The fourth-generation Honda CR-V is a five-seat compact SUV that features more aggressive styling than its predecessor along with increased interior comfort, a smoother ride, less road noise and better fuel economy from its single-engined lineup.
For the latest model year, the CR-V gets a new trim level called Special Edition (SE).
Outside, the CR-V is highlighted by a three-bar grille that emphasizes the width of the vehicle. Helping to stave off surface monotony on the sides are crisp character lines and flared fenders that create a stable look, while around back the rear window is more steeply sloped than before but, as with the outgoing model, is flanked by vertical taillights.
The CR-V's interior is less futuristic and more elegant than that of other recent Honda vehicles. The dashboard flows downwards from either side to the center stack, which features a simple layout with relatively few buttons. A large center console storage bin provides enough space to stow a full-size purse, while the 37.2 cubic-foot-trunk aft of the rear seats provides enough room to swallow truly bulky items. The rear seats are 60/40 split folding units that can be folded to increase carrying capacity to a cavernous 70.9 inches.
Powering Honda's little 'ute is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. Linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the four-banger returns 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the standard front wheel-drive configuration. Opt for the traction-enhancing all-wheel-drive system and fuel economy decreases slightly to 26/33 mpg.
Trim Level Breakdown
The CR-V is available in four trim levels: LX, SE, EX, EX-L, Touring.
The LX model comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, automatic halogen headlights, daytime running lights, one-touch turn signals, black door mirrors, a rear window wiper, black door handles, A/C, Bluetooth connectivity, power windows with an auto up/down function for the driver, power doors, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD sound system with four speakers and a USB port.
The Special Edition trim builds on the LX model with 17-inch alloys, tinted windows, and a security system.
The EX model adds LED daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a one-touch power moonroof, fog lights, body-colored mirrors, rear privacy glass, body-colored door handles, Honda's LaneWatch technology, a push-button ignition, pockets in the front seatbacks, chrome-look trim on the interior door handles, a retractable cargo area cover, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a six-speaker sound system, a 7.0-inch touch screen integrated into the center stack, Honda's HondaLink infotainment system and two USB ports.
The EX-L trim brings roof rails, heated door mirrors, dual-zone A/C, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, leather upholstery, a seven-speaker 328-watt sound system with a subwoofer and SiriusXM Radio compatibility.
Finally, the range-topping Touring trim features 18-inch alloy wheels, a number of electronic driving aids (detailed below), a power tailgate, projector beam headlights, turn signal indicators integrated into the door mirrors, a HomeLink remote system, adaptive cruise control, a memory function for the driver's seat and navigation.
Options for the CR-V EX-L include the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and FM Traffic and a DVD Rear Entertainment System (not available with Navigation). All-wheel-drive is an available feature on every model regardless of trim level.
When someone buys a Honda they expect good fuel economy, reliability and safety. The CR-V addresses the safety leg of that trio with VSA, an electronic stability control system, an Anti-lock Braking System with Brake Assist, side-curtain airbags and front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System. Dual front airbags are also fitted as standard.
Honda also says that the front seat design was given considerable attention so that it can help reduce the severity of neck injuries in the event of a rear collision.
The Touring trim comes standard with a host of electronic driving aids including a Collision Mitigation Braking System, a Forward Collision Warning system and a Lane Departure Warning system,
The CR-V plays in the extremely crowded compact SUV segment against rivals like the powerful Toyota RAV4, the fuel-efficient Chevrolet Equinox and the popular Ford Escape. Potential CR-V buyers should also cross-shop the Nissan Rogue and the Subaru Forester.