One of Honda’s best-sellers, the CR-V received significant changes for its 2020 model year.The 2020 Honda CR-V got an upgraded engine and styling along with some new features. With recent changes on board just months back, the 2021 Honda CR-V which should hit the stores by the end of this year should mostly remain unchanged.

Even after several years of its launch, the 2020 Honda CR-V is still one of Honda’s most recognized and best-selling products. In a pool flooded with rivals from almost every manufacturer, the mighty Honda aptly stands out with its best overall packaging. For years now, the CR-V has been a benchmark in the compact-SUV segment. A subtle design, refined and energetic powertrain, effortless driveability, premium interiors, and best in class cargo area have been some of its major highlights. 

The Honda CR-V will be a carry-forward model for 2021 

Thanks to the consistent tweaks and updates that have always kept a check on its core attributes. Even the current fifth-gen CR-V which was unveiled in 2017, received some significant mechanical and physical changes for 2020. The 2020 Honda CR-V featured some design and feature updates along with an updated engine. With these very fresh changes in the recent past, the CR-V is expected to go unchanged when it enters its 2021 model year, somewhere later down this year. We take a closer look here at how the 2021 Honda CR-V might stack up?

Trims and Prices 

With no notable changes for the next model year, the 2021 Honda CR-V shall continue to roll out in four basic trims. You would still have the option of picking your favorite compact-SUV in either LX, EX, EX-L or Touring models. Besides these gasoline models, there also sits the frugal hybrid CR-V which was only introduced last year. As far as prices are concerned, we do expect a marginal increase over the 2020 model. Expect the 2021 Honda CR-V to start at a little over $26k.

Engine and Transmission

The major change that Honda brought to the CR-V in 2020 was updating the standard engine on its popular crossover. With the scrapping of the lethargic 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine, the 190 hp 1.5-liter turbo was now made standard across the lineup. The turbo was previously available only with the higher trims. Since the 2021 Honda CR-V is very likely to be carried over unchanged from 2020, we will have the same engine at our disposal. The new standard turbo engine did not bring a huge difference but it is surely more responsive and energetic than the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated unit.

2021 Honda CR-V will be powered by a 1.5 L turbocharged motor

Not to forget that humble compact crossovers like the CR-V are not meant to be aggressive and wildly potent machines. With their kingdom mostly confined to city spaces, this class of cars is more oriented towards efficiency and value. Expecting rapid-fire rounds down the streets from the CR-V would only lead to disappointment though. For 2021 though, the CR-V might get AWD as standard, which is currently available only as an option. As ever, transmission duties in the 2021 Honda CR- V would be carried on by Honda’s reliable, efficient and responsive CVT.

Models

2021 Honda CR-V (est)

2020 Mazda CX-5

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Toyota RAV4

Base MSRP

$26,500

$25,190

$24,885

$25,950

Engine

1.5-liter turbo Inline-4

2.5-liter Inline-4

1.5-liter turbo Inline-3

2.5-liter Inline-4

Transmission

CVT

6-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

Horsepower (hp @ rpm)

190 hp @ 5600 rpm

187 hp @ 6000 rpm

180 hp @ 6000 rpm

203 hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque (ft-lbs @ rpm)

179 ft-lbs. @ 2000 rpm

186 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm

190 ft-lbs @ 3000 rpm

184 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm

Compare it to its rivals and the segment starts talking about itself putting things as straight as they could get. Most of the cars in the segment carry similarly modest powertrains with identical numbers as well. Thrust upon a mixed output of efficiency and performance is clearly visible here. However, the Ford Escape turns out to be a bit more dynamic with its three available powertrain options. Apart from the regular gas and hybrid combo, the Escape also offers a 2.0-liter turbo engine that churns out 250 horsepower. The Ford certainly has an edge here over the others.

Fuel Economy and MPG Figures

Honda’s idea of hooking the smaller 1.5-liter engine as standard with the 2020 CR-V has multiple positive outcomes. Apart from adding a bit more zing to its character, the smaller turbocharged unit also ensured an enhanced fuel economy, just about enough to get it to the top of the segment in the fuel economy race. The 2020 Honda CR-V returns 28 mpg in the city, 34 on highway and 30 combined. These figures are just 1 mpg better than the earlier 2.4-liter pot’s output. With no mechanical or powertrain updates, the 2021 Honda CR-V should also deliver the exact same numbers per gallon.

Models

2021 Honda CR-V (est)

2020 Mazda CX-5

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Toyota RAV4

MPG (city)

28

25

27

26

MPG (highway)

34

31

33

35

MPG (combined)

30

28

30

30

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

14.0

14.8

14.7

14.5

Range (city/highway, in miles)

392.0/476.0

370.0/458.8

396.0/441.0

377.0/507.5

No big surprises from its rivals either, and just like the power output, they all deliver similar MPG numbers as well. While the CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4 are on the podium together with their 30 mpg combined, the Mazda CX-5 stands a notch behind with its 28 combined. However, the stylish Mazda compensated that very well with its sporty and energetic drive.

Design and Exterior Highlights

Since its unveiling in 2017, the fifth-gen Honda CR-V received a minor styling tweak in 2020 for the first time. The 2020 Honda CR-V featured new headlights, revised front, and rear bumpers, new rims, and three new exterior paint schemes. With these many changes on the president model year, the 2021 Honda CR-V is very unlikely to sport any exterior updates. Change or not, the CR-V has always had a stance of itself which is very consistent even today. 

2021 Honda CR-V features a modern design

It always has a gentle face along with an elegant side-profile that separates it from its overly aggressive rivals. Furthermore, its side profile highlighted by a low roof and chrome accents on the window line make it look much more premium than it actually is. Even at the back, it keeps things pretty low and simple highlighted by its traditional vertical tail lamps. The 2020 update further chiseled its already neat propositions with more modern front and rear faces along with led headlights and tail lamps. 

Model

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Toyota RAV4

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3337

3541

3299

3370

Length (in.)

182.2

179.1

180.5

180.9

Width (in.)

73.0

72.5

74.1

73.0

Height (in.)

66.1

66.2

66.1

67.0

Ground Clearance (in.)

7.8

7.5

N/A

8.4

Wheelbase (in.)

104.7

106.2

106.7

105.9

There are certainly several aspects that make the CR-V one of the best products in its class and its design and form are certainly among them. It has a very balanced exterior proportion and a form factor that by no means seems overdone. Unlike the sporty and aggressive appeal of the Toyota RAV4 or the ‘smartness” of the Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape, the CR-V has a more mature and balanced stance.

Interior, Seating, and Cargo

As with the exterior and other mechanics, the 2021 Honda CR-V shall continue to greet with a familiar ambiance. We didn’t have much of a complaint from the present 2020 CR-V and we shouldn’t have it in 2021 either. The CR-V boasts one of the most premium and practical interiors in its segment. While it doesn’t have the style and freshness of a Mazda CX-5 for sure, it sticks with what it has been known for over the years pretty well. 

2021 Honda CR-V has one of the best interiors in its segment

On the inside, you do get some hazard plastics here and there as expected in this price range, but everything is laid out as it should. The cabin has a clean layout with enormous space and a sense of very strong build quality. Seats at both the benches are wide and comfortable with ample room and the front seats also get power adjustments. Most of the contact surfaces like the dashboard, center panel, and armrests are covered with soft-touch material which is always a nice addition. You also get wooden inserts on the dashboard and the door panels that add sumptuousness into the cabin.

Models

2020 Honda CR-V

2020 Mazda CX-5

2020 Ford Escape

2020 Toyota RAV4

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

40.1/57.9/41.3

39.7/57.1/41.0

40.0/57.6/42.4

39.5/57.8/41.0

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.2/55.6/40.4

39.0/54.8/39.6

39.3/56.0/40.7

39.5/56.4/37.8

Cargo Capacity (cu-fts)

39.2

30.9

33.5

37.6

Overall, the Honda CR-V has a well-groomed cabin that is more than adequate to accommodate five adults. However, there are rumors that the 2021 Honda CR-V might add up the third row as well. If that happens, it would be among the very few vehicles to offer a third row in its segment. Apart from plenty of room, the CR-V also brings great practicality with plenty of useful storage spaces inside the cabin. Even the cup-holders and door bins are larger than some of its rivals. Another advantage that the Honda CR-V has over its rivals, is its best in class 39.2 cu-fts of cargo space. 

Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment setup on the 2021 Honda CR-V could well be in for a change in the 2021 Honda CR-V. The major changes could have the standard 7.0-inch infotainment system upgraded with a bigger screen across the lineup. The new Honda infotainment system seen in the newer Honda’s should also find its way finally to the 2021 CR-V.

2021 Honda CR-V gets a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment

An update to the connectivity features with the inclusion of aux input should also be more than welcoming. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio are already on the CR-V’s feature list and that's only a good thing. If updated, the 2021 Honda CR-V’s infotainment would turn out to be more enhanced and responsive than the one in 2020.

Safety Features and Ratings

Honda’s have always known to be among the safest cars on the roads and the CR-V is no different. Further ensuring customer’s peace of mind, Honda revamped the CR-V’s safety bar further with the Honda Sensing Package coming in as standard with the 2020 model. The Sensing Package includes advanced driver-assistance technologies like lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. No wonder the 2020 Honda CR-V received a 5-star rating safety rating from NHTSA and Top Safety Pick recognition by IIHS. With no probable changes on board, the 2021 Honda CR-V should very well retain its safety scores. Some of the highlighted safety features of the 2020 Honda CR-V are listed below:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • AutoHigh-Beam Headlights
  • Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System(CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning(FCW) and pedestrian sensing capability.

Verdict

The Honda CR-V is an ideal car for those who want the comfort and drivability of a premium sedan along with the spaciousness and utility of an SUV. By no means, the CR-V is a burly 4x4, but it is very good at what it is supposed to be. Right from the clean and elegant looks to the plush cabin and comfortable ride, it has just the right amount of everything. Interestingly it is also one of the most efficient things in its class and it also doesn't ask you to for a very heavy premium. 

Also Read:

Here's why the Toyota RAV4 is the closest competitor to the Honda CR-V.

With three powertrain options on offer, the 2020 Ford Escape is the most versatile among its class.

FAQs

Is the Honda CR-V a good car?

Yes, the Honda CR-V is one of the best cars at its price and segment. For a price of around $35k, the CR-V offers you a perfect blend of comfort, luxury, efficiency, and utility. It is easy to drive and is also one of the most reliable and safest cars on the road.

Is Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 better?

Both the cars do fall in the same price bracket and segment but they have a very different character. While the RAV4 is a bit more on the rugged and capable side, the CR-V is more inclined towards comfort and smoothness. The CR-V also offers better wholesome value than the RAV4.