The 2021 Honda CR-V LX Has the Worst Headlights of All Models

Headlights may not be the first thing you think of when shopping for a new compact SUV like the Honda CR-V. But they’re a vital component of safe driving. Although advanced LED headlights are widely available, they’re still largely offered only as an option, if at all. Typically, halogen headlamps come standard. Though that doesn’t always mean the headlights are inadequate, it’s important to understand the differences among various types of headlights so you can avoid poorly designed options.

For instance, the 2021 Honda CR-V LX trim’s headlights leave a lot to be desired. Here’s why.

The Honda CR-V LX’s halogen headlights

The LX is the base model for the 2021 Honda CR-V. As such, it’s priced affordably, starting at just $25,350, Honda‘s website shows. However, opting for the base model means making some sacrifices, especially in the headlights.

Although higher-level CR-V trims offer LED headlights with auto on/off capabilities, this feature isn’t available on the base model. The LX is also the only trim that doesn’t offer LED fog lights. Essentially, if you want anything other than basic halogen headlamps, skip the entry-level CR-V.

How much of a difference do headlights make?

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Although it’s easy to assume the type of headlights doesn’t make that much of a difference, statistics show otherwise. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it takes drivers 1.5 seconds to react to an obstacle when visibility is clear. That means dim headlights can drastically affect the reaction time drivers need to spot and avoid obstacles, thus increasing the risk of an accident.

LED headlights are a newer option and are ideal because they’re significantly more efficient than the halogen bulbs many affordably priced vehicles come with. LED headlights can emit more light with lower energy. Additionally, light from LED headlamps is a more natural color than the light that halogen bulbs put out.

Drivers might have encountered blindly bright LED headlights, causing frustration and poor visibility for other motorists. The IIHS notes this is an issue not with LED lights themselves but instead with how the headlights are aimed. Though there are federal regulations for headlights, they don’t offer a great deal of detail regarding the mounting height, width, and aim. 

As such, some vehicles use LED headlights that are poorly aimed and thus not particularly useful. Consumer Reports takes this into account when comparing headlights, noting that occasionally, halogen headlights that are properly aimed are preferable to poorly designed LED headlights. Even so, the CR-V LX trim’s lack of options is notable and less than ideal.

The 2021 Honda CR-V’s specs and features

While the LX may not have the best headlights, this doesn’t make the Honda CR-V a bad vehicle overall. It features a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 190 hp. The CR-V gets 20 mpg in the city and 37 mpg gallon on the highway for a competitive combined 28 mpg.

The Honda CR-V also boasts a roomy cabin and comes with a fair number of standard safety features. They include automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning. These features combine with attractive pricing to make the CR-V one of the best compact crossover SUVs.

But when shopping for this vehicle, you’d do better to avoid the base model and opt for a higher-level trim with better headlight options.