Around the Honda CR-V’s launch back in the ‘90s, only a small handful of competitors existed. Success followed, and so did the competition. Today, the compact crossover scene has grown to offer more variations, options and combinations of characteristics than your favourite fast-food artery-clogger burger. The compact crossover is taking over the world.
What is a 2015 Honda CR-V?
Standing apart and adding more value has become more important than ever in this scene -- which is just why the latest CR-V is the most substantially updated CR-V yet, having undergone what Honda’s calling their most aggressive mid-cycle refresh. Competing with similar products from Ford, GMC, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, and virtually every other mainstream automaker, the 2015 CR-V represents what Honda hopes will be their most compelling compact crossover package to date.
2015 Honda CR-V Prices and Specs
The 2015 Honda CR-V opens the bidding at $25,990 for a front-wheel drive model in LX trim, with an LX AWD model coming in from $28,350. The high-value SE AWD grade tester, including numerous must-have options bundled at an attractive price point, came in a touch under $30,000. Up-level EX, EX-L and Touring models are also available, the latter capping the model range at nearly $36,000.
All models get a new Earth Dreams 4-cylinder direct-injection engine, displacing 2.4L and generating the same 185 horsepower as last year’s machine, though torque rises into the 180 lb-ft range from around 160, for more on-demand response. A new Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) is standard on all units.
Driving the 2015 Honda CR-V
The latest updates have improved the CR-V driving experience in several key areas, while leaving the overall feel and character of the machine largely unchanged. This is a good thing.
First, the improvements: The new engine is overall, smoother, more refined and less noisy, especially with the CVT transmission enabling instant surges of forward momentum at any prod of the throttle instead of a delay, an abrupt downshift, and a lot more revs. With the CVT and increased low- and mid-range torque working in sync, the engine spends more time doing less revs, improving fuel mileage, and refinement. Hammer down, and there’s an uninterrupted forward surge of power, complete with the sound of the VTEC system engaging the engine’s hot-cam at higher revs.
The ride is improved too -- smoothed out in the right areas and seeing the latest CR-V ride with a more solid and creamy robustness on rough surfaces, and feeling a touch more planted in the snow, thanks to a slightly wider track.
What’s remained? Perhaps most importantly, the light and communicative overall feel to the steering and handling, which gives drivers a good sense of the traction situation in real time when driving in the snow. If the CR-V is losing grip, you’ll feel it right away, which is a good thing. There’s no artificially heavy sense of false SUV security here. The stability control system, further, feels expertly tuned at all times, and the ABS system provides fuss-free, drama-free stops, even on challenging split-traction surfaces -- each and every time. If you’ve ever appreciated how your older CR-V felt when the going got slippery, you’ll feel right at home in the new one.
In all, appreciable improvements were made where they were needed most, and the main appeal of the CR-V was left alone.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Honda CR-V
Honda’s left the important interior attributes loved by many families, while making some updates and enhancements. The touch-screen infotainment system is more slick and modern than last year’s unit, which looked like a carry-over from 2004. The new interface is brighter, faster-acting and more logical, even if the tactile hard buttons beside the screen are small and clustered tightly together. The dashboard gets some more detailing, nicer trim and some leather-esque bits with stitching for a more upscale look, too. Minor improvements.
The big news on board remains the same. The interior is surprisingly spacious, provides an up-high driving position and showcases Honda’s clever, space-optimizing design in numerous ways. Key among them are the lack of a rear-seat floor hump in the middle, heaps of at-hand storage, a knee-high cargo area floor that makes loading of gear and pets easy, and about the most clever split-folding rear seating system I’ve ever come across. No issues with entry or exit or with room for four full-grown adults.
And outside, refreshed bumpers and a new front face give the CR-V a more athletic and street-smart look without taking away from its instantly recognizable look.
Comparing the 2015 Honda CR-V
Having to decide on a model from the CR-V’s market segment is a nice problem to have, with automakers throwing ever-increasing levels of features and value into the mix. The CR-V will appeal the most strongly to shoppers after space, resale value, reliability and a proven brand reputation, and it should be cross-shopped against other stand-out offerings in the segment, including the Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Cherokee, and VW Tiguan.