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2021 Honda CR-V Review

Impressive passenger and cargo space, a refined cabin, and a lively, efficient turbocharged engine help the 2021 Honda CR-V vault toward the top of our compact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious rear seat and cargo hold
  • Great fuel economy for the class
  • Upscale cabin
  • Quick acceleration
  • Few standard infotainment features
  • Frustrating touch-screen controls

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Honda CR-V's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Honda CR-V has a score of 8.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.5
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.3
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Honda CR-V?

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 Is the Honda CR-V a Good SUV?

 Yes, the Honda CR-V is a very good compact SUV, and it's about as close to the total package as you can find in this segment. The latest iteration of Honda's small crossover is compact in name only as it boasts a huge cargo hold and near class-leading passenger space. The upscale materials further add to the impressive cabin.

 The CR-V's performance is well-rounded, with spry acceleration, great fuel economy, and a forgiving ride quality. On the downside, it comes with few standard infotainment features, and the optional touch-screen system isn't user-friendly.

Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 25 Honda CR-V reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 CR-V is the right new car for you.

This 2021 CR-V review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from automakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Honda CR-V?

The CR-V should be on the shortlist of anyone looking at a crossover SUV. The base model is a decent value proposition thanks to a hefty bunch of driver-assist features, but techies will need to spend an extra couple thousand for amenities such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The CR-V checks nearly every box, but it’s not very athletic. If you’re seeking a small SUV with agile handling, you’ll want to check out the Mazda CX-5.

Find a 2021 Honda CR-V for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Honda CR-V: What's the Difference?

After several notable revisions for the 2020 model year, Honda makes no major changes to the 2021 CR-V.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 CR-V »

Here are the key changes for the Honda CR-V over the past several years:

  • 2017: fully redesigned; gained available turbocharged engine and available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration
  • 2018: no major changes
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: received exterior facelift; turbocharged engine and the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features became standard; Honda CR-V Hybrid introduced
  • 2021: no major changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 CR-V, 2019 CR-V, and 2020 CR-V reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Honda CR-V Cost?

At the time of this writing, Honda has not announced pricing for the 2021 CR-V. Over the last few model years, the CR-V has had roughly average list prices for the compact SUV class. The price range for the 2020 CR-V ran from about $25,000 to $33,250.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

Honda CR-V Versus the Competition

Honda CR-V vs. Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is a well-rounded compact SUV, but the CR-V is a slightly better vehicle overall. Both of these small SUVs have a refined cabin, great fuel economy, ample second-row space, and plenty of standard active safety features. The Toyota's most notable advantage is its longer list of standard infotainment features (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot) and a more user-friendly touch screen. The Honda’s advantages include smoother and swifter acceleration, a few more cubic feet of cargo space, and a marginally better predicted reliability rating.

Compare the CR-V and RAV4 »

Honda CR-V vs. Subaru Forester

Were it not for a bottom-of-the-barrel predicted reliability rating, the Subaru Forester would have a more competitive ranking in the class. Standard all-wheel drive and a touch-screen infotainment system in the base model – for a lower price than the CR-V – help make this Subaru an intriguing option. Both SUVs are among the class leaders for cargo and passenger space, and they both have a pleasing interior and a long list of active safety features. The Forester's engine, however, is a little underwhelming compared with the CR-V's. The Honda’s higher predicted reliability rating and stronger engine help it win this matchup.

Compare the CR-V and Forester »

Compare the CR-V, RAV4, and Forester »

CR-V Interior: Not So Compact

CR-V Cargo Space

The Honda CR-V offers up one of the largest cargo holds in the compact SUV class. Behind the second row of seats, you'll find 39.2 cubic feet of storage space, or enough room for several large suitcases or duffle bags.

You can fold the back seat down to open up 75.8 cubic feet of space. That cargo-carrying volume is similar to or better than the maximum capacity of many midsize SUVs. Additionally, this crossover's low liftover height makes it easier to load heavy items.

How Many People Does the CR-V Seat?

The CR-V holds up to five people. The two front seats are comfortable and provide plenty of support for day-long trips. With more than 40 inches of legroom, the second row gives even tall riders ample space to stretch out and relax.

CR-V and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats. The rear middle seat has an upper tether and one lower anchor, and it can borrow the other lower anchor from the driver's side seat.

The lower anchors are easy to reach. However, it can require some force to attach the car-seat straps. Also, you might confuse other hardware for the tether anchors on the seatbacks.

CR-V Interior Quality

The CR-V has a classy cabin with a sharp design and high-quality materials everywhere you look and touch.

CR-V Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

In-car technology is one of this Honda’s few weaknesses. The base model is kind of a dinosaur, as it only comes with a 5-inch screen that lacks touch capability. All other trims feature a touch-screen system with built-in support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

You'll probably want to use those options instead of the native interface, which suffers from clunky menus and slow response times. A volume knob is the only physical control for infotainment; shortcut buttons for functions such as audio source or the home screen are electronic and locked to the side of the display.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch display, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port
  • Available infotainment features: a 7-inch touch- screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, an additional front USB port, two rear USB ports, an eight-speaker stereo, wireless device charging, navigation, and a nine-speaker premium stereo
  • Additional standard features: automatic climate control
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, remote start, proximity keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, and interior ambient lighting

Read more about interior »

CR-V Performance: Terrific Turbo Power

CR-V Engine

The Honda CR-V only offers one powertrain setup, but it's a good one. A 190-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine helps get you going swiftly from a stop, and it provides ample top-end power as you continue to accelerate.

The standard continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) earns praise for its smooth and refined operation. This type of gearbox is often derided in other vehicles for creating a droning noise or hampering acceleration; there are no such concerns in the CR-V.

CR-V Gas Mileage

The 2021 CR-V returns excellent fuel economy for a compact SUV. It's estimated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with standard front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive models are rated at 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

CR-V Ride and Handling

This SUV prioritizes ride comfort over lively handling. The CR-V's compliant suspension helps absorb bumps in the road, and the cabin remains free from most outside noise. While not overly athletic, this Honda has composed steering and is easy to maneuver. Its brakes are responsive and inspire confidence when it comes time to stop.

Read more about performance »

CR-V Reliability

Is the Honda CR-V Reliable?

The 2021 Honda CR-V has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Honda CR-V Warranty

Honda covers the CR-V with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

CR-V Safety

CR-V Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Honda CR-V an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the frontal crash and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn't tested the 2021 model yet, but it gave the nearly identical 2020 Honda CR-V the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The halogen headlights in the CR-V's three lower trims received the second-lowest rating of Marginal for how well they illuminate the road ahead. The CR-V Touring has LED headlights that received a Good rating.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The 2020 CR-V earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard front crash prevention systems.

CR-V Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Read more about safety »

CR-V Dimensions and Weight

The CR-V is 15.2 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,337 to 3,455 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Honda CR-V Built?

Honda builds the 2021 CR-V in Ohio, Indiana, and Canada.

Which Honda CR-V Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Honda CR-V comes in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. All models come standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional in every trim. We review the hybrid version of the CR-V separately.

The base model comes with a good number of active safety features, but we recommend stepping up at least one rung to the EX trim, which nets you a touch-screen infotainment system, smartphone integration, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats, and a moonroof. To get leather seats, you'll have to get the EX-L trim or above. Some features, such as navigation, are limited to the top Touring model.

Front and rear parking sensors are optional in every trim.

Honda CR-V LX

The Honda CR-V LX comes standard with automatic climate control, a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, a 5-inch audio display, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera.

Honda CR-V EX

The Honda CR-V EX adds a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, an additional front USB port, and two rear USB ports. The EX also comes with blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a moonroof, remote start, heated outside mirrors, LED fog lights, and proximity keyless entry.

Honda CR-V EX-L

Standard features in the Honda CR-V EX-L include leather upholstery, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, driver's seat memory settings, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an eight-speaker stereo, and a universal garage door opener.

Honda CR-V Touring

The range-topping CR-V Touring features a hands-free liftgate, wireless device charging, a heated steering wheel, satellite-linked navigation, a nine-speaker premium stereo, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights, and interior ambient lighting.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Honda dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Honda deals page.

See 2021 Honda CR-V specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Honda CR-V is a consistently strong performer in our compact SUV rankings. It offers great utility, agreeable performance, and a comfy, spacious, interior. Unless sharp handling or super-straightforward infotainment tech is a top priority for you, the CR-V is a must-consider vehicle.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "If you’re in the market for a compact crossover SUV, the 2021 Honda CR-V must be on your test-drive list. Like its archrival the Toyota RAV4, the Honda CR-V has been around for over two decades and cultivated an enviable reputation for reliability and high resale value. Moreover, it’s just a pleasure to own and operate." -- Autotrader
  • "The CR-V has all the desirable qualities of the best compact SUVs: fuel efficiency, versatility, and plenty of the latest tech." -- Car and Driver
  • "Ingredients for the CR-V’s recipe for success include a decades-long history of reliability and high resale value, easy and efficient driving manners, practicality, and among the roomiest interiors in its class. And it all comes at a price tag that’s digestible to everyday buyers." -- Kelley Blue Book   
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