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Honda CR-V 2020 review: VTi-LX AWD


This is one of the cars that would be on my shopping list if I was looking for a new family SUV that didn’t cost an astronomically large figure.

The Honda CR-V is a mid-sized SUV that covers a lot of bases for a family, and this top-spec model is competitively priced when compared to other top specs in the category like the Mazda CX-5 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. 

It’s called the CR-V VTi-LX and it’s the five-seat, AWD version which costs $44,290 before on road costs. I test drove it for seven days for this week’s family review. 

What does it look like?

It’s a large looking car with a fair amount of bulk to it. It’s not going to win any awards for its refinement or modern exterior, but I don’t think that really matters.

  • The CR-V is a large looking car with a fair amount of bulk to it. The CR-V is a large looking car with a fair amount of bulk to it.
  • The CR-V looks solid, with a big front end. The CR-V looks solid, with a big front end.
  • The car itself is not that attractive but it will certainly contain a family on the road. 

The car itself is not that attractive but it will certainly contain a family on the road.
  • The read is large and square-ish. The read is large and square-ish.

It looks solid, with a big front end and square-ish rear, and certainly like it will contain your family on the road, which is actually an appealing quality, even if the car itself is not that attractive. 

Inside is stylish and you feel good driving this model. The seats are leather appointed, the steering wheel and gear shifter are leather and feel great and there is a large panoramic sunroof which makes everything feel more premium.

Inside is stylish and you feel good driving this model. Inside is stylish and you feel good driving this model.

The centre console is well designed with a mix of glossy black and matt black finishes. 

You’ll still find man-made finishes inside the CR-V and it’s not as luxe as the top-of-the-range Mazda CX-5 or Volkswagen Tiguan, but you’re not paying as much either. This is actually quite well priced for what you get. 

How spacious is it?

The CR-V is on the large end of mid-size SUVs so it’s spacious inside. The front has plenty of leg room and head room, even with the large sunroof, and it doesn’t feel cramped at all. 

The front has plenty of leg room and head room. The front has plenty of leg room and head room.

My children had loads of space in the back seat. They’re six and eight and could literally play games in the back until it was time for seat belts.

My children had loads of space in the back seat. My children had loads of space in the back seat.

There’s no large footwell in the centre of the floor in the back either, which gives it a lot more legroom and makes the rear seats much more usable for long journeys.

I’m 161cm and I can fit into the back with a big distance between my knees and the seat in front of me, so taller adults and teenagers will comfortably fit back there, too.

  • The boot can be extended by folding down the back seats. The boot can be extended by folding down the back seats.
  • The boot is a good size for a family at 522L. The boot is a good size for a family at 522L.
  • The boot fits the bulky CarsGuide pram and there’s room around it for groceries and school bags. The boot fits the bulky CarsGuide pram and there’s room around it for groceries and school bags.

The boot is a good size for a family. At 522L it’s larger than a Mazda CX-5 but smaller than a Toyota RAV4. It fits the bulky CarsGuide pram and there’s enough room around it for groceries and school bags. It will fit small children’s bikes AND sporting equipment if your kids are older.

How does it drive?

The steering is a little stiff to turn, it’s not as easy as some of its rivals. The steering is a little stiff to turn, it’s not as easy as some of its rivals.The Honda CRV VTi-LX drives well. It’s smooth, so not a huge discomfort to go over bumps.

It has a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine which gets you up hills (a little loudly, sure, but it gets up fine) and cruises along highways confidently and quickly.

The Honda CRV VTi-LX has a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine. The Honda CRV VTi-LX has a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine.

This model is an AWD so it gives better than usual traction on loose road surfaces and when it’s raining. 

The steering is a little stiff to turn, it’s not as easy as some of its rivals but its not too bad and you quickly get used to it.

It still manoeuvres into parks quite well and I was able to get into tight spots this week. There is a good reverse parking camera that has three views - reverse, wide and from on top.

You also get a side camera that fills the blind spot on the left when you put the blinker on. 

How easy is it to use every day?

There is a fair amount of automation in this top-of-the-range model, from the power adjustable front seats which you can set to remember two driving positions, to the sunroof, to the power operated tailgate. 

The sunroof in this top-of-the-range model is automated. The sunroof in this top-of-the-range model is automated.

I found the gearshift to be placed high in comparison to other cars, but you do get used to it as you drive, and it made room for a really large centre storage space which was separated with a removable shelf.

For long drives, this is a clever spot for food or things that you might need to hand. There are also two cupholders and a small spot for keys and a phone, plus bottle holders in each door.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest plus their own air vents which my children always appreciate. 

And even though it’s a mid-size SUV it’s not too high off the ground, so the kids are easily able to climb in and the boot is a good height to load in and out of.

There is also a full size spare tyre so you can rest assured if you’re taking it on a road trip. 

How safe is it?

The Honda has advanced safety like auto emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control.

There are airbags to cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. 

There are three top tether points and two ISOFIX points to fix children’s car seats in. The CR-V was awarded a maximum five ANCAP stars in 2017.

What’s the tech like?

The 7.0-inch multimedia screen is small by today’s standards, but it’s surrounded by a black border which tricks you into thinking it’s actually bigger than it is.

It’s fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which means once you plug your phone in, the main apps sync immediately and you can use maps to navigate and Spotify to listen to music.

The 7.0-inch multimedia screen is small by today’s standards. The 7.0-inch multimedia screen is small by today’s standards.

The touchscreen needs a proper push to recognise you want to do something which is actually a good thing - worse are those screens so touchy and responsive that you accidentally change radio stations and the air temp just by brushing past them. 

How much does it cost to own?

The Honda CR-V VTi-LX costs $44,290 before on road costs. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.4L/100km, and we've recorded a real-world figure of 8.7L/100km.

The Honda CR-V VTi-LX costs $44,290 before on road costs. The Honda CR-V VTi-LX costs $44,290 before on road costs.

The good news is the car runs happily on standard unleaded petrol. 

It’s covered by Honda’s five year,/unlimited km warranty, and servicing is required every 12 months or 10,000km. 


The Wrap

The Honda CR-V ticks a lot of the criteria you’d be after for a family car. It has a good amount of interior space, enough boot space, it drives well and has good safety. 

It’s not the most luxe looking car but I think for this price and all the inclusions it does well on value and it feels good to drive. I gave it a family rating of 7.8 out of 10 and my kids gave it an 8.0 - I think my daughter was excited because she got to sit in the front a few times this week. 

Likes

Interior design
Large interior and boot
Good tech

Dislikes

Could have a more modern exterior
Small multimedia screen
Heavy-ish steering

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

4

$44,290

Based on new car retail price

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