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2014 vs. 2015 Honda CR-V: What’s the Difference?

Editor’s note: You may want to read more of Autotrader’s model vs. model comparison car reviews as well as the 2014 Honda CR-V review and the 2015 Honda CR-V review.

 

If you’re interested in a compact crossover, your search has undoubtedly led you to the Honda CR-V, one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market. And if you’ve studied the CR-V, you probably know that it’s been heavily updated for the 2015 model year with several changes and revisions compared to last year’s model. What exactly is new about the 2015 Honda CR-V? And is it worth paying more for a new model or searching for a better deal on a certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 version? Here’s everything you need to know about the two models.

2014 Honda CR-V   2015 Honda CR-V

Exterior

Although the CR-V isn’t completely new for 2015, it’s received a facelift, with a nip here and a tuck there. On the outside, you’ll see several noticeable updates, including a new front end, an updated bumper, a new grille and newly available LED running lights. In back, there’s a new tailgate and an updated rear bumper. The CR-V also boasts new wheel designs. No, these changes aren’t massive, since the car’s general design, styling and profile stay the same, but the updates combine to give the CR-V a slightly more modern look.

2014 Honda CR-V interior   2015 Honda CR-V interior

Interior

The outgoing CR-V’s interior is very similar to the cabin in the revised 2015 model. In fact, many items are carried over unchanged, including the steering wheel, the gauge cluster, the center control stack and most of the switchgear. The only real update comes to the CR-V’s center console, which is revised to offer a new armrest and reshaped cupholders. Otherwise, expect more of the same for seats, visibility and passenger room. We assume Honda simply abided by the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

2014 Honda CR-V   2015 Honda CR-V

Mechanicals

Some of the 2015 CR-V’s biggest changes are under the hood. For one thing, there’s a revised 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with fuel-saving direct-injection technology, an updated powerplant that retains last year’s 185 horsepower but boosts torque from 163 lb-ft to 181 lb-ft. There’s also a new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which replaces last year’s 5-speed automatic in a further effort to improve gas mileage. And the results are promising: The crossover’s maximum fuel economy ratings jump from 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway to 27 mpg city/34 mpg hwy.

2014 Honda CR-V   2015 Honda CR-V

Features & Technology

The 2015 CR-V improves on last year’s model with several important new features. We’ve already covered two welcome additions: the front armrest and the CVT automatic that’s designed to help boost the crossover’s fuel economy.

But there is a host of other updates, including rear climate vents and an available 7-inch touchscreen that adds Honda’s impressive LaneWatch blind spot camera on EX trim levels and above. There’s also a new high-end Touring model that boasts a wide array of new safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and a lane-departure warning system, none of which were available in last year’s model.

In other words, don’t let subtle changes to the CR-V’s look fool you. If you want modern gadgets and equipment, the 2015 CR-V offers a substantial step forward compared to its predecessor.

2014 Honda CR-V trunk   2015 Honda CR-V trunk

Driving Experience

The CR-V has always offered the safe, dependable choice when it comes to compact-SUV driving experience, and the new model continues to do just that. Despite tales of revised suspension and an increased torque figure, we didn’t notice any major changes compared to last year’s model. That’s not a bad thing; this crossover still offers predictable handling, average acceleration, reasonably good visibility and a comfortable, compliant ride. You won’t get much fun with the CR-V, but you won’t get much fussing, either.

Where the CR-V does make a noticeable change is with its transmission. Gone is last year’s traditional 5-speed automatic, replaced instead by a fuel-saving CVT automatic. While some drivers don’t like CVTs due to their noise levels and unusual gearless behavior, we found this one to be among the better units. It’s quiet in normal driving, and it doesn’t drone like many CVTs. Still, this is unmistakably a CVT, and if you’ve been dismayed by them before, we suggest you give the CR-V a thorough test drive before signing the papers.

2014 Honda CR-V   2015 Honda CR-V

Safety

Although last year’s CR-V aced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash tests with a perfect 5-star score, it received only middling results in tests carried out by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The new CR-V improves on those results dramatically, earning the firm’s highest rating of Top Safety Pick+ thanks to additional crash protection and a newly available forward-collision alert system.

Crashworthiness isn’t the only safety item that’s improved with the 2015 CR-V. The compact crossover also offers several new safety features, including adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert with automatic braking, lane-departure warning and LaneWatch, an excellent camera system that helps monitor your blind spot. In other words, the 2015 CR-V is much safer than its predecessor, whether you’re choosing a base-level model for its improved crash protection or a high-end CR-V Touring for its additional safety equipment.

Conclusions

The new 2015 Honda CR-V doesn’t offer major updates inside or out, but it’s thoroughly revised where it counts. It offers dramatically better gas mileage than last year’s model, along with several new tech features, improved crash protection and a slew of new safety gadgets. And it retains all of the traditional CR-V benefits, such as a predictable driving experience, a comfortable ride and traditional Honda reliability.

As a result, we think you’d be justified in spending a little more for a new 2015 CR-V than a certified pre-owned model, unless you don’t want the latest model’s new safety equipment or the CPO model comes with a really great deal.

Find a 2014 Honda CR-V for sale

Find a 2015 Honda CR-V for sale

 
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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6 COMMENTS

  1. My mom owns a 2016 Honda CR-V and loves it, no problems at all. Maybe they fixed the problem or your specific vehicle had problems. 

    We are return CR-V owners as well. My mom formerly owned a 2003 CR-V. I currently have a 2007 Honda CR-V and had a 1998 before then. Sad to hear of the problems you had because ours are and have been so reliable. 
  2. We bought our sixth — and last — new Honda in March 2015. We drove the CRV-EX AWD just 1,600 miles before trading it for a 2015 RAV4 because we experienced unexpected acceleration on several occasions and received no help from Honda. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe how a longtime loyal Honda owner could be treated so poorly by Airport Honda in Tennessee and American Honda. I wanted American Honda to buy it back and told the representative that I would gladly pay for the mileage. Here’s what happened: I took the car to Airport Honda on Aug. 26 so they could check it out. Since the problem was intermittent, I halfway expected that they wouldn’t find a problem, especially given the way they treated me upon arrival. Despite showing them Internet reports of unexpected acceleration in CR-Vs, they said that they had never heard of such a problem. I explained that there’s no way I would make this up since it caused me a lot of trouble taking off work and driving 40 miles (round trip) so they could see if they could “replicate” (wink, wink) the problem. The best I could get was a car that functioned properly. After keeping the car for two days, of course they told me the car was fine. So when it became obvious that the service department was of no use, I tried to trade the car for either a 2016 Pilot or another CR-V, although that prospect scared me somewhat because I didn’t know if I could trust another CR-V. They said they’d call me with a trade figure, but they never did as they obviously didn’t want the absolutely pristine gray CR-V with the added $500 options of a hood deflector, mud flaps and a sunroof visor — all genuine Honda parts installed by Airport Honda. I called them back and spoke to Bruce Wayne (no kidding), and he wouldn’t provide a trade figure many hours after he said they’d have those numbers in a few minutes. In the end, I lost several thousand dollars and all respect I had for American Honda and Airport Honda. Our RAV4 with a conventional six-speed transmission is rock solid and the dealer, Fox Toyota, is perhaps the most honest and best in America. Reports of Honda’s decline certainly don’t seem to be exaggerated based on my experience. Oh, and I forgot to mention how the CR-V’s engine sent vibrations through the cabin with the car in drive and the brake pedal depressed. Airport Honda acknowledged that problem but said there isn’t a fix at this time. Anyway, I just hope no one gets killed in a CR-V when it takes off.

    • Wow, your details helped me to calm down my grief I love my Honda CRV 2003 and it runs strong for 14 years and still does but it’s time to let go because of too many repairs over $2,500 for 2 years plus professional auto diagnostics expert said it’s time let go, wear and tear getting old and time to buy new one. Within tight budget and have kids I can’t afford new Honda CR-V. We buy Hyundai Tucson 2014 instead for now and your details made me realize 4th generation Honda CR-V sounds worse than past generation 

  3. The CRV also offers drivers a free massage due to the VIBRATION from the CVT.

    Now you know what the “V” in the CRV stands for – Vibration.

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