“Compact Recreational Vehicle” is one descriptor for the 2021 Honda CR-V but originally Honda went with “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”. I much prefer the latter. It’s appropriate for this compact SUV that does indeed run about comfortably. The 2021 model is part of the fifth-gen platform introduced in 2017, which means a full update is likely coming soon. That being said, there are loads of reasons to consider the 2021 Honda CR-V if you’re in the market.

A mild outer refresh was done last year including a more aggressive front fascia and revised rear bumper that carries over here. You can also opt for 19” wheels to give the CR-V a more athletic appearance. Available LED headlights give the nose an upscale look while giving the driver improved night vision. Motion activated tail gates are becoming more common but here, Honda thoughtfully allows for a customized height that the tailgate rises to.

Standard for 2021 is the Honda Sensing bundle of active safety features. This includes Collision Mitigation Braking, which can apply the brakes when an imminent collision is detected. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low Speed Follow will keep a preset distance from a car in front and can bring the CR-V to a complete stop if necessary. Lane Keeping Assist and Road Departure Mitigation work to keep the vehicle both centered in its lane and on the road in the event of an emergency. Worth noting is the 5-star crash test rating and Top Safety Pick designation from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

If you’re looking for plenty of power, solid efficiency and good value check out the Hybrid CR-V. The Hybrid mates a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor to put out a healthy 212 horsepower while managing up to 40 MPG in the city. It also comes standard with all-wheel-drive and additional features highlighting the hybrid functionality. You can select ECON mode to practice your hypermiling while monitoring your efficiency with the Hybrid Driver Information Interface. You can also tweak the level of the regenerative braking to suit your style.

While the tech feature list is on the shorter side, you can opt for a 7” infotainment touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. There is also an available wireless charging pad in the center console. For those of you that prefer a more analog approach (like myself), base CR-Vs come with a simple 5” radio screen in lieu of the touchscreen. Sometimes simple is good.

The interior amenities options fill in where the technology leaves off. On upper trims, you’ll find a nice blend of satin finishes, faux wood inlays and chrome-look trim that has an upscale feel. Leather trimmed and heated seating is optional along with true luxury touches like a heated steering wheel. The CR-V is also the class leader in both cargo volume and luggage space.

On the whole, the 2021 Honda CR-V is a good-looking vehicle with a highly functional interior layout. There is loads of cargo space, a quiet comfortable ride and a nice list of standard features on the EX trim. That being said, the dash, gauge cluster and infotainment screen has a dated feel versus the competition. For more of George’s thoughts on the new CR-V, please check out the video above. Drivers Only scores the 2021 Honda CR-V EX a 97, please click here to see how it ranks amongst the competition: Best Compact SUVs for 2020 & 2021.

Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon


16-valve DOHC 1.5-liter, turbocharged inline-4: 190 hp, 179 lb-ft
16-valve DOHC 2.0-liter, inline-4 + electric motor: 212 hp, 232 lb-ft

Continuously variable automatic
Single speed direct drive

Wheelbase: 104.7 in
L/W/H: 182.1/73.0/66.5 in
Curb Weight: 3761 lb

0-60 mph: 7.6 sec
¼ mile: 16.2 sec @ 85 mph
Top speed: 103 mph

City/Highway/Combined: 40/35/38