The Best-Selling Small Crossover SUV – We Think We Know Why
In 2014, the Honda CR-V was the eighth best-selling vehicle in the United States and the third best in Honda’s line-up, following the Accord and Civic. So how does this small crossover SUV outsell its 18 competitors, year-after-year? To begin with, it is hard to find much wrong with it.
All trim levels (LX, EX, EX-L and Touring) of the two-wheel (front) drive and all-wheel drive 2015 Honda CR-V come with a 2.4L Direct Injection, 16-valve engine that runs on unleaded regular. Mated to a smooth operating Constant Velocity Transmission (CVT), it puts out 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Clean Fleet Report’s two-wheel drive CR-V was EPA rated at 27 City / 34 Highway / 29 Combined. In 396 miles of 75-percent/25-percent highway/city driving we averaged 31.9 mpg, which, if the 15.3 gallon fuel tank was run dry, would have taken us 488 miles down the road.
Driving Experience: On the Road
Our CR-V 2WD Touring weighed in at a solid 3,624 lbs., which resulted in a firm, but not stiff or harsh, ride on the highway and around town. Cornering had a planted feeling due to the 18-inch
wheels and 225/60 All-season tires, MacPherson struts up front, a multilink rear suspension and with stabilizer bars all the way around. Honda has developed a motion-adaptive, electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system that senses your speed and turning effort and effortlessly adjusts the assistance it is providing. This results in smooth cornering without ever getting the feeling that the assisted steering is doing too much.
All CR-Vs come with a CVT that, if you are not familiar with this technology, can take a few miles to get used to. To begin with, when mashing down the accelerator, you will hear and feel the RPMs racing to the maximum until you release the pedal. This is common to a CVT, but is nothing to be concerned with, as once you are at cruising speed, you will never, ever feel a gear shift (as there are no gears in a CVT).
Stopping was straight and true with no fading from the four-wheel, power disc brakes with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), brake assist and the Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) system.
Driving Experience: Interior
Honda describes the CR-V interior as having a “Smart Interface” design where the instruments and controls are “oriented to the driver for quick readability and easy access” plus “sophisticated styling” that offers an “accommodating interior that offers great cargo carrying versatility.”
Regarding the first claim, Honda is telling the truth as from the driver’s seat everything you need to know, use or reach are smartly laid-out and in logical, convenient placements. Except, if you read any of my car reviews, you will know I am a big fan of radios having volume and channel knobs. Unfortunately, the otherwise excellent seven-speaker with subwoofer, high-end sound system had neither, which resulted in an infotainment system that was not convenient to change between channels or modes. However, once you found your station or song, the high-resolution seven-inch color display became your friend for navigation, the rear view camera and for selecting between SiriusXM (three-month trial subscription), AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3, USB port with iPod connectivity, Pandora interface, SMS text messaging, Aux-in jacks, Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free telephone.
Our CR-V Touring had a power tilt and sliding moonroof, power tailgate and heated, black leather seats that were 10-way power adjustable, with two-way memory for the driver, and four-way for the passenger. It was easy to find a comfortable driver seat position, which included power lumber support and a center arm rest/console that was set at the right height. Adding to the interior comfort was a tilt and telescopic steering column, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with illuminated audio, hands-free telephone and cruise controls, and soft touch materials on the dash and door panels.
The CR-V can easily seat three adults in the 60/40 split bench rear seat that has a fold down arm rest with cup holders. Leg, knee and head room – front and rear – were excellent as was the
storage behind the rear seat that has a convenient low loading floor height and boxy shape for hauling larger items.
Other nice interior features are rear air vents, dual zone automatic temperature control, power windows and door locks, power and heated outside mirrors with integrated turn indicators, eight cup holders, carpeted floor mats, center console arm rest, exterior temperature display, remote and smart entry system, push-button start/stop and 12-volt accessory outlets.
Driving Experience: Exterior
The CR-V was freshened for 2015 with a softening of the front end and some added chrome accent pieces. However, it remains a boxy design aft of the windshield with a near-vertical rear end, which squarely places it in the SUV-design mode versus being considered a crossover. However, if you value the storage capacity that this boxy design offers then it is all good.
Safety and Convenience
The 2015 CR-V comes with safety and convenience features including six air bags, remote keyless entry, Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control System (TCS) and the previously mentioned four-wheel disc Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) with brake assist and Collision Mitigation Braking (CMBS.) The Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system was very helpful as were the projector beam Halogen headlights and fog lights.
Pricing and Warranties
Pricing for the 2015 Honda CR-V begins at $23,445, excluding the $880 Destination charge. Clean Fleet Report’s 2015 CR-V 2WD Touring had an MSRP of $32,350, excluding the $880 Destination charge.
The 2015 CR-V comes with these warranties:
- 3-year/36,000-mile New Vehicle
- 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain
- 3-year/36,000-mile Roadside Assistance
- 5-year/Unlimited mile Anti-Perforation
Observations: 2015 Honda CR-V 2WD Touring
The category sales and market share leader for several years, the CR-V continues to be the obvious go-to vehicle when consumers are shopping small SUVs. Others in this category are also very good vehicles and should be on your consideration list when it is time to get into something a bit larger than your compact car, or something a bit smaller than the full-size SUV you have been slogging around in all those years when the kids were living at home.
So, if you want to see why so many people (335,000+ in 2014), chose the CR-V, enjoy the experience of taking a lengthy test drive and you too probably will agree that a CR-V should be parked in your garage.
Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!
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