Updated Honda CR-V safer but also pricier

Honda changes model names and adds features in CR-V update.

Christmas has come early for one of Australia’s most popular SUVs, the Honda CR-V, which has received a 2021 model update including revised styling, new equipment and features, and wider availability of advanced driver assist technologies. 

The CR-V range comes with two engine choices – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol (113kw/189Nm) and a turbocharged 1.5-litre VTEC four-cylinder (140kW/240kW), with the latter engine available in four of the five trim grades. 

However, under  a new model grade naming convention, which Honda says is designed to make it easier for customers to understand differences between model grades, the two engines are now identified as Vi (non-turbo) and VTi (turbo), while trim levels are designated as X, L and LX. 

The CR-V also continues to offer buyers the choice of five and seven seats and two- or all-wheel drive with the VTi and VTiL available as seven-seaters (dubbed VTi 7 and VTi L7). The VTi L and VTi LX can be had with all-wheel drive (AWD) where all other models are front drive. 

That brings the total number of available CR-V variants to seven, with Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins stating the model line shake-up and equipment upgrades are designed to cater to a new sub-set of the medium SUV segment, where customers want a higher level of specification but at an affordable price point.

Honda CR-V VTi LX

Hence why, he says, Honda has added additional equipment and features to the previous mid-range VTi-S AWD, to create the VTi L AWD.

At the other end of the spectrum, Mr Collins said there was an increased demand for an entry point to the seven-seater package, prompting Honda to reposition the previous VTi-E7 grade to become the new VTi 7. 

All CR-V grades fitted with the 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engine are now equipped with the Honda Sensing package of advanced safety and driver-assist technologies, which was previously available only on the two top-spec models. 

“The inclusion of Honda Sensing as standard equipment on all CR-V grades with the 1.5-litre turbo engine represents another step in our plan to introduce the latest intelligent driver-assist and active safety technologies right across the Honda vehicle range,” Mr Collins said.

“By early next year almost 70% of our vehicles will feature Honda Sensing, reflecting our ongoing commitment to support the safe and comfortable driving of our customers.”

Honda CR-V VTi LX

The entry-level CR-V Vi is the only variant in the seven model line-up to miss out on the new safety tech, but like the rest of the revised CR-V range now features a 7.0-inch Advanced Display Audio system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and dual-zone climate control as standard features. 

All models also boast revised styling and equipment upgrades with the former including a distinctive lower accent in the front bumper, matched by a central chrome wing in the upper grille and a new blackout grille.

The lower front bumper accent is now finished in silver or grey, depending on the grade.  The rear bumper now features a chrome “wing” accent, dark chrome tailgate garnishes, dark-tinted taillight lenses, and dual chrome exhaust finishers on turbo models. 

There are also new 18-inch alloy wheels for the newly named VTi X, VTi L AWD and VTi L7 grades while the up-spec VTi LX AWD boasts unique 19-inch alloys with Y-spoke design and a light grey finish. And two new paint colours have been added to the five existing colours, with the addition of Ignite red metallic and Cosmic blue metallic.  

Inside, all CR-V grades benefit from a redesigned centre console with improved storage and easier access to phone and USB ports. The VTi L7 and VTi LX AWD grades are now equipped with a wireless phone charging pad.

Honda CR-V VTi LX

The new, “affordable luxury” VTi L AWD variant features leather-appointed seat trim, heated front seats and eight-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat. On top of this, mid- and high-series grades feature a hands-free power tailgate. The high-series seven-seat VTi L7 gains, LED headlights and fog lights and privacy glass.  

The changes to the MY21 CR-V are accompanied by price rises across the board, ranging from a $1000 increase for the VTi 7 to a $4500 hike for the VTi 7. 

Mr Collins defended the increases saying the company had “maintained stable pricing across the CR-V range since it first arrived in mid-2017,” despite challenging conditions with the Australian dollar. 

He said the price hikes were “in line with the significant increase to standard equipment and specification levels across the range for the new 21YM CR-V”. 

“We’ve made sure the value proposition on offer with the new CR-V remains strong, with the affordable advanced safety of Honda Sensing now available from $33,490 with the VTi grade, while the competitiveness of the high-series grades has been strengthened by the inclusion of more equipment and premium features,” Mr Collins said. 

Honda CR-V 2021YM model pricing:

   Engine  MLP*
 Vi  2.0L i-VTEC  $30,490
 VTi  1.5L VTEC Turbo  $33,490
 VTi 7  1.5L VTEC Turbo   $35,490
 VTi X  1.5L VTEC Turbo   $35,990
 VTi L AWD  1.5L VTEC Turbo   $40,490
 VTi L7  1.5L VTEC Turbo   $43,490
 VTi LX AWD  1.5L VTEC Turbo   $47,490