- Select a Year:
One of the best-selling compact crossovers today, the Honda CR-V offers a spacious interior and seating for five, making it the perfect for family duty. Key competitors to the CR-V include the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Escape, and Subaru Forester.
First introduced in the U.S. in 1997, the Honda CR-V was one of the original compact crossovers along with the Toyota RAV4. Although many competitors have grown in size, the CR-V has remained relatively the same size since it first arrived. The CR-V was also one of the first crossovers to utilize a unibody construction instead of a body-on-frame structure.
The original CR-V was powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 but for its second generation, the crossover received a larger 2.4-liter unit, and an engine of that size has been its standard powerplant through the fourth-generation model. Honda eliminated the side-opening rear door for the third generation along with the spare tire mounted on the rear door. From the third generation model and onward, all CR-Vs sold in North America are manufactured in Honda’s assembly plant in East Liberty, Ohio.
Originally introduced for the 2012 model year, the fourth-generation CR-V featured evolutionary styling and received a new all-wheel-drive system. The crossover received a significant refresh for the 2015 model year including an updated 2.4-liter I-4 with direct injection. A new CVT replaced the old five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy was also improved significantly, making the CR-V one of the most efficient crossovers available. Additionally, the car began offering a full suite of active safety features that included forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
The refreshed Honda CR-V was Motor Trend’s 2015 SUV of the Year thanks to the new powertrain and improvements made to the crossover’s chassis. “This feels like a Honda should, with light steering, great feedback, and competent handling chops. It’s way more fun than any compact crossover ought to be,” said associate editor Christian Seabaugh. We also noted that thanks to its clever interior packaging, the CR-V is much more practical than key competitors such as the RAV4, Forester, and Escape. In a 2015 First Test, we said that “the driving-fun quotient is back up to Honda specification, and the performance is competitive.”
The 2017 model year marks the debut of the fifth-generation Honda CR-V, which rides on a new chassis shared with the current Honda Civic and offers the model’s first turbocharged engine. A longer wheelbase (and shorter overhangs) allows for increased interior space, particularity rear seat legroom. Although the 2.4-liter I-4 carries over from the last generation on the LX trim, the EX and Touring models are powered by a 190-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4. Both engines are mated to a CVT, with front- and all-wheel-drive versions available.
Other new standard features include LED daytime running lights and dual exhaust tips, standard 17-inch alloys on the LX, and more soft-touch materials inside. Available equipment includes a new infotainment system with a 7.0-inch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a real volume knob. Honda has also expanded the content of its Honda Safety active safety package, which is now standard on the EX and above.
When usable interior space for people, solid safety scores, and cargo are of the utmost importance, the CR-V will work well to haul everything from Ikea furniture to the whole family. A new engine option offers more power and increased fuel economy. The CR-V is also one of the more efficient entries in its class, which means you’ll go farther on a tank of gas and spend less at the pump.
Unlike some competitors, the new Honda CR-V only offers a 7.0-inch infotainment screen rather than an 8.0-inch screen. Also, the crossover’s bold rear styling might not appeal to everyone, and some might not want to get lost in the sea of CR-Vs — the crossover could be Honda’s next best-selling vehicle.