Since I tested the five-seater Honda CR-V VTi-S SUV and found it to be a great BabyDrive, lots of people asked me about the seven-seater version. FINALLY I got to drive the “VTi-E7” version for a week with my family and put it through our BabyDrive testing, so lets see how it goes…
I had come out of a very basic car that morning and into the Honda CR-V, so I was happy to see so many of the features that we take for granted in cars now, such as visors with mirrors, glasses holders, Apple CarPlay, electric seat adjustment, reversing cameras, media screens etc etc.
So I was feeling pretty happy to be in the Honda CR-V; firstly this is a seven seater version and there are air-vents in the ceiling for the back two rows of seats, which is a great BabyDrive feature for ensuring passengers in all three rows of seats are cool.
There are also vents in the back of the central console box and you can turn the rear aircon on and off using the buttons below the media screen on the dash.
The media system looks and feel basic to use but you can easily navigate it, plus it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so connecting my phone was simple.
Storage throughout the Honda CR-V is good, with cup holders in all three rows, a generous central console and all doors will hold a large refillable water bottle and more besides.
The third-row has bottle holders that are flimsy and I fear would get broken easily, but they are functional at least.
The CR-V's boot is small when using all seven seats. It will hold five shopping bags, which is comparable to the Nissan X-Trail and VW Tiguan Allspace that both also fit five bags. Other competitors include the Mitsubishi Outlander which fits four shopping bags and the Skoda Kodiaq that fits six shopping bags.
When you are only using five seats in the CR-V, the third-row seats do not fold flush with the floor so you end up with a stepped surface. I found I could load the raised area with shopping bags and most strollers fitted onto the lower section at the front.
You can raise the boot floor to sit flush with the seats as shown in the below picture, giving you a hidden storage area underneath.
Twelve shopping bags fitted from empty, the fewest amongst its competitors, with the Nissan Xtrail holding thirteen, the Mitsubishi Outlander holding fourteen and the VW Tiguan Allspace and Skoda Kodiaq both holding fifteen.
The Honda CR-V seven-seater comes with two top tether anchorges in the glove box and there are instructions in the manual of where to fit them in the third-row. This does make it a five top tether anchorage car! WOO HOO!!
Unfortunately there are some considerations and down-falls. The three top tether anchorages for the second-row seats are in the ceiling above the heads of the third-row passengers, so this really does affect their practicality. Also, with those top-tethers connected it means the second-row seats no longer slide forward and backward because they are held tight with the top tethers.
So although the CR-V is theoretically able to fit five child seats, those top tether straps are seriously going to affect third-row access and comfort. Also, the location of the third-row top tethers means a lot of the boot opening would be blocked by the straps if you installed child seats in the very back!
The second-row seats are split 60:40 but do not allow access to the third-row without removing a child seat, so you need to remove a child seat in the second-row in order to access the third row. If you left the single seat empty then this could be your access point to the third-row seats.
With five child seats installed the legroom is compromised and only a relatively small 170cm driver would be able to fit with a rear-facing child seat behind them.
Space isn't great in the third row and I think a 170cm pssenger would fit for both leg and head room.
The Honda CR-V is a pleasant car to drive, although I found there was a bit of wind noise from the left side of the car I tested and the brakes were very sensitive. Until you get used to them you feel like you might shoot through the windscreen!
The Honda CR-V scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017 and has six airbags as standard. There are seat belt removal reminders in all rear seats with a great visual on the driver display screen.