We revisit best in class 2014 Honda CR-V
CR-V is not this journalist's favorite Honda. However, North America loves it, placing sales at the top of the small family friendly SUV segment. We decided to spend the day driving the 2014 Honda CRV through the wine country of Santa Cruz.
On first examination of CRV, we were taken in by the body style, exterior fit, finish and cabin space; the car is damn good looking! Once again Honda captures the look and feel of a much larger vehicle in the confines of an SUV riding on the edge of the mini-classification. While the interior volume of CRV is best in class, the wheelbase and bumper to bumper length of CR-V makes city maneuvering and parking a breeze.
This 6’5 driver had no problems fitting into the confines of the pilot’s seat. Infinitely adjustable, with more than ample head and shoulder room, CR-V provides measurable comfort and great road visibility.
Performance and handling better than anticipated.
Powered by Honda’s iconic 185hp 2.4 liter DOHC 16-valve 1-VTEC, CR-V has an impressive "drive by wire" throttle. We drove the CR-V 5 door AWD EX-L without Tech package.($29,755 as tested) We found the 5 speed automatic to be relatively seamless. However, the 4 cylinder, automatic transmission combination leads to a bit of “revi-ness” as the engine searches for the sweet torque spot. Once you find it, the CR-V is surprisingly powerful and responsive.
Start and stop dynamics as well as braking is excellent, as is the interior noise level.(Quiet)
We found the suspension to be a bit stiff.
In all fairness to Honda we must admit that we were driving what is classified as a “light truck” with no cargo and minimal passenger load. Although CR-V sports full independent suspension(front and rear) all-wheel drive, exceptional disk brakes and 17” rims, on less than perfect roads, CR-V will beat you up, despite world-class leather seating.
We didn’t find this to be the case with Pilot or Ridgeline. We’ll revisit those two rigs in the near future.
Mom’s love CR-V.
Torque News sat in the back seat of CR-V in an attempt to capture child seat conditions, easy access from the front seat and outside view from the rear cabin. The view to the outside world is largely unobstructed from the rear, head and wiggle room is ample, seating; comfortable. With 60/40 split rear seating, the cargo deck can expand to accommodate many large items, adding to the truck-like utility of CR-V.
Instrumentation, road handling and fuel economy.
YES! O.K. we’ll expand a bit further. We found the placement of all instruments and controls to be ergonomically exceptional and intuitive. In CR-V's application, the dash-mounted shift lever affords a huge storage bin between driver and front passenger seat. The seats are very comfortable, our CR-V was leather trimmed, with washable floor mats, and slush trays. The dash and interior trim and finishes were mostly soft to the touch and pleasing to the eye. Our CR-V sports a dark silver gray metallic exterior with leather and vinyl light gray interior.
How’s the All Wheel Drive and Econo mode?
The handling, road holding characteristics of CR-V is exceptional. We took this little SUV through the winding roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains, from ridge line to the beach, it shined!
We find the 2014 CR-V a good feature-packed value in a small-sized SUV. Our’s was a full dresser,(less tech) looked great and averaged 26 mpg under real-world driving conditions.
What we'd change
Not much, however, if it was available in North America, we'd like to see a 2 wheel drive CR-V with Honda's " Earth Dream" diesel. Also, in the current all-wheel drive, we'd like to see a drive selection shift opting out to FWD and a multiple staged suspension for variable road conditions.
We've been invited by Honda to review the redesigned 2015 CR-V in September. Featuring a fuel efficient “Earth Dreams” 4 cylinder, new transmission and slightly tweaked design, Honda guarantees the advancement of North America’s best selling small SUV.