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Honda CR-V


Kia Sportage

Summary

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V has been a long-time favourite in the CarsGuide offices, but there’s always been a bit of a caveat hanging over the mid-size SUV range - it all came down to a shortage of active safety technology.

With the 2021 Honda CR-V facelift that has been addressed - to a degree  - and in this review we’ll cover off the changes that have been made, from an expansion of the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech, to the styling changes inside and out for the updated model range. 

At the end we’ll try and sum up if the Honda CR-V 2021 range update has brought this model back into contention against the likes of the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan and Toyota RAV4. 

Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats

Kia Sportage

Kia is on a roll with its SUV line-up. The Stonic light SUV is selling like hotcakes, the Seltos small SUV is hugely popular with long wait lists for higher grades and the large seven-seat Sorento has won a lot of praise from reviewers.

That means there’s a bit of pressure on the new-generation Sportage that just landed in showrooms.

Medium SUVs represent one of the biggest market segments in the country by sales, and with impressive rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan and Ford Escape, to name a few, any missteps by Kia will be noticed.

The flagship Kia Sportage GT-Line diesel certainly has show-stopping looks, but is there more substance to the Korean contender?

Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Honda CR-V7.5/10

The updated Honda CR-V range is certainly an improvement on the model it replaces, with the wider spread of safety tech now making it a more viable option for more potential customers.

But the fact of the matter is that the 2021 Honda CR-V update still doesn’t go far enough in expanding the safety spec of the midsize SUV, and multiple competitors better it in many ways. And if you’re a family buyer, then safety is surely a high priority, right? Well, if that’s you, maybe consider those aforementioned rivals - the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan and Subaru Forester - all of which best the CR-V in some way or another.

If you don’t think you need those additional safety items, or you’re just sold on the practical and thoughtful cabin design of the CR-V, there’s certainly something to be said for the 2021 version over the earlier models. And in this range, I’d say the pick would be the VTi 7 if you need three rows, or the VTi for those only needing five seats.


Kia Sportage9/10

Kia has upped its game with the new Sportage, especially in this circa-$50,000 part of the segment. It is absolutely packed with comfort, tech and safety features and it’s hard to beat when it comes to value. The fact that it offers such an engaging drive experience is a bonus, and a credit to the local team. Look out Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, the new-gen Sportage may just be the new dynamic pick of the segment.

Design

Honda CR-V8/10

The styling changes are pretty minimal compared to the pre-facelift model. Well, that’s certainly the case if you simply glance at the 2021 Honda CR-V.

But look a little closer and you realise there have actually been quite a few nips and tucks here and there, with the overall effect being subtle but worthwhile in terms of visual upgrades.

The front end has seen the adoption of a new bumper design that almost looks like there’s a silver moustache across the lower part of the bumper, and above it there’s a new blacked out grille treatment at the front, too.

In profile you’ll notice new alloy wheel designs - ranging from 17s on the base car through to 19s on the top-spec version - but otherwise the side-on view is pretty similar, aside from a bit of garnish work in the lower parts of the doors.

At the rear there are similar minor bumper changes with added accents at the bottom of the bar, and now there are darker tinted tail-lights and a dark chrome tailgate garnish, too. Models bearing the VTi prefix also get new shaped exhaust tips, which look a little more substantial than before.

Inside, there aren’t many big changes, but that’s no bad thing. The CR-V’s cabin has always been one of the most practical in the class, and that certainly hasn’t changed with this update. Check out the interior pictures below to see for yourself. 


Kia Sportage

There sure is. Kia has been known for strong design for some time now, thanks in large part to a brand transformation led by former Audi designer Peter Schreyer a little over a decade ago.

The third-generation Sportage from 2010 was a game-changer for Kia, with its modern design helping elevate the brand in Australia. The fourth-gen version from 2015 built on that with a much sharper take on Kia’s design language, but the latest model takes it to a whole new level.

Based on Kia’s new 'Opposites United' design language, the new Sportage is undeniably modern, almost radically so, and it makes many of its rivals look staid. To say the Sportage received a lot of attention during our week driving it would be an understatement.

The boldest design elements are up front. The gloss black grille graphic introduces a new take on Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille, which is surrounded by very cool boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights that hug the LED headlights.

A darkened D-pillar treatment, bulging rear shoulder line, appealing LED tail-light design, rear tailgate spoiler and sexy 19-inch machined alloy wheels cap off the Sportage’s striking look.

Practicality

Honda CR-V9/10

One of the main reasons we’ve always been fans of the current gen Honda CR-V at CarsGuide is its practical cabin. It is, arguably, the best midsize SUV for young families in this part of the market.

That’s because it prioritises space and comfort, practicality and cabin smarts over things like excitement and wow factor. 

Sure, there’s a bit of a problem with that - rivals like the RAV4 prove you can do both things well. But the CR-V is unapologetically pleasant and well sorted in terms of practicality. It’s truly the pragmatic choice in this part of the market.

Up front there’s a clever centre console section that has been rethought for this update, and now scores easier-to-access USB ports, and in grades equipped with it, a wireless phone charger. There are still good sized cup holders, and the removable tray section that allows you to configure the console storage how you need it - see how much I fit in there in the video above.

There are also good sized door pockets with bottle holders, and a reasonable glovebox, too. It’s very cleverly designed, and the materials are good, too - the VTi LX model I drove had soft trim on the doors and dash, plus the leather seats are comfortable and offer good adjustment. I’ve driven CR-Vs with cloth seat trim too, and the quality is always top notch.

The shortfalls come in the ‘ooooh’ department. The CR-V still runs a small 7.0-inch media screen - some rivals have much larger displays - and while it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a volume knob, it’s still a bit fidgety in terms of the operation. And it’s slow to react at times, too.

Plus, while there is a climate button and fan speed button, as well as dials for the temperature settings, you still have to go through the screen to control whether the air conditioner is on or off, and also which ventilation is active. Odd. 

In the back seat, there’s a really neat trick. The doors open up to almost 90 degrees, meaning parents loading their kids into child seats will be able to access the back row a lot easier than some rivals (we’re looking at you, Mr RAV4, with your narrow-hinged doors). Indeed, the apertures are huge, meaning access for people of all ages is pretty easy.

And the space in the second row is excellent, too. There is easily enough space for someone my size (182cm / 6’0”) to sit behind their own driving position with ample knee room, toe space and shoulder room to be comfortable. Only the head room is questionable if you get a CR-V with a sunroof, and even then, it’s not terrible.

If you do have kids, there are ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the outboard seats, and three top tether attachment points - but unlike most rivals, they actually mount in the ceiling above the boot, not the back of the second-row seat. Choose a seven-seater and you have the same issue, but the third-row seats add a pair of top-tether points mounted into the very back boot floor. 

The seven-seat versions of the CR-V have a sliding second-row seat, which makes head room even tighter. The five-seat CR-Vs have a 60:40 split fold second row. All models have a flip down armrest and cupholders fitted in the second row, plus door pockets large enough for big bottles, and map pockets on the front seat backs.

I tested the seven-seat CR-V pre-facelift, and found the third row space to be best left to smaller occupants. If you choose a three-row CR-V, you get rear row air vents and cupholders, too.

The boot space on offer for the CR-V also depends on the seating configuration. If you choose a five-seater like the VTi LX model here, you get a cargo capacity of 522 litres (VDA). Get the seven-seater, and the five-seats-up measurement is 50L less (472L VDA), while with all three rows of seats in use, there’s 150L (VDA) of boot space. 

If that’s not enough boot capacity - and it won't be if you’re heading away with all seven seats in use - you might want to consider checking out the accessories catalogue for roof rails, roof racks or a roof cargo box.

Happily, though, all CR-Vs come with a hidden full-size alloy spare wheel under the boot floor.


Kia Sportage

Kia has been kicking serious goals lately when it comes to interior design, comfort and materials. The Sorento is a stellar example of thoughtful and appealing design. Thankfully, the Sportage follows suit.

As is often the case, particularly with Kia and sister brand Hyundai, the higher grades make the entry-level models look like stripped out, bargain basement offerings.

While the Sportage GT-Line has high-end fittings and a massive connected screen, the base Sportage S has none of the fancy tech, a budget screen and it’s missing armrests and more.

However, we are assessing the GT-Line so best to compare with similar rivals.

There’s a lot to like in the cabin, from the soft-touch materials on the dash, to the gloss black and lovely grey woodgrain inserts. There’s no mistaking this for anything but the top-spec model.

Thank goodness for the digital air con controls that sit between the screen and console. You don’t have to fumble through a menu on a screen like some models.

The nicely laid out centre console houses a drive mode selector, seat heating and cooling controls, gear dial (don’t love) two sizeable cup holders you can convert into one big space, and a gear shifter dial instead of the lever found in lower grades.

Kia’s well-designed three-spoke leather-appointed steering wheel houses clear controls and it feels nice to touch.

Cool retro-looking air vents sit on either side of the main screen, which is curved. Actually, it’s two 12.3-inch screens side by side, seamlessly integrated. It’s an interesting approach from Kia, and it works.

The instruments are clear and configurable to show different vehicle information, but it lacks a head-up display. Kia might think it doesn’t require one, but it wouldn’t go astray.

Kia’s multimedia system is a winner. It’s intuitive, simple to navigate and the graphics and icons are modern and visually appealing. Every single one of Kia’s Japanese rivals, except maybe Mazda, take note.

Connecting the phone to Bluetooth is quick and easy and there were no connection issues with the wired Apple CarPlay. Hopefully Kia and Hyundai add wireless CarPlay to higher grade models soon. Many entry grades have the wireless set-up.

Storage-wise a phone fits neatly in to the wireless charging slot that has a sliding cover, and the central bin has enough room but it’s not huge. Same goes for the glove box.

Door bottle storage is tight up front and we couldn’t get thicker bottles in there.

The perforated leather-appointed front seats with synthetic suede look lovely and offer great upper body support, but could to with more under-thigh bolstering. Regardless, they are very comfortable.

Kia has stretched the new Sportage by 175mm in length compared to the old one, which has added 80mm to the wheelbase, and it shows. The second row is so much more spacious than the model it replaced. There’s plenty of toe, knee and legroom and the panoramic sunroof has no impact on headroom back there, even for my six-foot (183cm) frame.

Conveniences back there include lower air vents, two USB-C ports on the rear of the front seats, map pockets on both sides, a storage nook under the vents, a coat hanger hook on the seat backs and a very handy slot for a phone or tablet in the back of the front headrests. Oddly, bottles slot in to the doors more easily in the rear.

Rear seats have some upper body bucketing and are quite comfortable. The centre armrest folds down with two cupholders and the backrests recline. The 60/40 seats can be lowered easily via levers in the boot and they fold close to flat.

It has a full-sized spare wheel under the boot floor and shopping back hooks. With the rear seats up it can swallow 543 litres – more than the old one – and 1829L with the second row stowed. That’s more than the new Mitsubishi Outlander and slightly more than the Toyota RAV4.

Price and features

Honda CR-V7/10

As part of the 2021 updated range, the CR-V saw a number of name changes, but there are still seven variants available, ranging from five to seven-seaters, and with front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Prices are up across the carryover models by between $2200 and $4500 - read our original pricing story to see why.

Opening the range is the Vi, which carries over as the only model in the range without the turbo engine (any CR-V with VTi as part of its name indicates turbocharging), while it’s also the only CR-V without the Honda Sensing safety suite. More on that in the safety section below.

The prices seen here are the Manufacturer’s List Price, also known as MSRP, RRP or MLP, and don’t include on-road costs. Shop around, we know there will be drive-away deals. 

The Vi model lists at $30,490 plus on-road costs (MSRP), which is more expensive than the pre-facelift model, but this version - which has 17-inch alloy wheels and cloth seat trim - now runs a 7.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as dual-zone climate control. This version also has Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, 2x USB ports, a digital instrument cluster with digital speedometer, and a four speaker sound system. It has halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights, as well as LED tail-lights. There’s a reversing camera fitted, too.

Step up to the VTi for $33,490 (MSRP) and you gain the turbo engine (details below), as well as keyless entry and push-button start, an additional four speakers (eight total), an additional 2x USB ports (four total), a cargo cover, exhaust pipe finishers, adaptive cruise control and the Honda Sensing active safety suite (detailed below).

The VTi 7 is new to the range, and is essentially a more economy-focused version of the old VTi-E7, now costing $35,490 (MSRP). For context, the VTi-E7 used to have leather trim, power driver’s seat adjust and 18-inch alloys. The new VTi 7 costs $1000 more than the old car, misses all of those items (now cloth trim, 17-inch wheels, manual seat adjust) but has the safety suite. It adds third row seats with air vents, plus two additional cup holders and curtain airbag coverage, as well as third-row top tether hooks in the boot floor. It misses a cargo blind, though.

The next model up the pricing tree is the VTi X, which replaces the VTi-S. It is a $35,990 (MSRP) proposition, and adds the safety tech and a hands-free tailgate, as well as auto headlights, auto high beam lights, a leather steering wheel, and from this grade up you get Honda’s LaneWatch side camera system in lieu of a traditional blind-spot monitoring system, and in-built GPS Garmin sat nav. This is the first grade in the range to get 18-inch wheels, plus it has rear parking sensors standard, and front parking sensors, too.

The VTi L AWD is the first grade in the step-up with all-wheel drive. It essentially replaces our previous pick of the range, the VTi-S AWD, but costs more. The VTi L AWD is $40,490 (MSRP), but adds a few goodies over the models below, including leather-appointed seat trim, driver’s seat electric adjustment with two memory settings and heated front seats.

The VTi L7 ($43,490 MSRP) does away with AWD but gains the third-row seating, as well as the good stuff mentioned in the VTi L as well as privacy glass, a large panoramic glass sunroof, LED headlights and LED fog lights, and a wireless phone charger. It also gets auto wipers and roof rails, plus steering wheel paddle shifters. 

The top-of-the-range VTi LX AWD is a pretty pricey offering, at $47,490 (MSRP). In fact, that’s $3200 more than it used to cost. It’s a five-seater, and over the VTi L7 adds items like heated door mirrors, auto up/down windows for all four doors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, electric front passenger seat adjustment, a leather-wrapped shift knob, DAB digital radio, and it gets 19-inch alloy wheels.

It’s fair to say the grades are pretty confusing, but thankfully Honda doesn’t charge extra for the colours available in the CR-V range. There are two new hues available - Ignite Red metallic and Cosmic Blue metallic - and the selection on offer does vary based on the grade. 


Kia Sportage

The GT-Line turbo-diesel all-wheel drive represents the flagship of the Sportage range. The diesel adds a $3000 premium over the turbo-petrol GT-Line and is priced at $52,370 before on-road costs.

Kia might have shed the cheap and cheerful brand image in recent years, but that doesn’t mean the company has dropped its focus on value-for-money.

As the highest model grade, the GT-Line features niceties like eight-way power front seats, leather-appointed seats with artificial suede, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, alloy sports pedals, an ambient lighting package, wireless phone charging, woodgrain trim, an eight-speaker Harmon Kardon premium sound system, and a curved digital display that combines two 12.3-inch screens – one for multimedia and one for instruments.

The GT-Line is so well equipped that the only available option is premium paint ($520) which was fitted to our test car in striking ‘Vesta Blue’, bringing the total cost to $52,890.

The Sportage competes for sales against a strong list of rivals, including a model that shares its platform and powertrain – the Hyundai Tucson Highlander AWD diesel ($52,000).

Other similarly positioned medium SUVs include the Ford Escape Vignale petrol AWD ($49,590), Honda CR-V VTi LX petrol AWD ($53,200), Mazda CX-5 Akera diesel AWD ($52,580), Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed Tourer petrol AWD ($49,990), Subaru Forester S hybrid AWD ($47,190), Toyota RAV4 Cruiser hybrid AWD ($46,415) and Volkswagen Tiguan 147TDI Elegance diesel AWD ($53,290).

Engine & trans

Honda CR-V7/10

There are two engines available in the Honda CR-V range - the one fitted to the base model Vi, and the one fitted to all models that have VTi as part of their badge. 

The Vi’s engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 113kW of power (at 6500rpm) and 189Nm of torque (at 4300rpm). The transmission for the Vi is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic, and it’s front-wheel drive (2WD/FWD) only.

The VTi models in the range get a turbo motor. According to Honda, that’s what the ‘T’ now stands for in CR-V land. 

That engine is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit producing 140kW of power (at 5600rpm) and 240Nm of torque (from 2000-5000rpm). It’s available mated to a CVT auto gearbox, and the choice of FWD/2WD or all-wheel drive (AWD).

If you’re after a diesel, hybrid or plug-in hybrid version of the CR-V, you’re out of luck. There’s no EV / electric model either. It’s purely a petrol affair here. 

Towing capacity for the CR-V is pegged at 600kg for unbraked trailers, while the braked towing capacity is 1000kg for the seven-seat versions and 1500kg for five-seat models.


Kia Sportage

This Sportage GT-Line is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine pumping out 137kW of power at 4000rpm and 416Nm of torque at 2000-2750rpm.

In terms of outputs, it matches its mechanical twin, the Tucson, and it’s roughly in line with the VW Tiguan (147kW/400Nm), but it’s slightly down on the Mazda CX-5 2.2-litre diesel’s 140kW/450Nm.

All diesel Sportage grades come with all-wheel drive as standard and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic.

Fuel consumption

Honda CR-V7/10

The combined cycle fuel consumption varies depending on the model you choose in the CR-V range.

The non-turbo 2.0L engine in the Vi is the thirsty one, using a claimed 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

The VTi engine’s fuel consumption varies depending on the model, seating and drivetrain (2WD or AWD). The entry grade VTi FWD uses a claimed 7.0L/100km, while the VTi 7, VTi X and VTi L7 use 7.3L/100km, and the VTi L AWD and VTi LX AWD claim 7.4L/100km.

On test in the top-spec VTi LX AWD - across a mix of urban, highway and open road driving - we saw an at the pump fuel use return of 10.3L/100km. 

All CR-V models come with a 57 litre fuel tank capacity. Even the turbo models can run on 91RON regular unleaded, too.


Kia Sportage

According to Kia’s figures, the Sportage diesel consumes 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle.

We ended our week of testing with 8.9L/100km, which is considerably more than the official claim. Granted, it was a week of very mixed driving – freeway, heavy traffic, inner city and back road testing – so you’d likely get better results in a less erratic week.

The Sportage emits 163g/km of CO2 and has a 54-litre fuel tank.

Driving

Honda CR-V8/10

Fit for purpose. That summaries the drive experience of the Honda CR-V 2021 model, which is unashamedly a family car and drives how a family car should.

That is to say it’s not as exciting or powerful as some rivals. If you’re after driving thrills, you maybe shouldn’t even be looking in this segment, certainly not at this price point anyway. But I will say this - on balance, the CR-V offers a competitive midsize SUV drive experience if you value comfort and easy driving overall.

The CR-V’s turbo engine offers decent pulling power across a good span of revs, and while we often criticise CVT automatic transmissions, the auto used here makes good use of the turbo engine’s torque band, meaning it accelerates smoothly enough and responds with enough urgency when you plant your foot. There’s a very slight lag to contend with during rolling acceleration, but it takes off from a standstill pretty well.

The engine is a little vocal under hard acceleration, but generally the CR-V is quiet, refined and pleasant - there’s not too much road noise (even on the 19-inch wheels of the VTi LX AWD), and there’s minimal wind roar, too. 

The steering in the CR-V has always been a bit of a highlight - it has a really quick action that is well weighted and offers good accuracy, while not necessarily giving the driver a lot of feel and feedback. It’s great when you’re parking, because the wheel takes very little effort to turn.

There have been changes to the suspension for the 2021 Honda CR-V, but you’d be hard pressed to pick them - it still rides comfortable and hardly ever feels upset by bumps (only sharp edges at lower speeds cause some clunkiness, and that’s based on the drive in the VTi LX AWD with its large 19-inch wheels and low profile Michelin Latitude Sport 255/55/19 tyres).

Don’t get me wrong - the suspension is set for softness as a priority, so there is some body roll to contend with in corners. For family buyers, the drive experience is good, though anyone looking for a fun drive might be better served considering a Tiguan or RAV4.

Explore the Honda CR-V in 3D.

Check out the CR-V on a camping adventure.


Kia Sportage

There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the previous Sportage, but it was middle of the pack when it came to dynamics and overall driver engagement.

While I can only speak for the flagship GT-Line diesel here, it’s safe to say the new model represents a big improvement over the outgoing car.

Quite conveniently, I spent the week prior to the Sportage with the Hyundai Tucson Highlander diesel – the direct equivalent to the Sportage tested here.

While I found very little wrong with the Tucson, it lacked a level of driver engagement that gives a car that fun factor.

Despite the two models sharing so much of their underpinnings, the Kia manages to offer that playful dynamism lacking in the Tucson.

To start, the turbo-diesel engine is more responsive in the Sportage, even though the two have identical outputs. There’s a hint of turbo lag, but the Kia delivers its power and torque in a more linear manner.

This responsiveness comes in handy during daily driving around town, but it’s also useful if you need to overtake on a highway.

Steering is heavy even at low speeds and it feels like it pulls back to centre when turning. It could be a little looser on that front, but it’s direct when required.

One of the reasons for the more engaging driving characteristics is Kia’s local ride and handling program. The Sportage has been tuned by locals for local conditions and the team generally does an exceptional job.

The Tucson didn’t get the usual rigorous local tune from Hyundai’s specialists and that’s given the Sportage the edge.

It feels more planted to the road and given its GT-Line badge, it’s been tuned for more enthusiastic driving.

The Sportage doesn't skip on loose edges, even when cornering, and it remains remarkably flat through the twisty stuff.

The eight-speed auto does a good job for the most part, shifting smoothly, but it occasionally hunts for gears when the engine is pushed hard.

The ride quality also impresses. The Sportage is not bothered by speed bumps in urban areas or potholes. The 235/55 R19 tyres have a decent sidewall and help soak up these bumps.

Despite some noticeable road and tyre noise on coarse chip roads, the cabin has a good level of insulation and is generally hushed. The diesel isn’t as agricultural as some, too, so that helps with noise levels. And there was no vibration detected through the steering wheel.

One gripe is that the auto wipers are all but useless. Even when they are on the highest auto setting, they just don’t seem to detect the rain and you have to engage it manually.

Safety

Honda CR-V7/10

The Honda CR-V was awarded a five-star ANCAP crash test rating in 2017, but given the rapid changes in protocols from the safety watchdog, it wouldn’t score that today - even with the broader application of the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech.

Models from the VTi variant up now score the Honda Sensing suite of active safety technologies. Previously, only five-seat AWD models were eligible for this tech, but now there’s been some level of democratisation of the safety spec, with 2WD models and seven seat CR-Vs now getting the tech. 

All CR-Vs with VTi as part of their name now get forward collision mitigation (FCW) with collision mitigation braking system (CMBS), which combines into a form of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) that operates at speeds above 5km/h and can detect pedestrians, too. The lane keeping assistance (LKA) system can help keep in the centre of the lane by using a camera to monitor road markings - it works between 72km/h and 180km/h. There’s also a lane departure warning (LDW) system that can vibrate the steering wheel if it thinks you’re leaving your lane, before steering the car back (mildly) and applying brakes - it works at the same speeds as the LKA system.

There’s also adaptive cruise control that works between 30km/h and 180km/h, but at speeds below 30km/h the brand’s ‘Low Speed Follow’ system will accelerate and brake while keeping a safe distance. It won’t automatically resume if you come to a complete stop, though.

While the list of safety gear is an improvement for the CR-V range more broadly, this upgrade still leaves it well and truly behind the best in the class for safety tech. It is not designed to include cyclist detection, and it misses out on a traditional blind spot monitoring system - instead, only some models in the line-up get the LaneWatch camera system (VTi X and above) that simply isn’t as good as a real blind-spot system. There’s also no rear cross-traffic alert, and no rear AEB. There is no surround view / 360 degree camera available on any grade, either.

The fact Honda hasn’t taken the opportunity to fit the safety tech system to all models in the CR-V range is both befuddling and disappointing. You were so close, Honda Australia. So close. 

At the very least, the CR-V has an array of airbags (dual front, front side and full length curtain) and yes, the seven seat models get proper third-row airbag coverage, too.


Kia Sportage

All Sportage variants come standard with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and junction detection, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, multi-collision braking, a safe exit warning, driver attention alert, speed sign recognition and a rear occupant alert.

The GT-Line adds a surround-view monitor, blind spot view monitor and reverse parking collision avoidance assist. 

It is yet to be tested by ANCAP.

Kia’s driver assistance features are well calibrated, with the lane keep assist centring the vehicle between line markings for the most part, and the latest adaptive cruise control proving that it is more intuitive, and, as a result, much smoother, than the system Kia uses in older models like the Cerato.

You have to opt out of the lane keeping aid every time you start the car, and the reverse parking collision avoidance assist can be a little over-zealous if it detects passing cars or even a bush during urban parking manoeuvres, but aside from that the whole set-up is top notch.

Ownership

Honda CR-V7/10

The Honda CR-V is backed by the brand’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is par for the course in the segment.

There is the option of an extended warranty plan out to seven years, which also bundles in roadside assistance for that period - but you have to pay for it. You don’t if you buy a Kia or SsangYong.

Honda asks for owners to have their cars serviced every 12 months/10,000km, which is shorter intervals than many rivals (annually or 15,000km). But the service costs are low, pegged at $312 per visit for the first 10 years/100,000km of ownership - just note, that figure doesn’t include some consumables. 

Worried about Honda CR-V problems - be it reliability, issues, complaints, transmission problems or engine concerns? Head to our Honda CR-V problems page.


Kia Sportage

The Sportage comes with Kia’s seven-year/unlimited kilometre factory warranty, and free roadside assistance for one year.

It’s also covered by a seven-year capped-price servicing program that will cost approximately $3500 over the seven-year period. Service intervals are every 12 months or 15,000km.