The 2015 Honda CR-V is a 5-passenger crossover, known for it’s reliability, utility, and efficiency. We’ve come to expect these qualities from Honda, but is it enough to get the coveted TFL rating of Buy It?
The 2015 CR-V has gotten a bit of a refresh this year. The front features a sleeker design, chrome trim added to the fog lights, and LED running lights. In the rear Honda has added some more chrome trim, a slightly different presentation of back up lights in tail light design, and a straighter style crease in the body, in opposition to last year which curved up to meet taillights. Also featured are 18″ alloy wheels that are more stylish than maybe the CR-V deserves.
Under hood Honda gives us a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine, good for 185 hp 181 lb/ft of torque, a few more lb/ft than the 2014 model. FWD available but the TFL Car test model is the Touring trim with AWD. A continuously variable transmission yields 26 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. While this is one of the most fuel efficient cross overs available today, your mileage will vary.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Honda CR-V||$32,770||$33,600||185/181|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!||26/33 Combined 28||Combined 21.5|
This top of the line Touring model includes leather trimmed seats, multifunctional leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, cruise control, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, push button start, and a power sunroof. The materials used in the cabin still feature a fair amount of plastic, but everything is thoughtfully placed. There are no redundant controls on the dash; the only radio controls are on the steering wheel or on the 7″ touchscreen. There is a fair amount of storage in center console and deck, a very convenient place for your phone, and some storage in the doors.
The CR-V features two infotainment screens; a larger 7″ touchscreen at the bottom and a smaller info screen set up higher. The menus could be more intuitive and the whole system seemed a little buggy. Turning off the car with the system set to XM once resulted in turning on the car to find the system set to FM. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of the world, but infotainment systems are not new technology. Honda should have this down by now.
The CR-V does have a good amount of utility. The power liftgate reveals 32.2 cu/ft of space. There are two levers which automatically fold the rear seats down, increasing that space to 70.9 cu/ft of space. It’s a neat trick and Honda should be lauded for making the maximum space available with a minimal amount of work.
While the CR-V is AWD, it’s not necessarily ready for off road driving. 6.8″ of clearance and a tow rating of 1500 pounds means you can easily tow your small toys to your cabin on a maintained dirt road, but not much more.
Honda has improved the ride for 2015 by re-tuning the suspension and adding front and rear sway bars. It’s not the sportiest chassis out there, but it feels relatively planted and most drivers should be satisfied.
Honda has also swapped out the 5-speed automatic in the 2014 model for a continuously variable transmission in the 2015. A CVT does not have any fixed gear ratios. Instead, through what one can only assume is engineering magic, a CVT has infinite gears. The transmission is able to select an engine/wheel speed ratio that is the most efficient.
The CR-V features Econ, Drive, and Sport modes. The Econ mode has no guts and most consumers will find themselves in Drive or Sport mode.
The CVT certainly does live up to its reputation for being a fuel efficient transmission, at least in terms of keeping the rpms low. While driving in town, it seems that the goal of the CVT is to drop the tachometer to 1200 rpms as quickly as possible. This puts the transmission just at the edge of bogging down. It’s like it’s skirting the cliff edge between efficiency and stalling out. Of course, it never stalls, but to anyone not used to a CVT, or is used to rowing their own gears, the feeling is disconcerting.
Even at higher speeds, the CVT keeps those rpms low. At 55mph the engine runs at 1500 rpm, and at 65 mph it runs at 1800 rpm. Sport mode bumps things up a little bit. 55 mph holds the engine at 2900 rpm, 65 mph at 3100 rpm.
Acceleration from any of these points means the CVT will up the rpms to a loud, whiny howl until the driver lets off the gas pedal. Again, if you’re not ready for it you may think your transmission is about to drop right out of the vehicle.
There are other crossovers in this price range that have regular 5 speed automatics that while maybe not as fuel efficient, certainly are less annoying to drive and more familiar to consumers.
The good news is that the steering has also been revamped for 2015. It has a nice weight to it, even at parking lot speeds. Turn ins are quick and precise, although some drivers may want more feedback.
The CR-V also features Honda’s LaneWatch system, where a camera view from the passenger side mirror is displayed on the 7″ infotainment screen whenever the right hand turn signal is activated. There is also a button to activate LaneWatch at any time, should you so desire. It’s a bit over the top, as the driver can just turn their head to check the blind spot, like drivers have been doing since the advent of the automobile, but still you are riding higher and occupying a fair amount of space. Many drivers will appreciate the technology.
Other safety features include a lane departure warning system and a forward collision warning system. The forward collision warning system issues an audible signal if the computer thinks you’re on a course to smash the car in front, and will even apply the brakes for you should you not respond to the warning.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Honda CR-V Touring with AWD a Buy it!
The top of the line model comes in at $33,600 and in all, the experience behind the wheel is satisfying, as long as the CVT is kept in Sport mode. It would be nice to have an optional more powerful engine that offers close to 200 hp with a 6 speed auto with paddle shifters, which would go a long way to making it competitive with more athletic models like the Mazda CX5. If you’re looking for off road capabilities, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is an actual 4×4, not AWD, and starts about $4000 cheaper and should be on your list. But, if you want a mild mannered and composed ride that’s Baby Bear just right, the CR-V is hard to beat.
Check out this video of the 2014 CR-V mashed up with some of it’s competitors!