Revamped Honda CR-V plays the safety card

A facelift for the Honda CR-V gives it new features, adding worthwhile safety kit while updating it for 2020’s connected era

SINGAPORE — There’s a new Honda CR-V in town, and it plays things safe. A mid-life revamp for the fifth-generation version of Honda’s “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” gives it slightly sharper looks and a long list of new safety features.

The facelifted car rolls into town three years after Honda importer Kah Motor introduced five and seven-seat versions of the current CR-V.

Kah Motor put the seven-seat variant on sale in Singapore this week for S$156,999 with Certificate Of Entitlement, with the five-seat CR-V set to join the lineup “at a later date”, the company said.

In the meantime here’s a handy dandy gif we put together to remind you of the seven-seater’s basic versatility:

As before, there’s a 193 horsepower, 1.5-litre turbo engine doing the work here. It’s similar to the Civic Turbo’s engine, but has a larger turbocharger with a more efficient turbine. If you’re into engine porn, it looks like this naked:

Oh yeah, baby…

Both CR-V variants are front wheel-drive and have a Continuously Variable Transmission.

As for what’s new, here’s a closer look…

“Facelift?” In car company lingo that means new lamps and bumpers, right?
Yes, actually. But with the CR-V you don’t have to squint to find what’s new. Gone is the mostly chrome front grille, and in its place is a mostly gloss black one. And you can’t miss the resculpted bumpers.

facelifted Honda CR-V Singapore price

The lamps are now an LED fest: full LED headlights, full LED taillights, LED daytime running lights and LED turn signals.

Those tail lamps have a smoked lens cover now, and exhaust gases no longer emerge through circular pipes but a trapezoidal exit.

The seven-seater gets new 18-inch wheels, and an “accentuated body line”. Hmm… gonna have to get back to you on that one.

Honda says the facelift for the CR-V “emphasises its sporty, luxurious, and robust look in every dimension”, which might be overstating things a bit, but if you ask us the car does look sharper. As Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) go, the CR-V is more lithe than the class norm, anyway.

Anything new inside?
Before this facelift the CR-V had modern touches like a touchscreen infotainment system and virtual instruments.

With those in place, the 2020 edition is about new features: the 7-inch Advanced Touch system now works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (though there’s native satnav, too). Both are essential in this connectivity-obsessed day and age.

The powered tailgate now has hands-free operation, and you can apparently set the opening height by remote control.

What about all the talk about safety?
Meet Honda Sensing, a suite of driver assistance features that either make life behind the wheel more relaxing, or less dangerous.

Honda Sensing brings these to the new CR-V:

Collision Mitigation Braking System

The car keeps a lookout for obstacles and brakes for you if it senses an impending crash

Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow

A radar sensor and windshield camera let the Honda lock on to the car in front and follow it at a distance that you set. It works in start-stop traffic, so your feet can rest when there’s a jam.

Lane Keeping Assist System

Need help staying in between those pesky lane markings? Some drivers do. The CR-V can gently feed in steering assistance if the driver can’t keep to his lane.

Road Departure Mitigation System with Lane Departure Warning

Similarly, the CR-V can see if you’re about to stray out of lane (or off the road and into a ditch) and warn you, then intervene with auto steering if you don’t respond

Like before, the CR-V comes with LaneWatch, a camera-based blindspot display system. There’s also a system to detect driver fatigue and recommend breaks accordingly.

The mid-life changes might not be radical, but they sharpen the Honda’s ability to meet the sort of brief that SUVs are designed for: practicality, convenience and comfort.

“I believe that the new CR-V will be the ideal lifestyle car that fits family and professional needs alike,” Nicholas Wong, General Manager of Kah Motor, said in a statement. His belief in the car is genuine; when this model generation appeared in 2017, Mr Wong was the first person in the country to book one.

2020 Honda CR-V singapore

The new CR-V enters an increasingly crowded market for seven-seat SUVs, with new models from Kia (with the Sorento) and Mazda (the CX-8) in similar price territory. For roughly S$30,000 more, the Mercedes-Benz GLB 200 offers the same layout of car but with the lure of a prestige badge.

The intense competition makes a facelift for the CR-V all the more timely, while the addition of Honda Sensing features should catch the eye of family-oriented buyers. Its launch makes buying a Honda a safe decision in more ways than one.

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about the author

Leow Julen
CarBuyer's managing editor is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 25 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.