Reviews

2015 Honda CR-V Introduction

Substantially revised for 2015, Honda CR-V is a functional, compact four-door crossover with room for four adults and plenty of cargo. It comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Five trim packages are offered with no options, and a new top-of-the-line Touring model.

The 2015 CR-V has a new engine, the same size but stronger and more efficient than before, and a new continuously variable transmission for a noteworthy 3-4 mpg lift in EPA fuel economy ratings. Suspension has been modified with a wider track and the body structure reinforced to maintain top safety status. The dashboard and console have been revised and the rear seat gets air conditioning vents. A side camera is added to most models. And the new CR-V Touring model adds a suite of active safety assists, power tailgate and 18-inch wheels among other things.

Honda CR-V arrives ready to use, with useful storage areas, simple controls, a split-folding rear seat with a clever system for folding it, and generous 35 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats. A backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming internet radio connectivity, SMS text message alert and a juvenile-monitor mirror are standard on each one. The Touring model comes with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning/mitigation braking, navigation, leather trim, and a 328-watt sound system with HD radio.

The CR-V’s new 2.4-liter engine delivers 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, all at lower revs than its predecessor. Fuel economy is near the best in class, with an EPA-estimated 27/34 mpg City/Highway on front-wheel drive models, and 26/33 mpg with all-wheel drive, on Regular Unleaded. A driver-enabled Eco-Assist feature intended to save fuel adjusts powertrain operation but still delivers full power when you ask for it.

Ride quality and noise levels are controlled so the CR-V can handle road trips as well as school-zone grands prix and restocking at the big-box stores. Handling is predictable and benign without riding as firmly as sportier crossovers do. All-wheel drive operates as front-wheel drive until slip is detected and more traction needed whereupon power is sent to the rear wheels. Although its 8 inches of ground clearance exceeds that of some four-wheel-drive vehicles, the CR-V is not designed for extended off-highway travel.

There’s nothing daring in interior design, unless you think proven, simple, pleasing to the eye and functional are daring concepts. Most upper trim is soft-touch with hard plastic dominant below, but texturing avoids any industrial look. Rear seats fold easily if not flat with the cargo floor with the pull of a lever, and the cargo cover can be removed and stowed on the floor so large items don’t require leaving it behind.

Safety features include electronic stability control, six airbags and a predictive rearview camera on all but base models. The 2015 Honda CR-V has not yet been tested but its precursor earned a 5-star overall crash-test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Alternatives to the 2015 Honda CR-V include other small crossovers such as the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Some offer more than one engine, the Outlander a V6. Rogue and Outlander offer a small third-row seat.

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