The seven-seater version of the Honda CR-V came out towards the middle of last year, much to the delight of large families everywhere.
The VTi-L is the highest grade available with seven seats and at one tier off the top it’s not a bad option for a people mover, or emergency ‘bus’ for unexpected passengers.
It really makes for an ideal family car, if you’re after the high riding variety, courtesy of the extensive features, versatility, drive and ride, and overall presentation.
To the eye the exterior appears to be quite chunky and bulky for a medium sized SUV but does possess what is now a standard outline.
Certainly a bolder look than previous years augmented by the aggressive grille and 3D-shaped rear taillights.
They add some interest but jut out quite far so not all that practical.
Chrome trims provide more highlights and the fan-like, two-tone 18” alloy wheels top it off.
The cabin is nicely finished, sporting the updated Honda layout and design which is what let down the brand in previous models.
Leather seats, steering wheel and different materials on the tapered dashboard and segmented doors gives contrast and a premium feel.
Sitting inside feels spacious and open especially with the panoramic sunroof rolled back.
But the rear is where it’s at with advanced seats common to Hondas.
The middle row of seats fold flat and have the capability of rolling forward into the foot well to store vertical items (similar to models with ‘magic seats’) and are easy to slide forward for access to the last row.
Back here the seats are square and flat in dimension, as is usually the case with foldable SUV seats, but they are more comfortable than most with enough space for feet with a designated foot well unlike in the similar Nissan X-Trail where you have to plant your feet wherever you can.
From the boot, the 3rd row seats are easily pulled up and fold down flat to be flush with the 2nd row, while a small two tier platform behind the seats can be raised to be level with all the folded seats for maximum storage.
There are a tonne of features in the Honda CR-V VTi-L such as a powered tailgate, panoramic sunroof, powered heated seats with memory function, sat-nav, lane watch camera, cruise control/speed limiter, and electric park brake with auto hold though I would also prefer auto release.
All rear occupants can ride in comfort with a roof mounted air vent hub including cabin lights.
The touchscreen sits above the high mounted gear shifter and comes with fast connecting Bluetooth and preinstalled sat-nav (unlike previous gen Hondas) but sadly no digital radio.
The only other negative is the rather low-tech info display in the instrument cluster that is in contrast to the otherwise improved outfit.
Storage is at a premium, with all manner of receptacle, bin and cup holder in the centre console and the centre bin has a slide-away, removable tray revealing a cavern, plus the retractable armrest folds up to give greater access inside.
Drive and Engine
There is quite a bit of power from the 1.5L engine thanks to the turbocharger; it’s a wonder what they can do nowadays.
Only a slight delay to otherwise solid and torquey (240Nm) acceleration, the petrol engine consumed a reasonable 10.5L/100km.
I could never fault the drive of a Honda, even in the previous dated looking models, and it’s the same this time with steering that is direct and smooth, and a quiet, stable ride that is competent and straightforward to pilot.
It’s able to shift the weight around adeptly with no hint of body roll.
A good feel on the accelerator, a sensitive brake and fantastic suspension all make for a comfortable ride for all occupants.
The CR-V VTi-L also comes with an eco mode, push button start and paddle shifters.
It gives a view down the left side of the car when signalling left to see any obstacles viewable on the centre display.
Probably the only downside is for those with child seats is the tether point is not behind the seat back but mounted on the ceiling bulkhead behind the passenger’s head.
This obstructs the view of both the driver and back seat passengers.
- Turbo engine
- Stable, quiet ride
- Premium fit and finish
- Versatile folding middle row seat
- Last row legroom
- Price and value for money
Not so good bits
- Driver info display
The seven-seater VTi-L retails from $38,990 and is the highest grade model in the range with the extra capacity, one below the top tier VTi-LX at $42k.
That’s compared with the Nissan X-Trail range, also a mid-sized SUV with a seven-seater in the ST-L at a similar price of $39,090.
But that’s with a lot less features and a lot less refinement as the ST-L isn’t so high up the X-Trail tree. For example the top of the range X-Trail TL is priced from $47k.
So the Honda CR-V VTi-L is the better value proposition for seven seats, when you consider the difference in technology, inclusions, engine power, drive, and the warranty.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Honda CR-V VTi-L
- Engine: 1.5L four-cylinder turbo petrol 140kW/240Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Warranty: 5 Yrs
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: From $38,990