Our review score: 9.2 / 10
The 2015 Honda CR-V may cost more than the competition, but it delivers a slicker body, more sophisticated cabin and better engine – courtesy of a mid-cycle refresh.
Last winter, the Canadian car industry entered a new era, unknowingly to most. For the first time in history the crossover utility vehicles (CUV) overtook compact cars as the nation’s most popular segment. This moment was a long time coming, dating back to 2008. The Ford Escape was the first to break into the top-10 chart of most popular vehicles, with the Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 quickly following.
The Honda CR-V was the most outdated on the list, which is why the Japanese automaker has addressed this for 2015 by giving the crossover a mid-cycle refresh. While it isn’t quite a complete redesign, the refresh offers more than just minor changes. The CR-V has updated the style, enhanced the interior, added more tech features and revamped the powertrain. Here’s what makes this new version a real standout:
For 2015, the Honda CR-V gets neat exterior styling updates to add more character to the vehicle that’s already quite distinct. The front end gets a nose job with the addition of new headlights and a new grille. The bumpers on both ends are new as are the wider wheels. The vehicle not only has a better overall appearance, it also has a more significant road presence.
More Sophisticated Cabin
The interior of the Honda CR-V is still comfortingly similar to the previous model, but with added features and enhancements. The cabin is still spacious enough that the rear seat passengers will be able to sprawl out, while the front seats as supportive and comfortable as one would expect – with 10-way-adjustble seats being offered on most trims. The cabin is generally more luxurious thanks to the addition of soft-touch materials.
The technology features on the CR-V have also received a generous upgrade. There’s an available seven-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, navigation system, satellite radio and seven-speaker sound system. Standard features like Bluetooth, a rearview camera and a text-message reader, offered on the base CR-Vs, command additional costs on most of the competition, if they are offered at all.
The 2015 CR-V now comes with a new powertrain that may not seem all that different on paper, but will certainly feel that way. The new engine is a direct-injection 2.4-litre four-cylinder that can generate 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available is the continuously variable one (CVT), and buyers can choose between front- and all-wheel drives.
Some may not like the ride quality of the CVT as it can be a bit noisy and cause vibrations, but they will like the exceptional fuel efficiency. The front-wheel-drive model carries a combined rating of 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres. The all-wheel-drive version performs slightly worse – at 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres.
Occupying such a competitive and well-rounded segment means that the price may ultimately dictate the buyer’s choice. The Honda CR-V is priced on the more expensive side, carrying a base MSRP of $25,990. Most of its competitors are priced at around $24,000.
Despite its higher base price, the Honda CR-V has more standard features than the competition, so things do even out in that regard – though if the standard features don’t interest, there is no way to subtract them. The price may also be worth it to the buyers who appreciate the proven reliability of Honda vehicles.
The new Honda CR-V is a better car by a mile, thanks to this mid-cycle upgrade. All of the revisions make it more attractive and practical than ever before. If you are able to look past the somewhat clunky CVT and higher-than-average base price in favour of the more attractive features, then you will be pleased with what you get.