If the 2021 Honda CR-V Is So Great, Why Does Consumer Reports Disagree?

When it comes to buying a car, two terms will perk up many customers’ ears; ”Honda” and “SUV.” The SUV is one of the most practical vehicle platforms in existence, and people trust Honda. Those two factors alone can take a vehicle a long way. The Honda CR-V has proven this truth for years. People love them and trust them to be great cars. So, why did Consumer Reports predict low customer satisfaction for the 2021 Honda CR-V? 

The Honda CR-V is a constant 

It comes as no surprise that the 2021 Honda CR-V got another great rating from Consumer Reports. What is surprising is that CR gave it a three out of five on predicted customer satisfaction. I didn’t know people were dissatisfied with CR-Vs ever. Well, let’s see what the problem is here. 

Consumer Reports did some asking around about the Honda CR-V

CR determines customer satisfaction by the following, “Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered ‘definitely yes’ to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey ‘Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?’ 

The 2021 Honda CR-V Touring in a city
2021 Honda CR-V Touring | Honda

They found that only 69 percent of current CR-V owners would buy the Honda SUV again. I find this to be a little surprising because of the consistency with which the Honda CR-V is praised for its reliability, comfort, and all-around dependable ride. Across the board, Honda CR-V owners seem to agree, according to CR. The part that the owners who were polled weren’t satisfied with was the value for their money. CR is saying the price of the 2021 Honda CR-V is too high to keep owners satisfied. Let’s see what their money would get them. 

The 2021 Honda CR-V specs and features 

The 2021 Honda CR-V is a small yet roomy little SUV with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 190 hp. The small package Honda gets an impressive 28 mpg thanks to that little 1.5-liter. The CR-V also comes with a CVT that does its job without fuss or complication. However, the engine and trans combo can get a little whiney sounding. There is also a hybrid version that gets even better mileage at 35 mpg but is even louder than the 1.5-liter. 

Driving experience and handling 

CR calls the CR-V “quite responsive” when you throw it through a corner. The body roll is reasonably contained, and although the steering doesn’t offer much road feel, it is good enough to feel confident. CR even goes so far as to say that, while on the track, the CR-V was “utterly secure.” These are the reviews of a high-end sports car, but they are consistently somewhere between mediocre to decent. 

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The ride comfort is singing the same tune. CR says the ride tends toward to firm side, but overall it is not objectionable. I don’t know about you, but that sounds positively lukewarm to me. They go on to say that it doesn’t suffer from excessive body motion, and the suspension is “compliant.” Man, that is some noncommittal language. The rest of the driving experience seems to follow suit with language like “on-par,” “reasonable,” and even a “good” or two thrown in. 

The CR-V interior got an upgrade

The trim pieces have been dressed in nicer materials and better fit to the cabin to give the inside a slightly more upscale vibe. Honda phased out some hard plastics for more soft-touch areas around the upper dash and window sills. The interior is not fancy so much as just well tended to. The EX trim, which CR recommends, comes with some touches of matte wood trim inside. 

The infotainment can be a little annoying and take multiple tries to get what you need from it. It is a 7-inch touch screen that can also be controlled by the Siri Eyes Free voice command system. 

Is the 2021 Honda CR-V a good value? 


The 2021 Honda CR-V starts at $25,350 for the base-model LE and all the way up to $36,350 for the top trim. CR recommends the EX trim, which comes with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assistance, and Road Departure Mitigation. This trim, as tested with turbocharged four-cylinder in FWD and CVT, runs $31,270. Is that worth it for a car that will reliably do everything well but nothing great? I’ll let you decide.