Although it’s been 18 years since its unveiling, the Honda CR-V remains an extremely popular five-passenger, compact crossover sport utility vehicle.
When it debuted in 1997, the CR-V was a trail blazer, a car-based sport utility vehicle that people instantly loved. And because the CR-V was universally admired, it quickly placed other manufacturers in copy-cat mode.
What’s so good about the CR-V? It offers responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and ranks near the top in safety testing, gets good gas mileage (27-34 mpg), and is extremely reliable. The approximate price – between $23,445 and $32,895 – is also comparable to its rivals.
Another plus is the Honda CR-V has low ownership costs and high resale value that adds to its considerable credentials. The vehicle is offered in LX, EX, EX-L and Touring trim levels.
The CR-V went through a major redesign three years ago and had a mild refreshing for 2015. Those changes include:
- Direct-injected 2.4-liter engine with continuously variable transmission (CVT)
- LED running lights and new front and rear fascias
- Added 3 more mpg than last year’s model
- Interior benefits include extended touchscreen availability, mildly improved materials, and a more traditional center console design
- Top-of-the-line Touring t model comes with extra luxuries and advanced safety systems
Despite its appeal, it’s not like the CR-V doesn’t have some major competition, most notably the Toyota RAV4. Other highly regarded models are the improved Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Jeep Cherokee, and Nissan Rogue.
Like it or not, the CRV features only one engine, a direct-injected 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with CVT that produces 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque (up from the previous 163 of torque). The new engine has better acceleration and also comes with an appealing “sport” mode.
The CR-V has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds, a quicker-than-average time for this class.
The maximum towing is 1,500 pounds.
A revised suspension helps the CR-V provide a little smoother ride than previous models. Due to improved insulation, the ride is quieter as well. This compact SUV continues to deliver good comfort and secure handling.
Practicality continues to be strength of the CR-V. However, one item that might give new owners some mild frustration is the audio display. The touchscreen controls are more complex than previous models and will take some time to master.
The CR-V interior provides an abundance of space up front and back seat folks will enjoy that same roominess. There is a new console-mounted, armrest bin that’s a bit small and only a few items can fit inside. The cargo area measures 35.2 cubic feet and increases to 70.9 cubic feet when the second-row seating is lowered.
Still the top-selling compact SUV, the Honda CR-V remains an appealing vehicle for car shoppers. It has good curb appeal, features good acceleration and is fuel-efficient for a four-cylinder, offers considerable comfort, dependability and resale value.
2015 Honda CR-V
- Performance: 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 27-34 mpg
- Estimated price: $23,445 – $32,895
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain:5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited