2021 Honda CR-V SX Diesel Review

The Honda CR-V is one of the longest-running nameplates in the compact crossover segment. For several generations, the model has long been known for its strong practicality points given its spacious cabin and comfortable ride. Just last year, the CR-V got a mild refresh, giving it a revised exterior along with more standard safety and convenience features. 

4.5 / 5
2021 Honda CR-V SX Diesel Review
Performance
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
4.5/5
Design
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
4.5/5
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
4.5/5
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
5.0/5
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
4.0/5
What You Will Like
  • The Honda SENSING package does sweeten up the deal.
  • First- and second-row space is good.
  • It's got plenty of storage spaces.
  • The cabin is well-cooled all thanks to the generous amount of air vents.
  • It's very fuel-efficient.
What You Won't Like
  • Third-row is more suitable for occasional use.
  • It needs a better infotainment system.
  • Engine noise can sometimes creep inside the cabin.
How We Do Our Reviews

After testing the CR-V's 2.0 S CVT variantHonda Cars Philippines Inc. then lent us the top-of-the-line 1.6 SX AT AWD which has all the bells and whistles you could possibly get on this compact crossover. There are two questions that popped into our minds, one is if the midsize SUV price tag is worth paying for? The second is if it is worth stepping up to the range-topping variant or are you better off with the other lower trims available in the CR-V range?

Comparing the refreshed Honda CR-V to the pre-updated model, noticeable changes can be found on each side of the crossover. Starting up front, it gets a revised bumper that’s treated with a more generous amount of black cladding along with a single strip of satin silver trim. It features a revised grille Being the top of the line variant, the SX also gets an all-LED affair including the headlights, daytime running lights (DRLs), and fog lamps. Notably, its front turn signals support a sequential function which is also new for the updated crossover.

As for the side, almost everything remains as is, you still get the familiar body cladding with a thick strip of chrome. You’ll also see the side repeaters on each side mirror along with the handy lane watch camera which is placed on the right side of the vehicle, giving you better security of your blind spot. What’s new though are the set of 18-inch alloys featuring a new design that somewhat resembles a flower.

Like the front, its rear end also sports a revised bumper that has a pair of newly shaped reflectors coupled with a newly laid out satin silver trim. It still retains the same set of taillights though Honda has slightly darkened its covers for a sportier look. Overall, the Honda CR-V is one dashing crossover, and its recent exterior updates should make it even more of an eye-catcher on the road.

2021 Honda CR-V interior dashboard Philippines

If you’ve ever been inside the previous Honda CR-V then you would probably find this cabin a familiar place. Everything remains the same, from the dashboard, leather upholstery, and even the faux wood panel. Though that is already expected, granted that this is just a mild refresh. Like most Hondas, everything inside the cabin is well put together, as it still gets a fair share of soft-touch and hard-touch plastics that have a hint of quality to it. Storage is also good, you get a large glovebox, a long and deep center console that can be adjusted, and a generous amount of cup holders with even third-row occupants having one for themselves. You also get plenty of air vents inside the cabin, allowing passengers to enjoy its cool environment.

One of the CR-V’s greatest strengths is cabin space. Leg and headroom are very sufficient for both front and second-row occupants, even someone as tall as 6 feet won’t have a problem fitting inside. Notably, the third-row seats are usable, you’re just going to have to move the second-row a little forward and then you’ll have enough space for someone who’s 5 feet tall. Surprisingly, even with the seats moved forward, the second row still has enough space for those standing up to 5 foot 11, the only issue is how limited space will be for the middle occupant. With that said, the third row is best for occasional use only or perhaps smaller beings like kids.

2021 Honda CR-V interior cargo space Philippines

Compared to the gas variant which is a 5-seater, cargo figures on its 7-seater variants fall slightly short. With the third row up, the CR-V SX has 150-liters of space, fold the third row and you get 450-liters of space while having the second-row seats down gives you 900-liters of space. Then again, that’s still a lot of space to load up your gear and other precious items for your trip. 

2021 Honda CR-V interior Philippines

Whichever variant you get, the Honda CR-V is one comfortable cruiser, it’s a compact crossover that is specially made for families. With that said, Honda has paired its spacious cabin with a comfortable ride. Like its predecessor, its suspension setup can easily handle and absorb bumps, potholes, and even rough roads with ease. This is all thanks to its unibody chassis coupled with a fully independent suspension. NVH is also good, with road and wind noise kept minimum, however, the 1.6-liter diesel engine can be noisy, with sound creeping inside the cabin even when the radio is on.

2021 Honda CR-V interior infotainment system Philippines

At the center of the dashboard, you’ll find a 7-inch Android-based infotainment system that comes with various multimedia functions including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The head unit can be easily configured to your liking as well, it even gets nifty features like a calculator. However, the system can be laggy at times, plus, its screen resolution could also use some work. Its 8-speaker sound system, on the other hand, was good, with it having enough bass to make a DJ happy.

Part of its tech package is a digital gauge cluster that shows some important information about the CR-V. You can toggle also through the vehicle and infotainment settings using the steering wheel-mounted controls. Other convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate with a foot-activated sensor, a push-start button with smart keyless entry, USB charging ports, and wireless charging pad that we wished could fit larger phones like a Samsung Galaxy Note. As for the safety department, the CR-V SX comes with a suite of driver-assist features which will be discussed in the next section.

2021 Honda CR-V exterior front Philippines

Being the top of the line variant, the Honda CR-V SX is indeed rich with safety features. As mentioned, it does come with the Honda SENSING package which includes a suite of driver-assist features such as forward-collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist system, adaptive cruise control, and many more. I was able to test the lane keep assist and adaptive cruise on the highway and both were such heaven scent features making long drives much less of a hassle. Also, the lane watch camera is very helpful as it allows you to properly monitor the oncoming vehicles on your right before turning or changing your lane. 

2021 Honda CR-V interior airbag Philippines

Likewise, this range-topping comes with other basic safety equipment including a set of airbags (driver, front passenger, side, and curtain), ABS with EBD, stability control, hill-start assist, security alarm, immobilizer, walk-away auto-lock, ISOFIX child seat anchors, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensors, and a reversing camera.

2021 Honda CR-V diesel engine Philippines

Like most crossovers, the Honda CR-V has a car-like drive, making it easy to cruise around inside the city or out on the highway. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder DOHC i-DTEC turbo diesel engine, that puts out 118 hp and 300 Nm of torque. Its power mill is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The top of the line trim also comes with an AWD system which should be handy during unpredictable conditions.  

2021 Honda CR-V diesel engine Philippines

While it may have an unusually low horsepower figure, the CR-V is still motivated by its hefty torque. Inside the city, this compact crossover is easy to handle as complemented by its light steering and good visibility. There’s more than enough power for you to take on the urban jungle. Out on the highway, the CR-V remains well-composed and does not struggle at all, in fact, the power delivery is smooth and reserved and it’s right there when you need it. 

Surprisingly, it also comes with paddle shifters which can be used if you want a little bit more fun, however, as recent our testing suggests, it would be nice if this feature gets a little refinement, as there was a bit of delay when downshifting. Then again, this is not a sports car made for leisure, rather it’s a family vehicle that’s made for comfort. Lastly, the CR-V’s Eco mode can be activated in order to boost your fuel economy numbers, however, turning this on will slightly tone down its performance.

2021 Honda CR-V exterior gas cap Philippines

The Honda CR-V SX is one fuel-efficient crossover. Inside the city, it registered 8.4 km/L during stop-and-go traffic, while speeding up at 60 km/h in EDSA during the morning boosted its figures to 15 km/L which is impressive. Lastly, the CR-V also did well out the highway, setting the cruise at 90 km/h allowed it to return 18.9 km/L. 

2021 Honda CR-V exterior quarter front Philippines Philippines

The Honda CR-V 1.6 SX AT AWD retails at P2,158,000. You do get a lot for what you’re paying for, from convenience features to safety. However, if you really want a CR-V diesel and you’re willing to skip the AWD system, then you’re better off with the S Diesel which offers almost all of the features found on the range-topping variant including Honda SENSING. Now, if you really want to step up to SX, then it’s also a good choice given that it is one of the most cleverly packaged models in its segment. Imagine, you get a frugal diesel engine, 7-seats, an AWD system, and a range of features that’ll surely entice you and your family. Some would even argue that you get other midsize SUVs for its price, but what you’re going to miss is its more comfortable ride all thanks to its unibody structure.

One of its direct competitors includes the Nissan X-Trail and the Maxus D60, given that both models offer additional third-row seating as well. The CR-V also serves as a more affordable alternative to the Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv-D which is priced at P200,000 more.

You can also opt for other diesel compact crossovers like the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson. Lastly, the CR-V diesel also faces the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Terra, and other midsize SUVs in the market given its price point.


Specifications

Engine

1.6 L

Fuel Type

Diesel

Performance

118 hp @ 4,000 rpm

Transmission

Automatic

Summary

Name Honda CR-V 1.6 SX DSL AT AWD Honda SENSING
Body Type Crossover
Price ₱2,158,000
Transmission Type Automatic

Engine

Performance

Economy & Environment

Dimensions

Safety & Security

Features

Technology


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