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Honda CR-V 2019 review: VTi-E7

Closer inspection of the CR-V will reveal an excellent fit and finish to the exterior and interior.
EXPERT RATING
7.8
There are currently only two seven-seater SUVs on the market under $35K and the Honda CR-V VTi-E7 is one of them.

As if having children wasn't expensive enough, finding a way to transport them and their friends really pushes the budget when it comes to buying something big enough but still affordable.

The Honda CR-V VTi-E7 has a name that sounds like the printer you need to connect to at work but this mid-sized seven-seater SUV could come to the rescue.

Introduced in early 2019 as a less expensive version of the VTi-L7 grade the VTi-E7 doesn't come with all its pricier twin's features. The good news is you're not missing out on much.

The not-good news is that what you are missing out on isn't available on either of these grades – something your life could depend on.

Confused? Worried? Read on to find out more.

Honda CR-V 2019: VTi-E7 (2WD)
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$34,490

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

Is the CR-V VTi-E7 good value? Nope, it's great value. No, it's better than great, it's terrific value. The list price is $34,490, which is good for two reasons.

The Honda CR-V VTi-E7 is terrific value - the list price is $34,490. The Honda CR-V VTi-E7 is terrific value - the list price is $34,490.

First, until 2019 if you wanted a seven-seat CR-V there was only the VTi-L grade which was $38,990. Then, in January this year Honda brought out the more affordable VTi-E7.

Second, while this is a less expensive seven-seater CR-V, the VTi-E7 still has a mountain of standard features. Exterior features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, front fog lights and roof rails.

Inside you'll get leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, proximity unlocking with push-button start, plus a 7.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There's a reversing camera, but no front and rear parking sensors, though.

Exterior features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, front fog lights and roof rails. Exterior features include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, front fog lights and roof rails.

What are you missing out on by not stepping up to the $38,990 VTi-L7?

You don't get a sunroof (but that's a blessing in disguise, I'll explain in the Practicality section), nor do you get the 'Lane Watch' camera, (but the system is a bit distracting anyway).

You also don't get sat nav (that's a bummer, but use your maps from your iPhone or Android device) and there's no power tailgate (they're slow and annoying, so don't worry).

Oh and you also don't get rain sensing wipers (come on, how lazy are we getting?) nor heated front seats (since when did we become so spoilt to demand these?).

None of those features from the VTi-L7 that you're missing out on are essential which makes the VTi-E7 the smart choice, and to me, the sweet spot in the range in terms of value-for-money.

What I believe is essential on a new car today isn't offered on either the VTi-E7 or VTi-L7. You can skip ahead to the Safety section to find out what I'm talking about or get there in your own time – either way, as a parent it's something which could be a deal breaker when buying a new car.

Most mid-sized rivals with seven seats, such as the Mazda CX-8, Peugeot 5008 or Skoda Kodiaq, cost at least $4000 more than the VTi-E7 and if you're considering something for about their price then you may as well check out the Hyundai Santa Fe, too.

For a true model comparison based on price there's only the Nissan X-Trail ST seven-seater.

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The new-generation Honda CR-V arrived in mid-2017 looking bigger, more muscular and more attractive than the previous one. Yes, it seems all mid-sized SUVs look the same, but a closer inspection of the CR-V will reveal an excellent fit and finish to the exterior and interior.

The VTi-E7 looks almost identical to the grades above it in the CR-V range with its 18-inch wheels, roof rails and twin exhaust. Higher grades do have privacy glass and a sun roof, however.

End-to-end it's 4596mm long, while its width is 1855mm and height is 2660mm. End-to-end it's 4596mm long, while its width is 1855mm and height is 2660mm.

The cabin of the VTi-E7 is also similar to the grades above it with a black leather interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power adjustable driver's seat and 7.0-inch screen which isn't as big as the frame around might make it seem.

Take a look at the interior images – this is a luxurious-looking cabin, and it feels it with padded touch points which make for a comfortable place to spend time.

What are the dimensions of the Honda CR-V VTi-E7? End-to-end it's 4596mm long, while its width is 1855mm and height is 2660mm.

How practical is the space inside?   10/10

Honda cabins are generally known for their clever use of space and the CR-V is no different with excellent and adaptable storage and smart, folding seats.

Up front is spacious for the driver and co-pilot. Up front is spacious for the driver and co-pilot.

Up front is spacious for the driver and co-pilot, between them there's enormous and configurable centre console storage area, two cupholders and the doors have giant pockets, too.

You'll find two USB ports up there, too (one for media and the other for charging, and two 12-volt power outlets.

The second row is also roomy. I'm 191cm tall and can sit with plenty of room behind my driving position, and because this grade doesn't have a sun roof headroom is good, too.

I'm 191cm tall and can sit with plenty of room behind my driving position. I'm 191cm tall and can sit with plenty of room behind my driving position.

Second rowers also have two cupholders and large door pockets. There are directional vents and two USB charging ports there, too.

Third row access is easy thanks to moulded hand grips and a second row which folds and tumbles forward. Back there both third row passengers have a drink holder and storage pocket each. There are also directional air vents with a fan speed controller back there, too.

Remarkably I can sit in the third row without my head touching the roof and while legroom is tight I could probably handle a short trip back there. Yup, like all mid-sized seven-seaters, the third row really is for kids.

Like all mid-sized seven-seaters, the third row really is for kids. Like all mid-sized seven-seaters, the third row really is for kids.

Talking of tiny humans one of the interesting practical features of the VTi-E7 was pointed out straight away by my four-year-old son as he climbed in – the floor is completely flat in the second row.

I used the CR-V to drop him at daycare, do the shopping and a weekend trip away and we all found the space to be practical for getting him in and out, and the boot's low load lip was great for putting bags in without hoisting them high.

  • Boot size of the CR-V VTi-E7 with all seats in place is 150 litres (VDA). Boot size of the CR-V VTi-E7 with all seats in place is 150 litres (VDA).
  • With the third row down the cargo capacity is 472 litres. With the third row down the cargo capacity is 472 litres.

Boot size of the CR-V VTi-E7 with all seats in place is 150 litres (VDA) and with that third row down the cargo capacity is 472 litres.

Making life even easier is the proximity key which will lock the car automatically as you walk away from it. Parents with full hands will know how amazing this is.

The spare is full-size, and for those keen on towing the braked trailer capacity is 1000kg.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   6/10

The CR-V VTi-E7 has the same engine as every grade above it in the range: a 1.5-litre 140kW/240Nm turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with a CVT auto.

While that's adequate grunt, the CVT is a let down from a driving perspective lacking the responsive nature of a traditional automatic. Acceleration is also on the lacklustre side of things thanks to the CVT.

The CR-V VTi-E7 has a 1.5-litre 140kW/240Nm turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with a CVT auto. The CR-V VTi-E7 has a 1.5-litre 140kW/240Nm turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with a CVT auto.

While the top two grades of the CR-V are all-wheel drive, the VTi-E7 is front-wheel drive.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

As much as I'm not a fan of CVT automatics they sure are fuel efficient and Honda says that after a combination of open and urban roads the CR-V VTi-E7 should use 7.3L/100km.

After mainly city and suburban testing my test car was reporting 9.4L/100km which is only 0.2L/100km above the official claim for urban-only driving.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The CR-V does feels big to drive, especially if you're piloting it through tight car parks and narrow streets, but visibility is excellent front and rear, while steering is light and has a great feel.

Sure, that CVT auto makes this SUV feel sluggish at times, but there is a Sport mode which does seem to improve acceleration.

The VTi-E7 comes with active noise cancelling which emits a frequency through the stereo speakers that cancels out any resonating road noise in the cabin. You're unlikely to notice it working, but the result is a quieter and more serene environment inside.

Visibility is excellent front and rear, while steering is light and has a great feel. Visibility is excellent front and rear, while steering is light and has a great feel.

So, while the CR-V may not be superb dynamically and as fun to drive as some rivals it does have a composed ride, comfortable seating and a high-driving position buyers will like.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   5/10

Okay, I've mentioned that the VTi-E7 grade is missing something your life could depend on. So, here's the deal.

While the CR-V scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2017, the VTi-E7 grade certainly wouldn't achieve that score today.

The VTi-E7 doesn't come standard with items essential for a current five-star rating such as AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection. It doesn't even have the simplest form of AEB which is available on cars half its price. You're not even able to option it. Nor does it have rear cross-traffic alert.

The 'Honda Sensing' safety package, which adds advanced safety technology such as AEB, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control, is only available on the VTI-S and VTi-LX grades.

I contacted Honda for clarification on this and a spokesperson confirmed that Honda Sensing is only available on all-wheel drive CR-Vs. The VTi-E7 is a front-wheel drive grade like the VTi-L7.

Honda said that in May 2018 it was working to have AEB made standard across the range. It's now a year on and the CR-V that would be most appropriate from a price and seating perspective for a parent to buy has the least amount of safety equipment in the range.

The VTi-E7's lack of advanced safety equipment can't be overlooked. The VTi-E7's lack of advanced safety equipment can't be overlooked.

That said, the car itself has curtain airbags that cover the third row and performed with outstanding results in its 2017 crash test, receiving a perfect score in its side impact test and a high marks for the frontal offset test.

For child seats you find two ISOFIX mounts and three top tether points in the second row, while the third row has two top tether points. Can't see the top tether points in the images? Look at the roof liner.

The VTi-E7's lack of advanced safety equipment can't be overlooked, especially on a family orientated SUV and when technology like this is becoming common place. It's for this reason that the VTi-E7 has scored so low in this category.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

The CR-V VTi-E7 is covered by Honda's five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended ever 12 months/10,000km and is capped for 10 years at $295 per service.

 

Verdict

The CR-V VTi-E7 is super practical, comfortable and great value from its standard features to the cost of ownership. That said, the lack of advanced safety equipment can't be excused, but it's something Honda Australia is acutely aware of and we have no doubt that the company is doing everything to rectify the situation. We'll keep you up to date at CarsGuide if and when that situation changes.

Would the lack of AEB on this grade of CR-V put you off buying one? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$36,290
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$28,290
Highest Price
$44,290

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
+SPORT (2WD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $32,490 2019 Honda CR-V 2019 +SPORT (2WD) Pricing and Specs
50 YEARS EDITION 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $32,090 2019 Honda CR-V 2019 50 YEARS EDITION Pricing and Specs
Vi (2WD) 2.0L, ULP, CVT AUTO $28,290 2019 Honda CR-V 2019 Vi (2WD) Pricing and Specs
VTi (2WD) 1.5L, ULP, CVT AUTO $30,690 2019 Honda CR-V 2019 VTi (2WD) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.8
Price and features9
Design8
Practicality10
Engine & trans6
Fuel consumption8
Driving7
Safety5
Ownership9
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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