2018 CR-V New Car Test Drive
The Honda CR-V, a compact crossover SUV with room for passengers and cargo, was all new for 2017; so for 2018 it's unchanged. CR-V's driving dynamics are appealing and it's relatively refined and isolated from road turmoil. The Honda's main rival is the Toyota RAV4, but the compact crossover field is crowded with good cars.
CR-V LX models uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque.
All other models use a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet. That's a mere 6 horsepower difference on paper, but the turbo feels much stronger. All models use a gearless continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available, including on the LX. When road conditions warrant, the all-wheel-drive can distribute greater power to rear wheels for more stable handling and greater all-weather capability. A rearview camera is standard on all models.
The fuel mileage is high, from 27 to 30 miles per gallon depending on the powertrain. A front-drive LX is EPA-rated at 26/32 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive lowers that estimate to 25/31/27 mpg City/Highway/Combined. A turbo with front-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 28/34 mpg City/Highway, or 30 mpg Combined, while the all-wheel-drive version lops 1 mpg off each figure.
All models except the LX (about 75 percent) include Honda Sensing, a suite of safety technology including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning. If the CR-V starts to drift, lane-keep assist can nudge the CR-V back where it belongs. The system determines drift by the driver not using the turn signal to change lanes, so if you start to change lanes without using the turn signal, the steering wheel will resist. Honda Sensing also includes road departure mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the CR-V five stars overall in crash testing, with five-star scores in each test with contact, and four stars for rollover prevention, typical for crossovers and SUVs, which are taller than sedans.
Top ratings also were given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which awarded the CR-V a Top Safety Pick+ for those CR-Vs with Honda Sensing and LED headlamps.
The 2018 Honda CR-V LX ($24,150) comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and CVT, plus automatic climate control, four-speaker audio, a rearview camera, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lamps, keyless entry, and Bluetooth audio. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $940 destination charge.)
CR-V EX ($26,950) comes with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, and adds 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, power driver's seat, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, pushbutton start, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, and moonroof. Also standard is the Honda Sensing suite of safety technology.
CR-V EX-L ($29,450) upgrades with leather-trimmed seat upholstery, a power tailgate, power passenger's seat, driver's seat memory, and eight-speaker audio. Navigation is optional ($1,000).
Touring ($32,650) includes navigation, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, 330-watt audio, side roof rails, unique wheels, and rear cross-traffic alert.
All-wheel drive is available for all trim levels except LX ($1400).