It’s amazing how quickly we can adapt to changing conditions. I’m not talking about surviving in the Arctic for a month with only a bathing suit and a banana. No, I’m referring to the fact that morphing from simple couplehood to parenthood already has me looking at cars in a very different light, at least some of them.
My job requires that I drive and evaluate all types of vehicles, and I always do so with the intended purchaser in mind. Given that I’m still around doing it after all these years, I guess I’m doing something right. Although I’ve not changed personally, my life situation is about to be turned on its head and it’s all for real.
Yes, suddenly, a large trunk, wide-opening rear doors, a high roofline, mounds of storage, and easy access to child seat anchors, not to mention safety and all that jazz, have become the most important aspects ― more so than performance and design. All of a sudden, the Honda CR-V is like the best car in the world. Well, it’s not, but it’s freakin’ good at what it does.
I was a huge fan of the 2002-06 CR-V and its boxy box style. In fact, I wanted to buy one back in the day (I ended up with a Volvo station wagon because, well, you know me). The 2007 revamp stole some of its utility, but replaced it with styling, aimed at drawing in a little emotion into the mix. An important upgrade and a few facelifts later ― the latest one completed for the 2015 model year ― and we now have a compact CUV that blends handsome with useful.
The 2016 Honda CR-V’s cabin is like a big, comfy closet: There’s room for everything and all of our junk has cozy spots to be hidden in. The term “user-friendly” best describes its approach at being the family’s preferred mode of transportation.
Despite its “compact” exterior dimensions, the CR-V will comfortably accommodate five adults and a fair amount of gear. The second row will swallow two baby seats with ease, and best of all, the gently sloping roofline and straight-ish rear-door top cut-outs mean that heads won’t be bumped in every kind of manoeuvre.
The front seats in the 2016 Honda CR-V are firm and cozy enough for the long haul, and there’s plenty of legroom and headroom in both rows. The dashboard’s layout is simple with immediate access to climate settings, while the remainder of the infotainment and navigation controls must be edited via the multi-function touchscreen, a standard feature on my tested Touring model.
The centre console is designed to contain drinks, change, phones, wipes, and more. I bet, however, that the next CR-V will get a version of the Civic’s console which is twice as useful.
On the topic of useful, the trunk is impressively large and well set up to take on just about everything such as a large stroller, a few day-bags, and more. Liftover height is low, which makes loading and unloading easy.
A 2.4L 4-cylinder engine has long powered the Honda CR-V. This mill has proven itself worthy and continues to return decent performance along with highly respectable fuel economy. I averaged just over 9L/100km over the course of my test week.
Its 185 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque are more than sufficient to haul four people and gear all over the map, thanks in part to Honda’s Real Time AWD. This system is front-wheel biased, but if you stick to the urban jungle, even when covered with 20 cm of snow, you’ll make it to your destination.
It’s a Honda
What I enjoyed most about the 2016 Honda CR-V’s drive is its overall serenity. The CVT does very good work; in fact, I often forgot I was supposed to be upset with the transmission. As well, the cabin stays quiet even at highway speeds, providing plenty of peace for those aboard.
As the CR-V is a Honda, it’s no surprise that it handles the way it does. The independent suspension levels out uneven road surfaces despite the presence of “sporty” 18” wheels on my tester. Meanwhile, the electric power steering sends you in the direction you want without any fuss, and the brakes are more than capable of handling the task.
A completely loaded 2016 Honda CR-V Touring rings in at $37,090, which lines it up with the Toyota RAV4 Limited, Ford Escape Titanium, and Hyundai Tucson 1.6T Limited AWD. The Touring version is not necessary, but is a nice way to combine utility with luxury. The CR-V SE ($30,290) and EX ($32,290) are both plenty smart alternatives.
It is difficult to fault the Honda CR-V. Actually, I can find nothing wrong with it from a reasonable future-father point of view. Unfortunately, I’m not reasonable…