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Honda CR-V 2021 review: VTi L7

The Honda CR-V has had a minimal makeover with impressive impact.

Here’s a mid size SUV you should make time for. It’s the Honda CR-V and it ticks a number of boxes that may be on your priority list when looking for a new car. 

There are seven models in the new CR-V range and this is the VTi L7 which is near the top, and is a seven seater. It costs around 43 grand before on-road costs and extras, and competes with cars like the Nissan X-Trail and the Toyota RAV4. Here’s how it did for this week’s family review.

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✅ How does it look?

Looks wise it stands up to the competition, presenting as fresh and modern with a bit of a bulky body, some chrome accents, and an air of rugged charm. 

The CR-V presents as fresh and modern with a bit of a bulky body. The CR-V presents as fresh and modern with a bit of a bulky body.

The interior of the VTi L7 looks great. There are power adjustable 'leather appointed' seats and a leather steering wheel that feels good under the hands. 

The centre console is well designed with everything in hand’s reach. It does feel like there’s a fair bit of man-made materials going on inside the cabin but that’s to be expected in this part of the market. There is a large sunroof which lets lots of light through the car.

✅ How spacious is it?

Space is great in the CR-V and it’s got a wide body so you don’t feel cramped inside. There is enough leg and headroom that my taller family members are comfortable in it, even with the sunroof.

There is enough leg and headroom that my taller family members are comfortable in it, even with the sunroof. There is enough leg and headroom that my taller family members are comfortable in it, even with the sunroof.

The children have lots of space in the back, they’re aged seven and nine, and it’s quite wide there, too. It's possible to fit in three children’s car seats though it is tight, you can do it pending what kind of car seats you have. 

I’ve got a good amount of space back there at 161cm (5’3”) and there’s enough room between my knees and the seat in front that taller adults and teenagers should be fine, too. 

Space is great in the CR-V. Space is great in the CR-V.

And there’s a third row! Granted, it’s in the boot, so it’s not exactly a large seven-seat SUV, more like a five-seater that has the two spare seats in case you need them. 

The third row is in the boot, so it’s not exactly a large seven-seat SUV. The third row is in the boot, so it’s not exactly a large seven-seat SUV.

Children will be fine back there, but taller teenagers might complain after a while, it’s not the most spacious. Still, they’re there! 

The two spare seats do eat into boot space, so in a five-seat CR-V, the boot space is 522L, but in this seven seater it’s 472L.

In this seven seater boot space is 472L. In this seven seater boot space is 472L.

Plus, the boot starts higher because of the extra seats, and to get a flat, level boot you want the hard cover in place, though you can remove it if you like. 

You just need to decide if you want more boot space or two extra seats when looking at the CR-V, and how much you’ll actually use them. Regardless, you’ll fit a large pram in there either way. 

With all seats in use the boot shrinks to 150L. With all seats in use the boot shrinks to 150L.

With all seats in use the boot shrinks to 150L and will fit some school bags or grocery bags.

✅ What’s the tech like?

The 7.0-inch multimedia screen is integrated nicely into the dash and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The tech means you can use the touchscreen as a large version of your phone and navigate via your maps app or listen to music via your streaming app. 

The 7.0-inch multimedia screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 7.0-inch multimedia screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

✅ How does it drive?

Driving is quite good in the CR-V and the thing I noticed the most is that it doesn’t feel heavy on take-off and is quite nimble. 

There’s a 1.5L turbo four-cylinder petrol engine. There’s a 1.5L turbo four-cylinder petrol engine.

It’s still far from a zippy small car but it does well! It handles nicely around corners and the steering is easy to turn. 

There’s a 1.5L turbo four-cylinder petrol engine and it gets up hills easily, plus is good on highways. You can overtake cars without too much effort. 

It handles nicely around corners and the steering is easy to turn. It handles nicely around corners and the steering is easy to turn.

This model is FWD though there are AWD on offer in the range if that’s more your thing. All CR-Vs are petrol, there are no diesel options and fuel consumption in the VTi L7 is a claimed 7.3L for every 100km. I averaged 10.6L/100km.

Parking is quite good in the CR-V, the turning circle is not huge and you’ll be able to get in with the help of a fairly decent reverse parking camera.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

The big thing about the CR-V is how wide the doors open. So wide! Almost a 90-degree opening of the back doors, so it’s easy to get into and if you need to load boxes or bulky car seats, that’s easy, too. 

Second row passengers get directional air vents as well as two cupholders in the centre armrest. Second row passengers get directional air vents as well as two cupholders in the centre armrest.

For storage there are two cupholders in the front, a very large, deep centre storage bin and a flat spot with rubber texture to pop your phone on so it won’t slide around. There’s also a wireless charger in the front and bottle holders in each door. 

Second row passengers get directional air vents as well as two cupholders in the centre armrest, plus the second row slides forward to give more space to third row passengers should they need it. 

And in the back row there are two cupholders, and there are four adjustable air vents on the roof to give extra air to second and third row passengers, which is a great addition.

✅ How safe is it?

For safety, the CR-V has airbags that cover driver and front passenger and include side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. It’s got two ISOFIX points and five top tether points for kids car seats. 

Previously the CR-V was lacking some advanced safety features that the competition covered, but it now offers as standard: Auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and active cruise control

The CR-V scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2017. The CR-V scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2017.

It still doesn’t have rear cross-traffic alert or blind-spot monitoring, but it does have the Honda 'Lane Watch' camera system - however I’m not a huge fan of the side camera thing, it’s a bit confusing for me, but that might improve the more you drive it. 

The CR-V scored a maximum five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2017.

✅ How much does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Honda CR-V VTi L7 is a great family car and would certainly be on my look list if I was after a new mid-size SUV. It’s practical with good interior space and the two spare seats in the boot. It’s stylish and has the latest in tech, although slightly lacking on safety it drives really nicely. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.8 out of 10 and the kids gave it the same, they couldn’t believe there were two extra seats. 

Likes

Interior design
Feels good to drive
Two extra seats

Dislikes

Lacking some advanced safety
Thirsty
Nimble but not nippy

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

3.9

$43,490

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.