2020 Honda CR-V Review: Safe And Sound

Ben Chia

Honda’s updated CR-V proves to be a safe and comforting choice for those looking for a seven-seater SUV in Singapore

Photos: Lionel Kong


There’s no dearth of seven-seater SUVs available for sale in Singapore. Recent months have seen the introduction of the likes of the Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-8 into the market, and even Mercedes-Benz has gotten in on the fray with the GLB, aimed at those who want seven seats with a premium badge.

Clearly there’s a strong demand for these kinds of cars for there to be such a proliferation of them here. And Honda aims to capitalise on that wave with its CR-V, which has recently been given a mid-life update – read all the details in our news story below.

The current generation CR-V introduced seven seats to the model line for the first time when it was launched in 2017, and such has been its success that local dealer Kah Motor has opted to stock the seven-seater version first with the facelift, and will bring in the regular five-seater model later on.

In the meantime, the refreshed CR-V brings with it slightly revised styling changes, a mildly updated interior, and a whole suite of driver assistance safety systems to bring it bang up to date with today’s modern offerings. They’re not major changes, but they help make the CR-V slightly more competitive in what is now becoming a heated market.

Visually, the facelifted model can be identified through new gloss black grille up front, accompanied by redesigned bumpers that look slightly more aggressive than before. LED lights abound front and rear, and the exhaust tailpipes are now trapezoidal instead of round, ostensibly to make the car look ‘sporty’.

Inside, the changes to the CR-V are far more subtle. There’s a new 7.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, which now boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The powered tailgate now also offers hands-free operation, but otherwise that’s really about it for the interior updates.

Probably of more significance though is the introduction of the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance systems on this car. Among the features available as part of the package include Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, and Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning. Check out Honda’s video below to see how it all works.

Other nifty items include LaneWatch, which uses a camera hidden under the left wing mirror to show you what’s in your blind spot when you indicate left, as well as a Driver Attention Monitor, which can detect if you’re feeling tired and advise you to take a break.

It’s safe to say then that the CR-V is quite a, well, safe car. And safe is probably the best word to describe how it drives too. It’s not particularly memorable or notable, but it does what it does reasonably well, with its neutral, well-controlled handling and relatively decent ride quality. Inoffensive is probably the best descriptor here, with the CR-V neither sparkling nor disappointing.

The 1.5-litre turbo engine, with 193hp and 243Nm of torque, is also reasonably competent in getting the car going, although performance feels somewhat blunted by the car’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), with its ‘rubber band effect’ making the car feel slower than it actually is. The associated noise as you rev the engine to keep up gives the car a slightly uncouth character too.

As a seven-seater, the CR-V generally does alright. The third row of seats are a relatively tight squeeze for most people, but it’s the same story for most seven-seater SUVs anyway.

Where you’ll want to be is the second row, which has enough legroom to “rival a 7 Series” (according to Lionel), and can be adjusted fore and aft if you don’t feel like amputating the legs of the third row passengers. But there’s no question that you’ll be far more comfortable in the second row of the CR-V.

With all the seats up, the CR-V boasts 170 litres of boot space, which isn’t a lot. But that can of course be increased substantially by putting the seats down, although Honda doesn’t reveal exact figures of how much more capacity you gain by doing so.

At S$159,999 inclusive of COE though, the CR-V comes rather close to more than a few competitors that can offer just that little bit more. The Mazda CX-8 feels like much more premium product for roughly around the same price, while the Skoda Kodiaq delivers a more interesting drive and slightly better practicality. 

Nevertheless, the CR-V does have its appeal as a competent family vehicle for those who prefer the reassurance of safety over driving enjoyment. As a seven-seater SUV, the CR-V is a safe choice, and offers a comforting sense of familiarity for those who don’t ask for much. And for many Singaporean drivers, that’s really all you’ll ever need.

Honda CR-V 1.5 Turbo 7-Seater

Engine1,498cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power193hp at 5600rpm
Torque243Nm at 2000-5000rpm
GearboxContinuously Variable Transmission 
0-100km/h9.4 seconds
Top Speed200km/h
VES Band / CO2C1 / 166g/km
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
AgentKah Motor
PriceS$159,999 with COE
Verdict:Facelifted CR-V is a safe choice as a seven-seater family SUV with its new driver assistance features


1.5 Turbo 7-Seater 5-door 7 seat CR-V honda petrol SUV

About the Author

Ben Chia

CarBuyer's print editor went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. Follow Ben on Instagram @carbuyer.ben

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