Priced from $34,200 plus on-road costs, the CR-V VTi has an immediate and appealing advantage over most of its equivalently priced competitors like the $35,100 Hyundai Tucson Active X, $33,590 Kia Sportage SX, $33,190 Mazda CX-5 Maxx, $32,665 Nissan X-Trail ST, $35,190 Subaru Forester 2.5i and $34,695 Toyota RAV4 GX… and that’s turbo muscle.
No humdrum atmo fours for this particular Honda, because the VTi is powered by a 140kW/220Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, driving the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Only the $35,990 Ford Escape beats it for bang-for-your-buck in this segment, clocking in with a stirring 183kW/387Nm 2.0-litre turbo smasher.
The VTi also gains (at long last) Honda’s ‘Sensing’ safety package that includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB), forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop/go functionality, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist and steering assist. These come on top of the usual kit like six airbags, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, anti-trailer sway, driver attention-lapse warning, a hill-holder device and ISOFIX child-seat anchor points.
However, unlike the Mazda CX-5 and some others, the CR-V skips on Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA), which automatically brakes the vehicle at up to a certain speed when nosing or reversing into traffic.
You'll also find keyless entry/start, climate control air-con, a reverse camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, electric park brake, remote-down for all electric windows, four USB ports, eight cupholders, tyre-pressure monitors, 17-inch alloy wheels and a handy “conversation mirror” for front occupants to glance out back.
There’s also something called Active Noise Control, which Honda describes as eliminating “noise caused by both (engine) cylinder deactivation and exhaust noise… (via) a front ceiling-mounted microphone and a rear tray microphone to detect any “booming” sound…then emits a mirror “anti-noise” signal through the audio system’s speakers, which effectively cancels those booming sounds and creates a quieter passenger compartment. ANC is always working, even when the audio system is turned off.” As you'll find out, we wondered whether ours was working as it should...
Be aware that there is no sign of a smartphone wireless charger, Honda’s excellent “Lane Watch” side camera, digital radio or satellite navigation in the VTi. You will need to spend more on higher grades for those items.
But a full-sized spare is included.