What we experienced in Huntington Beach,Ca. was far beyond our expectations. CR-V sets a new industry benchmark for small SUV comfort, performance and safety
To be upfront about it, we must first state with conviction that CR-V was not our favorite Honda. Although it is the best selling SUV in North America 7 out of the past 10 years, we found CR-V to be a bit middle of the road, rough riding and under powered for our over indulged automotive journalist selves.
Setting all preconceived CR-V notions aside, Torque News eagerly accepted Honda PRs invitation to test drive and review the updated and refreshed 2015 CR-V. Frankly, based on our extended drive of the 2015 CR-V Tour and the competition present at the event, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue and Toyota Rav4, we now believe that CR-V is the greatest value for the dollar spent in the small SUV segment.
Further more, no competitor in the small SUV segment can match fuel economy, performance, safety and handling characteristics of CR-V.
While we could end this review here, we have a couple more accolades to pour on Honda’s number 3 seller.
We’ll start with the engine
As we predicted 2015 CR-V comes equipped with Honda’s state of the art 2.4 L i-VTEC direct injected, throttle by wire normally aspirated 4 cylinder gasoline engine. For 2015, CR-V comes standard with greater fuel economy,(4%) higher torque,(11%) and lower emissions.
CR-Vs torque comes on in the mid range resulting in little to no transmission shift-point search, throttle lag or power loss on grade. we found CR-V acceleration and uphill momentum unprecedented in its class.
2015 CR-V comes standard in all trim levels equipped with the best CVT in the industry. Gone are the days of a CVT(constant variable gear ratio transmission) constantly searching for the sweet spot. While we did encounter a couple of high-rev moments, Honda’s CV-T provided a stable transition between shift points thanks to innovative “G-Design” shift technology. Paddle shifters? not yet. Once again Honda technology provides measurable performance and outstanding fuel economy via CVT and Earth Dreams i-VTEC. This combination will leave the majority of drivers not wanting more.
Highest Fuel economy in class: 2W D = 27 city/ 34 hwy for a combined 29 mpg
4W D = 26 city/ 33 hwy for a combined 28 mpg.
Honda is grabbing a trick or two from our friends at Acura
For 2015 Honda CR-V will be the quietest as well as safest in class. Offering greater suspension dampening, carpet with full sound deadening, improved door seals and top in class personal connectivity, active and passive safety features, Honda CR-V insures a superior drive and ownership experience. What Honda has done here is added greater purchase value at the entry level. What had once been reserved for the luxury car buyer can now be found standard in CR-V.
Well, what can we say? As predicted by Torque News and others, CR-V now comes equipped with a Honda 2 screen glass dash. We’ll expand on this feature in a near-future article. Our co-driver found the touchscreen to be intuitive. Although we continue to encounter a learning curb as to personal connectivity and navigation; most drivers will find CR-V electronics to be more than adequate.
Torque News revisited the 2014 CR-V and was not impressed by the ride and interior noise level. Much of this was due to excessive dead weight(brakes, tires and rims) bounce and road noise transference. We also took exception to CR-Vs side mirror wind noise and 5 speed automatic over-search. Honda has eliminated all of the aforementioned in the refreshed 2015 CR-V.
We found the freeway ride to be exceptional for CR-V, although a bit of mirror wind noise remained evident. Where CR-V shined for us was in combination city and 2 lane travel. CR-V has one of the tightest turning radius (in a primary front wheel drive vehicle) yet to be experienced by this journalist. With rear cam engaged, parallel parking is bordering on effortless. Honda’s done a commendable job of taming CR-Vs ride characteristics. We put our foot in it on more than one country two lane. CR-V responded with a flat, remarkably smooth, well controlled ride. We were collectively blown away.
For 2015 Honda has added a Touring trim package to CR-Vs lineup. Offering “Honda Sensing,” Collision Mitigation Braking System,”Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lanewatch and Lane Departure Warning. Yeh, I know, what ever happened to just driving… Nonetheless, this is the safest CR-V built to date. Also for 2015 we find an expanded interior and exterior color pallet, upgraded and up-sized rim choices, 10 way perforated leather driving seats and yes, a power rear lift gate.
Wrapping it up
Honda holds the line on price increase(under $250.00) while adding $1400 in standard features to CR-V.“Earth Dreams” technology, CVT and an improved ride places CR-V at the top of class as to performance and fuel economy. For those wanting a bit more luxury from CR-V, Honda evolves the lineup by adding a Touring trim. We've driven the 2015 CR-V Touring and rank it the best in class. We don’t believe Honda CR-V value can be topped for the $ spent.
Special thanks to Honda G.M. Jeff Conrad, Honda PR Manager Robyn Eagles, Victoria and the crew for facilitating our visit to Huntington Beach, Ca..