2017 Honda CR-V VTIi-L7 quick review

By David Bonnici, 14 Sep 2017 Car Reviews

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2017 Honda CR-V VTIi-L7 quick review

Pros and cons of the only new Honda CR-V model to feature a third row of seats

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

Honda has added two more seats to its fifth-generation CR-V SUV though only in this upper-spec front-wheel-drive VTi-L model which, at $38,690, is more than $8000 more than the entry-level VTi.

STRENGTHS

  • Pricing is pretty sharp for the equipment levels compared to similarly equipped seven-seaters such as the Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento.
  • It’s not as big as most seven seaters meaning the convenience of having two extra isn’t compromised by a large SUV that’s more difficult to park.
  • The VTi-L comes with most of the CR-V’s range-topping comfort including panoramic sunroof and part-leather seat trim, heated front seats, power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment and notably soft front headrests.
  • Other standard equipment includes keyless entry/ignition, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, 7.0-inch colour touchscreen infotainment display and electronic instrument panel, power-operated tailgate, inbuilt satellite navigation, a rear-facing blind-spot camera, dusk-sensing headlamps and auto wipers.

  • The middle row seats have adjustable backrests, slide back and forth and tumble forward for easier third row access. Second row passengers also have their own air vents and two USB sockets.
  • The third-row seats fold up and down easily and are comfortable for children who get their own cupholders, ventilation via ceiling-mounted vents and good forward views.
  • The CR-V’s ride feels smooth and the suspension absorbs and recovers over bumps quite well. The front-wheel-drive is adequate for most driving conditions.
  • The driving position feels commanding with excellent forward vision provided by the elevated seating position and narrow A-pillars.

  • There’s plenty of cabin storage including a two deck centre console bin that can take items as big as a laptop. 
  • The 140kW/240Nm 1.5-litre turbo engine is smaller but punchier than the 114kW/190Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit in the previous model VTi-L FWD.
  • The CVT auto manages the power well and provides some low-end grunt when needed via a Sport mode or with manual gearing using paddle shifters.

WEAKNESSES

  • Even with the rear seats folded flat, the seven-seater’s 472-litre boot space is considerably less even than the five seater’s 522 litres and you get just 150-litres with rear seats in position.
  • The third row is next to useless should you have baby seats in the second row as the anchor straps fix to rear ceiling where the rearmost passenger’s heads would be. There’s no provision to mount child seats in the third row  which could make this seven-seater difficult to justify for a young family.

  • Driver assist functions such as autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control aren’t even available as an option. If you want them you’ll have to upgrade to the VTi-LX, which only comes with five seats.    
  • The multi-functional second row seats are a little harder than in the five-seat versions. Headroom is pretty tight too because of the sunroof.

ARE THERE ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

Unless you really need the seven seats go with the five-seat Honda CR-V variants which provide more comfort for back seat passengers.   

Similarly priced and sized seven-seat alternatives include the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail and Skoda Kodiaq.