Honda CR-V Tuning

"Tuning guide to the best Honda CR-V modifications."

The Honda CR-V, a perennial favorite in the compact crossover segment, has been a testament to Honda's commitment to blending versatility, reliability, and practicality. No wonder we get asked about mods and upgrades so often for it.

Since its introduction in 1995, the CR-V has undergone several model revisions, with each iteration refining its design and features.

From its early years to its more recent models, such as the 2021 version, the CR-V consistently offers a spacious interior, comfortable ride, and impressive fuel efficiency.

Boasting ample cargo space and user-friendly technology, it caters to the needs of families, urban dwellers, and adventurers alike.

With a reputation for supreme reliability and strong resale value, the CR-V proves to be a wise investment.

For those seeking a well-rounded crossover that excels in practicality and retains its value over time, considering a Honda CR-V would undoubtedly be a prudent choice.

The CR-V is a good car modification project to execute. We see many tuners wasting money on their CR-V doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our pointers to avoid ruining your car.

It was a family sized crossover SUV, and each generation has built upon the strengths of it's predecessors.

The CR-V is reliable, well build and satisfying to drive, but many feel they could do with a little more power, which is why you're here on our car tuning site.

So let's get into the best Honda CR-V mods and tuning options.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

It would be nearly impossible to cover all the engine mods due to the long production run and choice of engine options so this guide will give a good overview that applies to most CR-V models and we have engine specific guides to go into more detail on the upgrade options.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best Engine Mods for your Honda CR-V

When it comes to enhancing the performance of your Honda, delving into engine tuning and remapping opens up a world of possibilities.

This avenue offers substantial cost savings compared to more extensive modifications. For Honda vehicles, aftermarket Engine Control Units (ECUs) and piggyback ECUs emerge as standout options, with Hondata's offerings standing out as popular upgrades.

Their ability to optimize engine parameters can lead to noticeable gains in power and efficiency, transforming the driving experience.

For those seeking to make significant mechanical alterations, fast road camshafts emerge as a standout choice.

These camshafts, designed for spirited driving on public roads, can have a profound impact on performance. With VTEC and modern engines the merits of a camshaft upgrade are hard to offset against the cost when you look at the benefits, but on older and non VTEC units they can really lift performance on your CR-V.

Acquiring these camshafts might not always be straightforward it does depend on  your region, but local firms with expertise in regrinding stock camshafts could offer a solution, elevating your engine's performance to new heights. For example we have Kent Cams and Piper cams in the UK which offer quite a range of custom CAM options.

While modifications like intake and exhaust enhancements might not directly boost power on their own, they play a pivotal role in optimizing performance once other modifications are in place. By removing restrictive elements in the intake and exhaust systems, these modifications pave the way for improved airflow, contributing to power gains achieved through other upgrades.

For larger power gains you have to invest some serious time and money. One of the largest gains to be had is adding a turbo or supercharger.

Taking a leap into forced induction can yield remarkable gains in power and performance. Upgrading turbochargers proves to be one of the most efficient methods to increase air supply to the engine, enabling more efficient fuel combustion and subsequently generating more power.

While this upgrade tends to be on the costlier side when converting a NA engine to turbo the upgrade turbo option has a decent impact, especially on the Turbo Diesel variants.

Transforming the stock suspension and brake setups of a Honda CR-V can lead to dramatic improvements in handling and stopping power. The factory settings may leave room for enhancement, making suspension and brake modifications an enticing avenue for those aiming to elevate their driving experience.

From improved cornering capabilities to enhanced braking performance, these upgrades contribute to a more responsive and enjoyable ride.

Honda CR-V Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Lighter flywheel.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Engine balancing, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox.

Can you tune a CR-V

Yes you can, so let's look at the many upgrade options, and first off we'll iron out a couple of common problem areas and misconceptions.

A decent multi plate uprated fast road clutch will help retain that power where it belongs. Never take shortcuts or assume that a basic OEM clutch would suffice.

Turbocharged engines beg to be remapped. Most current turbocharged automobiles, including diesels, will experience considerable power boosts, making a tune/remap one of the most cost-effective and significant changes you can do.

Upgrades to the CR-V's Handling and suspension

Improving the handling for many people first priority in your CR-V tuning project.

Fully adjustable suspension allows you to fine tune the handling of you CR-V substantially improving your drive.

Your CR-V tuning effort should prioritise improving the handling for vehicle owners.

Cornering will improve dramatically if you put the front toe out to 0.8 to 1.3 degrees and add some negative camber.

Suspension recommendations for the Honda CR-V

In the realm of suspension modifications, Airex stands out for its air suspension kits, offering drivers the ability to have precise control over their vehicle's ride height. However, a common concern with air suspension is that the resulting ride can often be too soft, compromising the car's handling and performance dynamics. While the customizable nature of air suspension can be enticing, those seeking a balance between ride height control and driving dynamics might find the ride quality less than optimal.

For Honda CR-V enthusiasts looking for a more controlled suspension setup, AP offers a notable range of springs designed specifically for this model. These springs strike a balance between comfort and performance, providing improved handling and a more responsive driving experience. Lowering the car slightly with the right springs can lead to reduced body roll, enhanced cornering abilities, and a more aggressive stance.

TorqueCars, a trusted source for automotive enthusiasts, rates the Eibach Pro Lift kits highly. These kits not only offer improved suspension dynamics but also provide the advantage of increased ground clearance, making them ideal for off-road adventures or tackling uneven terrain.

Additionally, Eibach offers wheel spacers that can provide a wider stance for the CR-V. This wider stance not only enhances the car's appearance but also contributes to better stability during cornering and high-speed driving.

In the pursuit of modifying your Honda CR-V's suspension, it's essential to weigh the benefits of each option against your driving preferences and intended usage.

While Airex's air suspension kits offer unparalleled ride height control, they might sacrifice some handling characteristics. AP's spring options strike a balance between comfort and performance, allowing for improved agility. ST also offer a range of suitable lowering springs for the CRV.

TorqueCars' members fully endorse the CR-V Eibach Pro Lift kits due to their effectiveness in enhancing both on-road and off-road capabilities, and their wheel spacers provide a solution for those seeking improved stability and aesthetics.

As with any suspension modification, seeking expert advice and professional installation can help you make the most informed decision and achieve the desired results for your Honda CR-V

Because the rubber suspension bushings don't last as long as they used to, you'll hear squeaks, rattles, and bumps on the road, especially if your suspension is old. The suspension becomes sloppy, and the handling suffers as a result.

As a result, your initial action should be to upgrade the fundamental setup by switching out rubber bushings with polyurethane ones.

When setting up and selecting the suspension for your daily driver, it's critical to consider these factors.

Engineers must consider speed bumps, uneven terrain, passenger comfort, and road noise while designing a car's suspension.

The majority of factory-built automobiles, including the CR-V, have soft, comfy suspensions that make driving harder and less enjoyable. The optimum configuration is not just a function of personal desire, but also of how the circuit is built up, since track vehicles are set up to meet the driver's preferences and style.

A good suspension system maintains the tyres at the proper angle on the road to maximise ground contact. Body roll must be minimal, and the car's centre of gravity must be low. For CR-Vs with S line suspension, the drop should be 30mm, while for those with stock springs, it should be 40mm.

Suspension Myths and Mistakes in the Honda CR-V

No way should you purchase a suspension upgrade that lowers the vehicle by 30mm and expect it to perform well.

Many kits are fairly broad, and many of them state that they may be used on any or many different sorts of vehicles.

Is it true that the same suspension can be utilised on all CR-V models, regardless of engine type, wheel size, or weight?

Unfortunately, diesel engines are relatively heavy, and the newer 1.4 Turbos are very light, which has a significant impact on the suspension settings.

If the drive shaft and gearbox are not at the correct angle, difficulties may arise. It's possible that lowering the suspension may exacerbate the difficulties.

When the suspension is strained, a varied ride height modifies how it travels, which may cause scraping and premature tyre wear.

Another stupid option is to purchase lowered springs and using normal size dampers, or to buy performance dampers and use standard springs. The suspension system as a whole should be examined.

So what CR-V Suspension Mods Do We Recommend?

According to TorqueCars member feedback, most CR-V road vehicles should be dropped roughly 30-40mm. Some individuals recommend lowering your automobile by 30mm if you have a car with superior suspension (sporty versions which already have lower suspension).

When the automobile is on the ground and the wheels are on, those who drive ordinary cars with 17-inch wheels may have a lot less room for mistake. Then, particularly on bigger metals, it might produce a slew of issues.

Ideally, you should acquire a suspension kit for your CR-V that you can alter simply and rapidly to meet your driving style. On the CR-V, adjustable coilover kits are a good match.

Because you may adjust coilovers to meet your driving style, a decent pair of well-made coilovers will assist. Some of the CR-V suspension packages from Koni, Bilstein, Eibach, and KW are very good.

We suggest that you fit sports suspension and lower the car by 25mm - 37 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Our aim in engine tuning should be to increase peak power at the top end.

Keep your car looking standard and remove the badges to make an awesome sleeper!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

CR-V Engine Tuning.

The CR-V 1995-2001 came with 2 engines.

  • 2.0 L B20B I4
  • 2.0 L B20Z I4

The 2001-2006 engine range was expanded

  • 2.0 L K20A1 I4
  • 2.0 L K20A4 I4
  • 2.2 L N22A2 turbodiesel I4
  • 2.4 L K24A1 I4

Then the current CR-V from 2016 engine lineup was revised a little to include

  • 2.4 L K24W I4
  • 1.5 L L15B7 i4 (turbo)
  • 2.0 L R20A I4
  • 2.0 L LFA1 i-VTEC i4 PGM-Fi twin Electric Motors
  • 1.6 L N16 i-DTEC i4 (turbo-diesel)

Typically these tuning kits are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you start.

The newer CR-Vs, especially ones with turbocharged engines, are superb, and there are a plethora of tuning choices available. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to improve the performance of the early carbureted 1.4 and smaller engines. The later fuel-injected 'hi torque version' was designed for economy and will feel underpowered, so you'll want to swap out the intake, cams, and exhaust on that model).

A fast road cam, along with an induction kit and a free-flowing sports exhaust, will benefit most CR-V engines. The benefits of the latter two on smaller engines are disputed, but they are obvious on the bigger 1.6 and 2.0 engines.

It's critical to have the correct tuning changes for your car's intended use. Stage 3 motorsport components just do not perform well in stop-and-go traffic.

You should maintain as much low-end power as possible and strive for a broad power spectrum rather than a limited top-end power spike.

Getting the right motorsport upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Your aims when modding your car should be a wide torque band. You don't want all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole aim of our articles is to give a starting base of car tuning upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best performance parts and all aspects of modding cars.One of the biggest mechanical performance upgrades you can do on your NA (naturally aspirated) engine is to fit a fast road camshaft .

Don't forget to look at the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Honda project after fitting other modifications. Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned CR-Vs uprated injectors.

CR-V Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits are only beneficial to boost performance if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most low power engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for CR-V engines you should go with a sports panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Modifications to the head are generally the next step.

More air will enter each cylinder if the head is polished and ported. This is definitely a task for a flow bench expert.

When you heavily modify your CR-V you will see that the standard clutch starts to slip so get an uprated clutch. The best mods in our opinion for your CR-V are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Induction Kits for the CR-V

Induction kits may also help you improve your car's performance.

Induction kits are only useful for improving performance if the vehicle's air intake is clogged! Adding an induction system to a regular engine will result in NO POWER GAIN.

If your engine has been significantly changed and its requirement for air has increased dramatically, an induction kit is the solution and will assist in removing this constraint. Induction kits may work well on turbo engines and bigger engines (assuming they come with a proper cold air feed or air box), but for CR-V engines, we suggest using a high-performance panel air filter, ideally made of cotton.

Because air intakes are such a vital element of any performance enhancements, you'll nearly never see a vehicle modified without some form of improved air intake.

They increased the amount of air in the engine. The flow rises as the restriction is removed and you get more air combined with fuel allowing you to make more power.

Air intake systems with a high price tag are beneficial because they allow the engine to obtain more air while also keeping the hot air from the air filter away from the engine.

These kits also don't need any cutting or drilling, and they can be fitted in under an hour.

Even while these enhancements might cost upwards of $400, the performance bump they provide is unparalleled if you have a restricted air intake as is commonly the case with a heavily tuned CR-V.

The more air there is, the more gasoline is mixed in, resulting in a significant increase in the car's horsepower and torque.

Performance air filters are also beneficial since they let more air into the engine because they are less restrictive. This allows the automobile to operate more efficiently.

CR-V Performance Exhausts

Do not go with the largest exhaust you can buy this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

The more hot air the vehicle's engine produces, the better. This heated air boosts the engine's temperature, preventing it from performing at its optimum. The flow of gases through the engine is increased with sports exhausts. However, if your exhaust pipe is too large, such as over 2.5 inches in diameter, you will lose a significant amount of exhaust flow rate, resulting in a loss of power and torque.

This isn't the only consideration to make. Backfire is less common when the exhaust system is less restrictive. It improves the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a competition cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

NA (naturally aspirated) engines do not achieve big power gains if you tune/remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A tuned/remapped turbo will give impressive power gains and fully release the potential power of the engine. The most impressive power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is generally cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to get a turbo working. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

The nice steady boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them more straight forward to map. Alternatively you could perhaps add water injection to cut down knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Because alloys are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. If you are serious about performance then you will need to carefully choose your tires - ideally with a soft compound tire. Large CR-V alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Due to this fact try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the OEM setup. In all cases avoid going over 17 inches, newer models can cope well with 18's but you'll find the ride harsh and thrashy and even more so with 19's.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss CR-V options in more detail with our CR-V owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Honda tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

If you've enjoyed this page we would be very grateful if you could share a link to it on your favourite forums or on your social media profiles, it helps us keep going.

Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

3 Responses to “CR-V Tuning”

  1. Neil says:

    I have an automatic Crv B20b. Does the auto preclude me from improving performance

  2. TorqueCars says:

    It may limit your peak torque target a little, but you can spread the torque through more of the rev range so the car will perform better but not strain the transmission. Gains of around 20-30% are usually ok on most Auto transmissions but I’m not a Honda man so don’t know the specifics of your setup.

  3. Ray Glasscock says:

    I’ve been thinking about if it is possible to, do some upgrades to my Honda crv 4*4 , I’m at a bit of a lose end in my life, still struggling with related problems of motorcycle accident , I came across this post just by chance, and you certainly know what you’re talking about, I’m quite clued up about the risks and realities of destroying, what and which has taken 1,000 of hrs to perfect, then we come along with a few spanner’s and a fiver , and don’t forget the article about everything about tuning.
    I’m 70 years old, accident five years ago, should I sell up and buy something already singing 🎶 dancing, thanks for the info.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning
Tips for B58 Tuning

Popular articles

Tuning Diesels
ECU Remapping
Double declutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Tuning Chips
Insuring Modified Cars
Track day insurance
Remapping Diesels
Work out your MPG
DPF unblocking tips
Tuning Stages

Ignition Coils

Sports ignition coils and performance coil packs

Particulate Filter

Particulate filters and FAP Performance gains.

Painting Calipers

Tips on brake caliper painting.

Spray Painting

How to spray paint a car

Nurburgring Times

Nurburgring times

Mpg Power

The battle between economy and power rages on.

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG