Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Honda CR-V, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Honda CR-V Review.
The 2016 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 earned a major facelift last year to keep it competitive in a segment that always seems to be changing, improving and growing.
We’re a fan of Honda’s updates, as they help to keep the CR-V competitive and modern. We also like the CR-V’s new continuously variable transmission (CVT), as it’s an excellent unit borrowed straight from the popular Accord sedan. We like the CR-V’s new features, especially its LaneWatch blind spot camera, 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, and we wish there was a more powerful version, as its standard 4-cylinder remains taxed by the crossover’s increasingly hefty dimensions. However, we’d still make sure to include it on any shopping list of today’s top small crossovers. See the 2016 Honda CR-V models for sale near you
What’s New for 2016?
Following major changes last year, the CR-V is largely unchanged for 2016 — save for a new Special Edition model that slots above the crossover’s base-level LX trim.
What We Like
Honda reliability; comfortable driving position; big interior space; more technology than ever
What We Don’t
Engine still seems overmatched; uninspired looks
The CR-V offers only one engine: a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, mated to a CVT. Fuel economy stands at 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive or 26 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with optional all-wheel drive.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Honda CR-V is offered in five trim levels: base-level LX, new-for-2016 SE, midlevel EX, upscale EX-L and high-end Touring.
The LX ($24,600) 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.
The new SE ($25,600) adds 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and an alarm, along with a few more colors than you can get with the LX.
Drivers who step up to the EX ($26,800) get a power sunroof, 17-in alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, and an upgraded sound system. Last year, the EX also gained Honda’s impressive LaneWatch blind spot camera, a 7-in center touchscreen and guidelines for the backup camera.
Next up is the EX-L ($29,300), which 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 $32,900 with shipping. It adds 18-in wheels, a power tail gate, adaptive cruise control, a forward-collision warning system, a lane-departure warning system, driver seat memory and a navigation system with HD Radio.
Every 2016 CR-V has standard electronic stability control, an anti-lock braking system with brake assist, side-curtain airbags, front-side airbags, and a backup camera. EX models add Honda’s LaneWatch blind spot camera, while the high-end Touring trim boasts a forward-collision warning system, adaptive cruise control and a lane-departure warning system.
In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the latest CR-V earned only four overall stars out of a possible five — surprisingly, a decrease from the 2012-2014 model’s 5-star overall rating. The nonprofit Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, however, gave the CR-V its coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating after the crossover aced each of the firm’s crash tests.
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 and have plenty of headroom. The gearshift juts out from the center of the dash much like the minivan and beneath it, Honda offers 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
2016 Mazda CX-5 — The CX-5 is an excellent compact crossover that offers impressive handling, lots of equipment, handsome styling and value-packed pricing.
2016 Ford Escape — The Escape is another best-seller in the segment. It boasts lots of technology and a wide range of powertrains for just about any situation.
2016 Hyundai Tucson — The newly redesigned Hyundai Tucson will give the CR-V a run for its money, thanks to excellent fuel economy figures, lots of equipment, reasonable pricing and the brand’s impressive warranty.
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.
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, as it offers the most stuff for the most reasonable price. Shoppers who want the best possible CR-V should pick a Touring. It’s expensive, but its wide range of safety and convenience features is virtually unrivaled among compact crossovers. Find a Honda CR-V for sale