. And the same material was used in the arm-rests of the doors, which became less than comfortable over the course of a long drive.
Thankfully (and inexplicably) the Vi maintained a plush leather insert for resting your knee on the inside of the transmission tunnel. A welcome but odd refinement given the leather door trim was stripped out.
Aside from a sad looking 5.0-inch multimedia screen, the rest of the dash was made of the same good-looking and hard-wearing materials as the rest of the range.