The year was 1997, and Honda was looking to further their interest in producing high-quality SUVs, something that the popular manufacturer had begun doing a few years prior. This new SUV was built with versatility in mind, and after multiple generations of the model, the 2021 Honda CR-V is the latest variation of this well-known SUV. Critics have been quick to point out that this newest CR-V doesn’t retain enough advancements to recommend upgrading to from an older model, but we’re here to tell you that the time has never been better to purchase a CR-V. Why is that? We believe that Honda’s latest offering from the CR-V lineup is an excellent choice for any buyer.
Four Trims to Choose From
Nothing has changed in regards to the available trim levels as the same four are present from last year. What has changed is a slightly lower MSRP for the new model, with a starting price of $25,350. By itself, the base model, the LX, is an excellent value, but we highly recommend that drivers opt for the EX trim to reap the benefits of additions such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a couple of other amenities regarding safety.
The EX-L is the next available trim for the CR-V. This trim begins leaning more towards the luxurious side of things with a pristine leather interior and features aimed towards improving your comforts, such as a lavish 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and even a 4-way power-adjustable seat for your front passenger. The Touring is then the last available trim and includes features such as wireless phone charging, a heated steering wheel, and increases the wheel size to 19-inches over the 18 or 17-inch set on previous trims.
One Turbocharged Powertrain
Performance on the 2021 CR-V isn’t the best on the market, but it does offer you decent performance, and more notably, it has excellent fuel efficiency. Inside of the 2021 model is the turbocharged 1.5L 4-cylinder that made its first appearance with the 2020 CR-V. The performance also remains the same for this turbocharged engine with 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque, along with a maximum towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. Just like before, this towing capacity isn’t the best on the market by a long shot, but it’s still plenty of strength to tow basic cargo trailers or a jet-ski on a camping trip, for example.
A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) comes paired to this engine, and it earns excellent EPA-estimated ratings depending on if you have front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models get ratings of 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway, and all-wheel drive models can do 27 MPG city and 32 MPG highway.
While this engine is excellent and the fuel efficiency is great, there is another option if you want something even more fuel efficient. Okay, we know we said one turbocharged powertrain, but there is also the option for a hybrid CR-V. The hybrid models come with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that generates 212 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. This is the one to look at if you want the best fuel efficiency since it gets around 40 MPG city and 35 MPG highway with all-wheel drive.
As Good As It Gets
The interior inside of the 2021 CR-V is one of the best we’ve seen this year. Honda has managed to blend style and substance into a cabin that you’ll generally adore. One of our most favorite aspects of the CR-V’s interior is an abundance of cargo space complemented with the latest technology at your disposal. With a five-passenger capacity, the CR-V can be fitted to include power-adjustable and heated seats, and the cabin should be tall enough for taller passengers as well.
Inside of the 2021 CR-V, the front row will give you 40.1-inches of headroom and 41.3-inches of legroom, and in the rear row, you’ll have 39.2-inches of headroom that’s then complemented by 40.4-inches of legroom. As we said, cargo space is highly important for the CR-V, and this is especially true with its 75.8 cu.ft. of maximum cargo volume.
Various reviewers have been quick to note that the base trim is rather lacking in regards to the more technologically advanced interior features, and they’d be right. Even with this in mind, the base model still comes with a 5-inch screen where you can control your media, and your media can stem from your smartphone, thanks to seamless Bluetooth integration. The base trim comes with a 4-speaker setup powered by 160-Watt, but there’s also a 180-Watt system with either six or eight speakers. Lastly, there’s a 330-Watt premium audio system that consists of nine speakers. Your music will sound increasingly better on each audio system, which is something to consider if that is an important factor to you.
Every other trim beside the base model will include an infotainment center, along with a majority of the features that you’d expect from such a setup. These trims swap out the 5-inch screen from the base model for a 7-inch screen, and the Touring then activates turn-by-turn navigation along with integrated charging pads that allow you to wirelessly charge your smartphone, which is a rather notable inclusion as it’s becoming an increasingly popular request for vehicles. Aside from this, smartphone integration is handled quite well with the inclusion of Apple Carplay and Android Auto, but both of these features will only appear on any trim beside the LX.
If you haven’t experienced Apple Carplay and Android Auto, the best way to describe it would be “game-changing.” Both of these features allow you to answer phone calls, send text messages, and even utilize turn-by-turn directions from your phone rather than the infotainment center itself. This is a huge advantage for those who choose not to opt for the highest-tier trim and its accompanying navigation system. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are accessible the old-fashioned way, via a USB connection. You also have Pandora compatibility if you prefer to listen to your music that way.
The Time To Act Is Now
We are rather impressed with the 2021 CR-V, even if its changes are not earth-shattering. Last year’s CR-V was, and still is, a fantastic automobile and this year’s model aims to keep that legacy alive for another year. There has been a plethora of speculation surrounding the 2021 CR-V as the last of its generation before an inevitable model refresh. Historically, the CR-V has gone through some intense changes, mostly for the better, and this leaves us curious about what Honda has planned for the next iteration of the CR-V.
However, that doesn’t mean that the 2021 model isn’t an excellent vehicle, and if you like the features we have highlighted, you should definitely grab one of these models now. Last year, Honda revealed the CR-V hybrid alongside the standard CR-V, and to this day, you’ll find both of these models on the sales lot at your local Honda dealership. The CR-V is the result of numerous decades of improvements, and if the first almost twenty-five years on the market has taught us anything, it’s that good changes come slowly but surely.