As I sat in the driver’s seat of the 2015 Honda CR-V, it occurred to me that this is probably the sort of vehicle that pretty much answers the needs of most people. At least those who aren’t looking for a luxury marque, although given that the Touring trim level brings to bear leather trimming or wrapping of seats and steering wheel and shift knob, a seven-inch touchscreen for infotainment purposes, powered moon roof and tailgate, as well as an array of other amenities, were the Honda badge ignored, then even many looking for luxe might be taken.
I mean, there are forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, and land-departure warning on the safety side of things, as well as adaptive cruise control on the convenience side of things.
And there is all-wheel drive ready to kick in whenever the conditions call for it, which pretty much means that it is that little extra level of security that some people (especially those in the states where the winter of 2014-15 was seemingly unending) like to have.
The package is well thought-out (with one exception) and well executed. It provides the higher visibility that many people are looking for and cargo capacity in a compact footprint.
It’s one of those things where you think that it is really all you need.
And it seems that there are plenty of people who agree with that point of view, because it so happens that the CR-V is the best-selling vehicle in the Honda lineup (through April, 102,579 were delivered, compared with 95,896 Accords and 95,102 Civics), and according to Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda Div., it is the best-selling SUV in the U.S., period. (In addition to which, Conrad notes that the CR-V is the Motor Trend 2015 Sport-Utility of the Year.)
The vehicle has a 185-hp engine, which provides enough power to do what vehicles of this type are meant to do (let’s face it: no one is going to take it on a track or even try to beat the guy behind the wheel of a Mustang at a light). It has a continuously variable transmission that helps in the mpg category (stickered at 28 mpg, combined) because even though gas prices are currently below $3-gallon, about a dollar (on national average) lower than they were a year ago, people still would like to spend more on beverages at Starbucks than on fuel at a BP station).
The vehicle was refreshed last fall, so the look is stylish and contemporary.
There is seating for five, and if you’re driving with the rear seat ready for people, then there is 35.2-cu. ft. of cargo behind it. If you skip the possibility of people back there and quickly flip the back of the rear seat forward, then there is 70.9-cu. ft. at your disposal.
The funny thing about the CR-V was that I found my primary problem with the vehicle is a little thing. And it is little both objectively and metaphorically. The “Power” button on the infotainment head unit measures some 10-mm square. It is hard to describe just how small that is. I would find it too small on an audio system on my desk, to say nothing of something that weighs 3,624 lb. And I am still of the tribe that thinks that knobs for purposes of audio adjustments are a good thing, which the designers of that head unit apparently disagree with. (There are controls on the steering wheel that allow the adjustments, but let’s say that your front passenger wants to change the station or crank it up—yes, it can be done with pokes and swipes, but the ergonomics of the knob make just so much more sense.)
Once people talked about getting a “family sedan.” It seems that with vehicles like the CR-V, that’s now the “family crossover.” Yes, there are bigger vehicles than the CR-V (like the three-row Honda Pilot), but given that the size of the average U.S. family is 3.13 people (hard to imagine how that fraction is calculated in the real world), so the CR-V is just right.
Engine: 2.4-liter DOHC I4
Material: Aluminum block and head
Horsepower: 185 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 181 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable
Steering: Electric-assisted rack-and-pinion
Wheelbase: 103.1 in.
Length: 179.4 in.
Width: 71.6 in.
Height: 65.1 in.
Passenger volume: 101.5 cu. ft.
Cargo volume: 35.2 cu. ft. behind second row; 70.9 cu. ft. seat folded
EPA fuel economy: city/highway/combined: 26/33/28 mpg