2015 Honda CR-V Review

A King Among Crossovers?

2015 Honda CR-V Review

Many new vehicles are released with more fanfare than a political convention.

FAST FACTS

Engine: 2.4-liter Earth Dreams four-cylinder with 185 hp and 181 lb-ft

Transmission: Continuously variable

Fuel Economy: Up to 27 MPG city, 34 highway and 29 combined with front-wheel drive.

Price: An entry-level LX model can be had for just $24,150 including $830 in destination and delivery charges.

But instead of balloons, confetti and propaganda-laced speeches their arrival at dealers is heralded with teaser photos, lengthy press releases and agitprop-rich advertising. Anyone that uses the Internet, reads newspapers or watches TV will be aware of whatever car or truck is going on sale.

The goal of all this is to grab the public’s attention, to strike while the proverbial ferrous metal is glowing brightly, while your product has a competitive advantage over rival vehicles. But bucking standard operating procedure, Honda has released its 2015 CR-V compact crossover with practically no extravagant hoopla. In fact the vehicle just went on sale and we only drove it late last week.

Fundamentally Fine

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At the local media event they hosted, Honda officials trumpeted the 2015 CR-V as a major update to an already fresh product. They claimed the changes this vehicle received are much more significant than what most cars and trucks get during mid-cycle updates.

Almost every area of the vehicle was touched from the usual suspects including the exterior and cabin to the body structure, chassis and even powertrain. These enhancements were meant to take an already competitive product and propel it to the top of its segment.

Curb Appeal

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The new CR-V may benefit from a comprehensive list of upgrades, but many customers will probably be hard pressed to notice them, from the outside at least. Sure, this crossover wears a new grille, updated headlamps with available LED daytime running lights and a revised rear fascia, but it still looks pretty much like the outgoing model. Squint a little and it’s even harder to tell them apart.

Adding a little wasabi to this otherwise straightforward sushi roll, Honda is offering several new wheel designs. Customers can opt for rims that span up to 18 inches.

2015 Honda CR-V 07Making it a little easier to load items in its cargo hold the CR-V can now be fitted with a power tailgate. It’s activated by pushing a button on the dashboard or using the key fob. No fancy foot-activation is available.

Behind the second-row seats this spacious crossover offers more than 35 cubic feet of storage space. With the rear bench folded flat that number increases to nearly 71. These figures exceed what’s offered by rivals including the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Rogue.

Renovated Interior

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Not to be out done, the CR-V’s cabin has been totally revamped as well, from the cup holders to its front sliding armrest. Yes, about the only noteworthy upgrade inside is a completely redesigned center console. The storage cubbies have been rearranged and it gains some electrical ports for charging smartphones, tablets or other small electronics. Additionally the console has gained a pair of air vents, which should be a real boon to rear-seat passengers.

A power driver’s seat and heated front buckets are standard on EX models and above, as is keyless entry with push-button start. Benefiting taller folks that ride up front, the CR-V’s sun visors now slide to help block more of the side glass and keep glare to a minimum.

2015-Honda-CR-V-18Simple analog gauges give the driver all of the important information he or she needs at a glance. The cluster is dominated by a very large, centrally mounted speedometer. And right in the middle of this gauge is a digital readout for things like the odometer and outside temperature. Unfortunately this screen looks extremely chintzy; it’s little better than a 15-year-old graphing calculator. It sticks out like a frost-bitten finger in otherwise nicely thought-out interior.

Regrettably it’s the same story with the CR-V’s available navigation system. The interface is somewhat unintuitive but beyond that they’ve graced it with a series of physical buttons to the left of the screen.Normally this sounds like a good idea but the switches are tiny and therefore difficult to push while the vehicle is in motion. Exacerbating this problem, radio volume is controlled by a rocker switch as well!

2015-Honda-CR-V-21.JPGFortunately this vehicle’s interior is extremely well built with zero obvious fit-and-finish foibles. Additionally there are plenty of soft plastics on the armrests and lower portions of the dashboard. Sections that are made from hard polymers have a rich-looking, low-sheen finish to them that is surprisingly upscale.

Three different interior colors are available in the CR-V. Drivers can choose from a palate that includes black, gray and beige. The touring model I evaluated had a black interior and it was overwhelmingly gloomy, an issue that was exacerbated by dreary fall weather. The glove box should have come with some Prozac because the cabin was darker than an underground tunnel on the moon’s far side.

Foundational Changes

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For the most part the 2015 CR-V is pretty similar to today’s model, especially from a design standpoint. Fortunately engineers put a little more effort into this vehicle than their colleagues did. It’s actually received a number of worthwhile mechanical updates.

The vehicle’s overall architecture has been enhanced. Its so-called ACE body structure – Honda shorthand for Advanced Compatibility Engineering – is designed to provide maximum protection in crashes. Accordingly it’s more rigid than before. Engineers anticipate the vehicle will earn Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for highway Safety, their best rating.

The 2015 CR-V can also boast of having a new front sub-frame and redesigned engine mounts, changes that help improve both its driving dynamics and refinement. The steering ratio has been quickened as well.

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Like its competition, the capital H is pushing advanced driver-assistance technology. Their Honda Sensing suite of features includes things like collision-mitigation braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control and much more.

One of the coolest features is called LaneWatch. Basically it puts a small wide-angle camera underneath the passenger-side exterior mirror. When the driver uses the right turn signal to change lanes or make a maneuver the camera displays a video feed on the car’s navigation screen. This addition makes it super easy to see if anyone is in your blind spot. You can also turn it on manually via a button on the end of the signal stalk.

Earth Dreams

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But more importantly than all of these changes are what engineers put ahead of the vehicle’s firewall. The new CR-V gains Honda’s 2.4-liter Earth Dreams four-cylinder engine. Thanks to direct fuel injection and other advanced features it pumps out 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, 11 percent more twist than its identically sized predecessor (to save you from doing unnecessary math it used to make 163 lb-ft).

This smooth-running engine is matched to a continuously variable transmission; Honda’s long-in-the-gear-tooth five-speed automatic has been retired. This new powertrain combination delivers impressive fuel economy. Front-wheel-drive models should return 27 MPG in urban motoring, 34 on the highway and 29 combined.

All-wheel drive CR-Vs are ever-so-slightly less thrifty. They rate at 28 MPG combined. Interestingly between 60 and 65 percent of all CR-Vs are sold with this traction-enhancing addition.

Dynamic Drive

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All the improvements Honda has made both major and minor, enhance this vehicle’s on-road performance. In normal driving the new CR-V never seems to get flustered and thanks to its sturdy structure it feels more rigid than Lincoln’s cheekbones on Mount Rushmore.

The ride is nicely damped with a firm overall feel though it’s not harsh. Body control is impressive yet the suspenders can still absorb large impacts without disturbing occupants. Small imperfections and surface grain are also attenuated quite nicely.

The 2015 CR-V steers well; there’s nothing to complain about here. The tiller provides decent feedback and a sturdy feel with no unwanted vibration or kickback, even while traversing devastated pavement. Additionally braking performance has supposedly been improved by six percent, although the outgoing model was hardly weak in the stopping department.

Acceleration is as you would expect from a modern four-banger; it’s totally fine, though the CR-V is hardly fast. Luckily even when it’s singing at redline the company’s Earth Dreams engine is smooth, quiet and nicely isolated. Surprisingly, its CVT partner works well, too. Honda’s version of this transmission is one of the best on the market today.

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The Verdict

After evaluating the 2015 CR-V for a few hours we came away quite impressed with this vehicle. It may not look all that exciting but it’s more practical than flat-packed Ikea furniture.

It offers a high-quality and very spacious interior, it drives well and should have enough advanced electronics to keep most technology enthusiasts sated. It’s fuel efficient, quiet and even attractively priced. An entry-level LX model can be driven off a dealer’s lot for just $24,150 including $830 in destination and delivery charges. A range-topping Touring-trim CR-V can be yours for as little as $32,350, again including delivery fees.

There’s absolutely no compelling reason NOT to buy a new CR-V, which is probably why Honda’s sold some 2.3 million of them over the past 10 years. The 2015 model promises to continue this decade-long winning streak.

  • mike

    I didn’t buy the CRV last year because the push button start was not an option. So I got the rav4 instead. If I could do it all over again I would buy the CRV now. Good job Honda for adding this option.

  • Phil

    I think it looks great!

  • Elbio

    This review had more unnecessary reference jokes “than a 1 hour episode of Family Guy”

  • Soyntgo4it

    Still a plain jane nothing to see here

  • jm

    I have push button start on my 1941 Cadillac. that’s been around a long time. will probably buy a crv

  • Jon

    Honda was a little late to the party. If I was buying a car last year it would have been a tough choice between the CR-V and a couple of others. But now I’d definitely take this 2015 model.

  • Jon

    Lol

  • Jon

    Why no photos of the car you tested with the black interior? The gray interior in the car pictured looks nice. I don’t think a gloomy black interior is unique to the CR-V. Most cars fitted with an all black interior will have this feel, but I also think black leather tends to look more upscale than other colors.

  • craigcole

    Thank you?

  • craigcole

    So does my ’36 Ford V8, though the button’s mounted on the floor between the clutch and brake pedals.

  • Lucky

    Do we have any date then when 2015 model will be available at dealers?

  • Karen

    They have slowly started rolling in in MN. I drove the EX-L and have an EX reserved for their first ‘full shipment’ which arrives late this week/early next.

  • CanadaCarGuy

    Nice review. The references weren’t unnecessary, they added to it. keep it up bro. Had lots of the right info.

  • Rootman

    This bugger is about as exciting as white bread toast with a glass of milk. Basic transportion, period. No fun, nothing, just a vehicle to get you here to there. It’s a king alright. The “King of Boring”….. Be serious you guys….

  • skimonkey68

    Seriously, what’s exciting for 25k! Get real…..

  • Nimrod Llenes

    I just bought a 2014 CRV last january, SERIOUSLY HONDA?

  • Dave Foley

    As soon as I read the headline on the FB link, I knew it had to be one of Craig’s articles.

    “We went for a spin in the 2015 Honda CR-V, now equipped with a CVT and were attacked by an army of slow-moving punkins”

    Haha!! Awesome!

    Honestly I was hoping to see a video with this article. Maybe showing some stop motion pumpkins sneaking up on the CRV, all the while turning into scary scary jackolanterns!!! But that would be just TOO much silliness, right? ……. or would it? Haha!!

  • Noah

    As per the article, ” Honda has released its 2015 CR-V compact crossover with practically no extravagant hoopla. In fact *the vehicle just went on sale* and we only drove it late last week.”

  • dcon9999

    They should take the redesigned headlight design and replace all 2012-2014 headlights in a MAJOR RECALL! The headlights in the 2012-2014 are just plain dangerous.

  • jbw9999

    Can anyone tell me what the purpose of the ugly unpainted black plastic all around the bottom is? Is it to prevent rock chips on the paint (in the back??)? I would rather touch up paint than have that ugly unpainted plastic that cheapens the look, and that’s going to oxidize and turn light grey in 10 years. Look at the older Xterras on the road now to see this. The CR-V now has as much of this plastic as the RAV4. At least the Rogue has much less of it. Other than that and the goofy Kia-like wheels on the one pictured here, I think the CR-V looks very nice.

    BTW, if I were writing a professional article like this, I would refrain from using a purely slang word like “rims”. A rim is not a wheel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rim_%28wheel%29

  • windel Vernon

    With the current upgraded design, materials and conveniences, it’s leap-frogged the competition.

  • windel Vernon

    You are right. But us ordinary working class folk get all excited when we spend 25-35k. Would be nice if I could get a Posche Macan for that price though.

  • Robertson Glassford

    The compelling reason not to buy is the soul-draining snooze-ville factor of the vehicle (and the rubber-band tranny) …. but thank God they have some color choices for the interior now, other than the legendary Honda blacker-than-black.

  • Ed

    Nope. The engine is older than the hills and keeps the car far behind the rest of the pack. Another in a long, long line of disappointments from a company that could blow everyone out of the water.

  • actually the earth dreams engine is very new. It now has offset cylinders for reduced friction on pistons. however, this makes the engine more unbalanced and causes a tiny vibration.

  • Pramod Kumar

    Vibration issue of
    Honda CRV LX AWD 2015:

    ====================================================================

    I have brought a Brand New Honda 2015 CRV AWD LX Model from one of the Honda dealer in
    NJ.From the day one, i noticed some vibration on the front seats of the car
    when i am at the STOP sign/signal with car is in the drive mode (D) with my
    foot on the brake paddle. The vibration is random and not always but can be
    feel at the back of your body and it is
    very strong sometime that as a driver you get distracted and feel very
    uncomfortable while driving. If you have to are stuck in some traffic jam and
    have to stop longer then the vibration on both the front seat is quite noticing
    and causes irritation on the back and you cannot sit for long in while the
    seats vibrating.

    When I reported the incident to Honda Car Dealer……

    ==========================================================

    As soon as I notice the issue with my car then I quick to
    reported to the sales person who sold me this car. Initially I thought that the
    problem could be with my car only so I went to the dealer and able to duplicate
    the problem and showed it to their technician on 24th NOv 14.The technician
    took the vehicle for test drive and called me after an hour to share his
    conclusion.

    Dealer took another brand new 2015 honda CRV LX AWD, stood
    in front of my car and showed me that this vehical also have the similar issue
    like yours.I was quite surprised to see the same vibration in another vehicle.

    Based on the test drive and comparating my car with other
    New 2015 Models , the dealer concluded that this problem is there in all new
    honda crv 2015.They told me they are helpless and cannot do anything and asked
    me to contact American Honda as this is coming with all similar models .He gave
    me service sheet and mentioned everything on it. He was not sure but said it
    could be software issue . He indicated that the TECHOMETER that shows the RPM
    value is from where the problem is occurring.

    When the issue occurs in the car due to stop state the RPM
    on the technometer has less value as compare to when the issue does not occur. The RPM value on the tachometer is “0.6” when the
    vibration DOES OCCUR and the RPM value
    on the technometer is “0.9” when the
    issue DOES NOT occur. This variation could be due to direct
    injection technology.

    The dealer indicated to me that this could be due to the new
    CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) Transmission engine in new CRV’s of
    Honda.

    When I reported to the Manufacturer American Honda…..

    ========================================================

    I called American Honda(not one time but several times),
    they gave me the case number and told me to go to the dealer to fix the issue. I told them that i went to the
    dealer and they find the issue in the vehicle. I got a call from some Mr
    Mohammad(case manager) who represented himself as RM for NJ area.Without
    doing anything he closed my case#N012014-11-1902878, i called again and asked
    them to open the case.

    Mr Mohammed called me again and told me that this is one of
    the characteristic of HOnda CRV(vibration issue) , i mean he told vibration is
    a designed functionally and i have to live with this like all other users are
    living.

    I told him that my driving get distracted and i feel a sense
    of discomfort. He said he cannot help .

    I asked him to escalate but he said, we don’t have any
    escalation level and i am the only one with whom you can talk.

    I said to provide the email or phone of management so as to
    talk to them but he did not provide me the information and CLOSED my case without my consensus and said
    we are helpless.

    i called again to reopen the case , same Mr Mohammed called
    me again and without listening to me he closed the case again and washed off
    his hand from the issue.

    Unfortunately the manufacturer is not ready to listen to my
    problem and i am very sad and frustrated the way my case was handled by American honda.I have never
    expected such type of attitude of American Honda where they want to push the
    matter under the carpet , in spite of appreciating the positive feedback from
    its customer.

    When I reported to the Honda
    Headoffice in Tokyo:

    I wrote a letter and reported to their headoffice in Tokyo but
    they turned blind eye and did not help me .

  • Tom

    @ Pramod, Join the discussion at CRV owner web site: http://www.crvownersclub.com/…problems-issues

    There is big Vibration issue with Honda 2015. All the model types have the issue. This is big issue and new owners are complaining about it. Do google search ‘Honda CRV 2015 vibration issue’

  • jman

    Vibration

  • joeaverage21

    Have been pretty happy with our 1999 CR-V EX AWD 5MT. Would consider a new one but I don’t want a CVT or automatic. I would much, much rather have a 6MT. This is important enough to me that I’ll go to another brand to get it.

    Note that the rest of the world gets manual transmissions and even turbo diesels. I’d like to have the TDI option as well but know I’ll never get that here in a Honda.

    I like the new CR-V and my better half is excited by the new HR-V which is very much like our old CR-V which we are still driving daily as it nears 288K miles (on the original clutch).

  • Elbio

    Definitely not a compliment. I appreciate the review and I’m usually ALWAYS down for some humor, but when you’re watching a TON of car review videos, someone trying to work on their stand-up material is just frustrating.

  • Chaim Halberstam

    OMG! how can I test it when It’s being built just for me and won’t be eactly the same as any test vehicle, Once @dealership I’ve got to take it…

  • Ken Blackier

    stay away from the 2015 CRV they are junk had one for 4 months 5,000km nothing but trouble with transmission and trying to get it fixed with the bad service at the Honda dealer I traded it in and had the dodge dealer phone me a week later asking me if I had trouble with it and all I could tell them is Honda said it was ok and they could not find a problem with it so save yourself some grief and stay away from the CRV