Should You Take the 2021 Honda CR-V Off Road?

The 2021 Honda CR-V is a lot of things, but an off-road capable SUV isn’t one of them.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
The 2021
Honda CR-V
is a perfectly capable SUV, so long as you’re staying on the road. If you’re looking to tackle tough terrain, the CR-V isn’t the SUV for you. 
While many SUVs and pick-ups can turn rough terrain into a playground for adventurous drivers, not all of them are built equally. So how can you tell whether or not your SUV is suitable for off-roading, or if you should stay on the beaten path?
it’s easier than ever to discover whether or not your Honda CR-V is suitable for off-road driving. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the CR-V’s off road capabilities alongside a couple tips and tricks on how you can save hundreds on car insurance.
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Can the 2021 Honda CR-V go off road?

No—The Honda CR-V is a lot of things, but a capable off road SUV it is not. If you’re dead set on taking your SUV off-road, you’ll want to look for something other than the CR-V. 
Starting at $26,800, the 2021 Honda CR-V is too low to the ground, too weak, and lacking the necessary drivetrain capabilities to tackle off-road terrain successfully. Let’s take a closer look at where the CR-V’s key specs fall short. 

Ground clearance

If you’re planning on off-roading, your SUV’s ground clearance measurement is vital to keeping you and your vehicle safe. The 2021 Honda CR-V features a maximum ground clearance spec of 7.8 inches across all trim options, making it a poor choice for off-roading. 
As a general rule, your vehicle should have a ground clearance between 8.8 and 10.8 inches for ideal off-roading performance. The higher your vehicle’s ground clearance, the better it will be able to tackle rocky terrain without damaging the car’s undercarriage. When compared to the 2021
Jeep Wrangler’s
9.7 inches of minimum clearance, not only is the Honda CR-V well behind the competition, it’s not even capable of tackling the same trails. 


The best off-road trucks and SUVs have what is known as low-end torque, or, a high torque output at lower rpm. This is because power means much more than speed when it comes to off-roading. 
The 2021 Honda CR-V features a 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4 engine that produces a maximum torque output of 179 lb-ft @ 2,000 RPM. That’s very little power, especially in terms of off-roading, making the SUV even less suited for even the tamest off-road journeys. 


The Honda CR-V features a set of P235/65HR17 tires, but if that seems like a foreign language to you, here’s what that means. 
P235/65HR17 tires have a width of 235 millimeters and an aspect ratio of 65%, meaning that the tire’s sidewall height (the distance from the edge of the rim to the tire’s tread) is approximately 65% of the tire’s total width—in this case, 152 millimeters. Typically, P235/65HR17 tires are designed to be all-weather tires, but are not always all-terrain tires. 


All-wheel drive is a must for off-roading, which is the final nail in the coffin for the Honda CR-V and its Front-Wheel Drive drivetrain. 


When it comes to off-roading, you’ll also have to consider angles, particularly your vehicle’s approach angle and departure angle: 
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
Yet again, the Honda CR-V proves that it’s made for the highway with respective approach and departure angles of 18.1 and 25.3 degrees. While that might be enough to tackle some gentle changes in elevation, it’s far from enough to tackle the major rises and falls that come with off-roading. 

Off-road rating: Don’t try it

We’ve used
super-technical DIRT rating system to rate the 2021 Honda CR-V. Here’s a quick break down of the raring system:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The 2021 Honda CR-V receives a D rating. Under essentially zero circumstances is the CR-V suitable for off-roading, so if you’re looking for a vehicle that can tackle the toughest terrains, look elsewhere. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2021 Honda CR-V

So, you’ve discovered that the Honda CR-V isn’t the best option for your next off-road vehicle. Thankfully, there are plenty of comparable models that are leaps and bounds better at tackling off-road terrain than the CR-V.
Here are the best alternatives to the 2021 Honda CR-V—no matter what your priorities are.
Best affordable alternative
The 2019 Toyota RAV4 comes in five trims: LE, XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, and Limited. All trims feature a 203-horsepower four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All but the Adventure trim come with either front- or all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive comes standard in the Adventure.
Best eco-friendly alternative
2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid
In place of the conventional CR-V's 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4, the hybrid works with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder working in concert with an electric starter-generator and electric motor. Every hybridized CR-V comes with standard AWD and a CVT automatic. System output amounts to 212 hp.
Best alternative for serious off-roading
All Forester models are powered by the same 2.5-liter flat-four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower and can tow 1500 pounds. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) routes the engine's power to Subaru's trademark all-wheel-drive system.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

While off-road capable vehicles might be great for the adventurous driver, they are unfortunately typically more expensive—both to buy and to insure. Insuring an off-road capable vehicle is more expensive because off-roading poses additional risks to your vehicle than regular day-to-day highway driving. 
Thankfully, when you shop for
car insurance
, you can rest assured that you’re always getting the best rates, regardless of what kind of driving you plan on doing. As a licensed insurance broker, Jerry offers drivers with custom competitive quotes on car insurance from 50+ of the top insurance providers nationwide, all in less than 45 seconds! 
And the best part? Jerry users save an average of $800+ a year on car insurance alone! That money could help you buy some sweet off-road modifications, like a lifted suspension, to really help your vehicle tackle even the roughest and toughest off-road conditions. 
 “I thought I was already paying the lowest rate possible for my age group, but
found me a better deal for the same coverage with Travelers! Everything went so smoothly that I couldn’t help but make a change right away.”—Athit S.
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