When it comes to shopping for a used compact SUV, the 2016 Honda CR-V remains one of the most popular choices, and for good reason. The CR-V’s reputation for reliability and strong resale is a well-earned one, as is its ability to fit all manner of cargo and people into a tidy crossover SUV that’s as easy on fuel as it is the eyes. The CR-V received a major makeover in 2015 with new styling, interior features and a revised powertrain, all of which carried over into the 2016 model with no change. The Touring trim was new last year, adding a power rear liftgate, Honda Sensing advanced driver-assist safety systems and adaptive cruise control. For 2016, the CR-V gained a new Special Edition model slotting just about the base LX trim.
While it won’t handle as well as a Mazda CX-5 or Ford Escape, the Honda CR-V is one of the most comfortable-riding crossovers in the segment, holding wide appeal to those who value a softer ride and a quieter cabin over aggressive handling and a stiff suspension. The CR-V’s spacious back seat and wide cargo hold provide more than enough room for four adults and their gear. If there’s one downside to the CR-V, it can be found in the way Honda parcels out options. Navigation, for example, is only available on top-of-the-line models; same goes for advanced driver-assist features. The CR-V also lacks the option of a more powerful turbocharged engine, something offered in the Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Kia Sportage.
What We Like
Excellent reliability record; good fuel economy; comfortable ride; big back seat; strong resale values; Touring trim’s Honda Sensing driver-assist features
What We Don’t
No V6 or turbocharged engine option; best features only available on the top-line trims; 2-piece folding rear seat takes up storage space behind front seats; no sliding rear seat
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 CR-V offers only one engine choice: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. A CVT automatic transmission is standard. Front-wheel-drive models earn an estimated 26 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Add optional all-wheel drive (AWD) to the mix, and those numbers drop slightly to 25 mpg city/31 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The Honda CR-V compact crossover comes in five trims: LX, SE (Special Edition), EX, EX-L and Touring. All four trims can be equipped with Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System.
The CR-V LX comes nicely equipped and includes 16-in steel wheels, air conditioning, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD stereo with four speakers, USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth phone and music streaming with an SMS text-messaging interface, Pandora Internet Radio, a multi-information display, remote keyless entry, rear-seat air vents, a front-seat center armrest, a rear backup camera and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls.
The CR-V SE adds 17-in alloy wheels, rear privacy glass and an alarm and more color choices.
The CR-V EX adds 17-in alloy wheels, a power sunroof, a security system, automatic headlights, front fog lights, rear privacy glass, Honda LaneWatch passenger side blind spot monitoring, Honda Link services, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, smart entry with push-button start, LED daytime running lights and two additional speakers for the 7-in display audio system.
The CR-V EX-L brings leather seating, a 328-watt audio system with powered subwoofer, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio.
The CR-V Touring builds on the EX-L with 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.
Options for the CR-V are limited to the EX-L trim, which can be equipped with a navigation radio.
As you might expect, the Honda CR-V holds top ratings in the area of resale, which makes driving a hard bargain a bit more difficult. To get a good idea of the CR-V’s price range, we suggest checking out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see which models are currently for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the following recalls for the 2016 Honda CR-V:
A recall was issued for a defect in vehicles that qualified for an engine replacement. The new engines were assembled with the wrong pistons.
A recall was issued regarding the possibility that, upon deployment, the driver’s side airbag inflator could rupture with metal pieces striking the occupants. Should this occur, both drive and passenger risk injury or death.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if any needed repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The Honda CR-V’s safety record appears to be quite good. NHTSA gave the CR-V five stars for its frontal crash test, as well as for side-impact and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Honda CR-V crossover its highest rating of Good in every crash test and a Superior in the collision-avoidance and mitigation tests (Touring trim only). The IIHS also award the CR-V a Top Safety Pick + rating.
The Honda CR-V left the factory with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty; both are fully transferable. If you buy a certified pre-owned CR-V, you’ll get a 182-point certification, plus an extension of the 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty to four years and 48,000 miles or, if the vehicle’s new-car warranty has expired, a 1-year/12,000-mile basic warranty from the date of purchase. The powertrain warranty is also extended by seven years and 100,000 miles from the date the vehicle entered service.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Ford Escape — The Escape offers more power, better handling and more features, but its repair and resale record is somewhat spotty.
2016 Toyota RAV4 — The RAV4 can match the CR-V for resale, reliability and features, plus its styling is more aggressive. However, the RAV doesn’t offer collision mitigation or autonomous braking, but there is hybrid model.
2016 Mazda CX-5 — The CX-5 is the driver’s crossover utility vehicle, with better handling than the CR-V. The CX-5’s fuel economy matches that of the CR-V and you can get a manual transmission on the base FWD model.
2016 Kia Sportage — The Sportage offers more power, a better standard warranty and more features for less, but the CR-V has a more comfortable ride, better fuel economy and better resale figures.
We think the best model is the EX. It provides a nice combination of features, such as alloy wheels and a sunroof, and it shouldn’t cost that much more than a used LX. If you can’t live without leather, navigation, heated seats and side mirrors, you’re going to have to pony up more cash and get the EX-L. The Touring will cost considerably more, but you may consider the added benefit of its Honda Sensing driver-assist safety features worth the price.