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2015 Honda CR-V: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2014

The 2015 Honda CR-V is a 5-passenger, 4-cylinder compact crossover that has consistently been regarded as one of the best and most popular small SUVs in a highly crowded segment. On sale in its current form since 2012, the CR-V has earned a major facelift for 2015 -- one that adds not just new styling and more features, but also an updated engine and transmission.

We're a fan of the updates, which help to keep the CR-V competitive in a challenging segment. We also like the CR-V's new continuously variable transmission; it's an excellent unit borrowed straight from the popular Accord sedan. We also like the CR-V's new features -- especially its LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, which is one of the most useful gadgets available today.

Still, the CR-V isn't perfect. In addition to an older basic design, its fuel economy lags behind some rivals. We wish there was a more powerful version, as its standard 4-cylinder remains taxed by the crossover's increasingly hefty dimensions. We'd still make sure to include it on any shopping list that included today's top small crossovers.

What's New for 2015?

The CR-V is heavily updated for 2015. In addition to a new continuously variable transmission and a revised engine with more torque, the latest CR-V boasts revised exterior styling, a 7-inch touchscreen, Honda's impressive LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system and a new Touring model with a series of upscale safety features.

What We Like

Honda reliability; comfortable driving position; big interior space

What We Don't

Engine still seems overmatched; uninspired looks

How Much?

$24,200-$33,500

Fuel Economy

The CR-V offers only one engine: a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Last year's 5-speed automatic transmission is gone, replaced instead by a new continuously variable transmission borrowed from the Accord. Because of the new transmission, fuel economy for the 2015 CR-V jumps to 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with 2-wheel drive, or 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with optional all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Honda CR-V is offered in four trim levels: base-level LX, midlevel EX, upscale EX-L and a new-for-2015 top-end trim, Touring.

The LX ($24,200) comes standard with a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a USB audio interface and Pandora Internet Radio connectivity. Other standard features include keyless entry, cruise control and a split-folding rear seat.

Drivers who step up to the EX ($26,300) will get a power sunroof, 17-in alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights and an upgraded sound system. For 2015, the EX also adds Honda's impressive LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, a 7-in center touchscreen and guidelines for the backup camera.

Next up, the EX-L ($29,000) adds dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and satellite radio. EX-L models can also be fitted with Honda's navigation system, which is the only factory option available on the CR-V.

Topping the range is the new Touring trim, which starts at $32,300 with shipping. It adds 18-in wheels, a power tailgate, adaptive cruise control, a forward-collision warning system, a lane-departure warning system, driver's seat memory and a navigation system with HD radio.

Safety

Every 2015 CR-V has standard electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, side-curtain airbags, front-side airbags and a backup camera. EX models add Honda's LaneWatch blind spot monitoring system, while the high-end Touring trim boasts a forward-collision warning system, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system.

Although the 2015 CR-V has not yet been tested, both 2- and 4-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 model earned a perfect 5-star overall rating in crash tests carried out by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Behind the Wheel

As you might expect, the CR-V isn't intended to be either a performance or luxury model. Instead, it delivers reasonably peppy acceleration, good handling and a pleasurable ride. From the driver's seat, it feels both spacious and solid -- and it delivers confidence in virtually any weather.

Inside, the CR-V's interior feels like that of a three-quarter-scale Honda Odyssey minivan. Front passengers enjoy a tall seating position, yet they have plenty of headroom. The gearshift juts out from the center of the dash much like the minivan -- and beneath it, there are several storage spaces. Between the two front seats is a large center console storage unit with sliding top, which, again, is just like the Odyssey.

In the back, the CR-V resembles a more conventional crossover and features a 60/40-split rear seat that folds almost flat. Rear passengers enjoy ample leg and hip room, but not dramatically more or less than other popular models in the segment.

Other Cars to Consider

Mazda CX-5 -- The CX-5 is among the newest additions to the crossover market. Like the CR-V, it lacks power -- but it offers impressive handling, lots of equipment, handsome styling and value-packed pricing.

Ford Escape -- The recently redesigned Escape compact crossover is a best-seller in the segment. The Escape boasts impressive technology and a wide range of powertrains for just about any situation.

Used Honda Pilot -- If the CR-V isn't quite big enough to meet your needs, you might want to consider the Honda Pilot. Though it suffers from an increasingly dated design, it combines a larger interior with many of the CR-V's best traits.

Used Toyota Highlander -- Although we think the CR-V is an improvement over Toyota's compact RAV4, we highly recommend the midsize Highlander to shoppers who want a carlike driving experience and a larger interior.

AutoTrader's Advice

There are two schools of thought for shoppers interested in buying a CR-V. Drivers looking for the best value should go for an EX model; it offers the most stuff for the most reasonable price. But shoppers who want the best possible CR-V will want to pick a Touring. It's expensive, but its wide range of safety and convenience features is virtually unrivaled in the compact crossover segment.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Honda CR-V: New Car Review - Autotrader