2015 CR-V New Car Test Drive
Substantially revised for 2015, Honda CR-V is a functional, compact four-door crossover with room for four adults and plenty of cargo. It comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Five trim packages are offered with no options, and a new top-of-the-line Touring model.
The 2015 CR-V has a new engine, the same size but stronger and more efficient than before, and a new continuously variable transmission for a noteworthy 3-4 mpg lift in EPA fuel economy ratings. Suspension has been modified with a wider track and the body structure reinforced to maintain top safety status. The dashboard and console have been revised and the rear seat gets air conditioning vents. A side camera is added to most models. And the new CR-V Touring model adds a suite of active safety assists, power tailgate and 18-inch wheels among other things.
Honda CR-V arrives ready to use, with useful storage areas, simple controls, a split-folding rear seat with a clever system for folding it, and generous 35 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats. A backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming internet radio connectivity, SMS text message alert and a juvenile-monitor mirror are standard on each one. The Touring model comes with lane keeping assist, forward collision warning/mitigation braking, navigation, leather trim, and a 328-watt sound system with HD radio.
The CR-V's new 2.4-liter engine delivers 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, all at lower revs than its predecessor. Fuel economy is near the best in class, with an EPA-estimated 27/34 mpg City/Highway on front-wheel drive models, and 26/33 mpg with all-wheel drive, on Regular Unleaded. A driver-enabled Eco-Assist feature intended to save fuel adjusts powertrain operation but still delivers full power when you ask for it.
Ride quality and noise levels are controlled so the CR-V can handle road trips as well as school-zone grands prix and restocking at the big-box stores. Handling is predictable and benign without riding as firmly as sportier crossovers do. All-wheel drive operates as front-wheel drive until slip is detected and more traction needed whereupon power is sent to the rear wheels. Although its 8 inches of ground clearance exceeds that of some four-wheel-drive vehicles, the CR-V is not designed for extended off-highway travel.
There's nothing daring in interior design, unless you think proven, simple, pleasing to the eye and functional are daring concepts. Most upper trim is soft-touch with hard plastic dominant below, but texturing avoids any industrial look. Rear seats fold easily if not flat with the cargo floor with the pull of a lever, and the cargo cover can be removed and stowed on the floor so large items don't require leaving it behind.
Safety features include electronic stability control, six airbags and a predictive rearview camera on all but base models. The 2015 Honda CR-V has not yet been tested but its precursor earned a 5-star overall crash-test score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Alternatives to the 2015 Honda CR-V include other small crossovers such as the Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Tiguan. Some offer more than one engine, the Outlander a V6. Rogue and Outlander offer a small third-row seat.
The 2015 Honda CR-V LX ($23,320) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, four-way adjustable front seats plus manual height adjustment for driver's seat, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with multi-function controls, power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, remote entry, 60/40-split folding rear seats, rearview camera, information display, a four-speaker 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with Pandora interface, auxiliary audio jack and USB port; Bluetooth phone and streaming Internet radio connectivity, SMS text messaging, conversation mirror, and 16-inch steel wheels.
CR-V LX AWD ($24,570) adds all-wheel drive. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices, which do not include the $790 destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
CR-V EX ($25,420) and CR-V EX AWD ($26,670) models add a power moonroof, 10-way power driver seat, heated front seats, LaneWatch, fog lights, rear privacy glass, LED running lamps, predictive rear camera, retractable/stowable cargo cover, 7-inch touch-screen six-speaker audio system, HondaLink, security system, smart entry/pushbutton start, body-color mirrors and door handles, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
CR-V EX-L ($28,020) and CR-V EX-L AWD ($29,270) further upgrade with leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, seven-speaker 328-watt audio system with subwoofer, satellite radio capability, heated side mirrors, and roof rails. Navigation with voice-recognition, turn-by-turn directions and HD radio/traffic.
CR-V Touring ($31,520) and Touring AWD ($32,570) include everything from EX-L with navigation and add 18-inch alloy wheels, mirror turn signals, HID low beam headlights, HomeLink, driver memory seat, power tailgate, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking.
Safety equipment includes frontal airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, full coverage side curtain airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, and multi-angle rearview camera. Safety-related options include all-wheel drive, LaneWatch, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking.