2015 Honda CR-V Quick Take

By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor on October 9, 2014 8:48 AM

It's no accident the Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales leader for the past decade, with over two million buyers voting with their wallets, and Honda's new 2015 model shows determination to maintain that top spot. The new CR-V has been significantly enhanced in every way that matters: More refined appearance, a host of new convenience and technology features, important safety advancements in crash-avoidance and occupant protection, improved ride and handling, a new powertrain that's superior in response, performance and fuel economy and a new Touring upper trim level. The 2015 CR-V should not only remain the top pick in the segment, it also represents a terrific value.

More than just utility

If the term "utility vehicle" implies something less than pleasant to drive you need to re-adjust your scale; the first time in the new 2015 CR-V will be sufficient. The direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and its continuously-variable transmission (CVT) deliver welcome response, enhanced performance, quiet smoothness and, in the bargain, significantly better fuel economy than last year's model. Suspension refinements give the CR-V a combination of ride quality and handling precision comfortable for the long haul, on roads smooth or rough, and predictable and sure in the corners. Feedback through the steering, the most basic element of handling, is direct and linear. The CVT is silky yet doesn't have the annoying characteristics of many others of the same generic type, which often have a vague, unconnected feel. Rather, Honda's CVT is unnoticeable in its operation and, with its sport mode, will hold a spot in the ratio range, a nice feature for mountainous terrain. Whether your trip is planned for across the town or across the country, the 2015 CR-V will make it a pleasant and comfortable ride.

Also: The Class of 2015 -- New Vehicles Ready to Roll

Freshened inside and out

Freshened styling for 2015 gives the new CR-V a more upscale appearance, and the Touring trim rides on 18-inch wheels and tires. Inside, there's a bigger display for the audio and other systems, a new center console and upgraded trim and textures. Seating is supportive and comfy, with plenty of room for adults both front and back. The rear seats flip-and-fold to "almost flat," allowing plenty of space for most of what you haul from the home-improvement store.

The competition will find it difficult to match the new CR-V in looks, fuel economy, feature content and safety, but where it really stands out is value for the money. Honda added content throughout the range while holding the line on pricing; the value story has gone way up and, surprising as it may seem, the new top-of-the-line and fully-outfitted Touring model is the best value of all. For ten years the buyers have made Honda's CR-V the leader of the segment and there's no reason this new 2015 model won't continue in that spot. 

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