The 2015 Honda CRV is what Honda calls a major, minor refresh. The car is familiar, and has only changed looks a bit, but pretty much every aspect of this car has been improved significantly. The drivetrain is upgraded to the same one the Accord uses, fuel economy is now spectacular, not just great. This cute ‘ute also now has what I would call a secret autopilot mode that allows for no hands and no feet driving on the highway. The interior and infotainment is all-new, the safety of this vehicle is as good as it gets, and the level of refinement at the new top trim level called Touring has me wondering why I would ever consider spending more for an Acura.
Model: CRV AWD Touring
Model Year: 2015
MSRP: $ 33,600 Including destination and handling
Engine: Earth Dreams 2.4 Liter I-4 185 hp
CVT Transmission, All-Wheel Drive
- Great Ride and driver assist systems
- Fuel Economy
- Infotainment system
- Could use just a wee bit more power when starting off
- Rough Idle
Let’s start with the coolest part of the new 2015 Honda CRV. Using the Lane Keeping Assist System (LCAS), one can let go of the wheel on the highway and the car will not just maintain the lane, but steer itself. It can turn the car, but not on sharp highway curves, but how many of those are there really? The adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) can follow the car in front of you. You can set the following distance.If you are alone on the road keep you going at a set speed like any other cruise control can, but that’s no fun. These systems coupled with the forward collision prevention system will even stop you if need be. Honda is not marketing this system as “autopilot”, but it is obvious this car can drive itself on highways and even some back roads.
Looking along the sides we see that Honda has opted to keep the very practical, but hard on the eyes rear cargo and roof area that seems to bulge out. The look is not optimum, but that extra space matters and the rear cargo area benefits. The automatic tailgate motor is also hidden in that bulge.
Up front the CRV does everything right. All family cars should be designed starting with the front cup-holders. CRV’s are in the exact right spot. Next to theses is the smart phone perch. Since Honda’s CRV can actually use you phone to call for help if you crash, inside the center, right-arm console might be a safer spot. Oh, look. Inside are USB ports (2) power, and even an HDMI connection. Perfect. Front seats are perforated leather on the new top-trim called Touring and heated of course. Those seats are ideal. They keep you in place, but are comfortable too.
The infotainment screen is a touch-screen, with no mouse to hassle with just how I like it. Honda has gone nuts with in the information displays. There is an added one above the main screen that seems redundant and a lot of info is also in the middle of the neat 3-D speedo cluster. The only company I have seen do things this well recently is Jeep. The CRV has full Pandora integration with station change capability, thumbs up and down, and album art. Honda gets it. Many other automakers can’t do this.
The rear seats are very large and comfortable. You will not need to move your driver’s seat up to let a tall adult sit behind you. My 12-year old looked at the rear seats and said “That is a generous middle seat.” He may be the most qualified person in America to make that assessment. One of the things I think exemplifies how Honda does small things right is that the rear headrests fold down when not in use. That makes the rear window usable. So many small crossovers I drive fill up the rear-view with headrests, but not Honda. Smart.
The rear cargo area on this compact recreational vehicle (See how clever Honda is? That spells CRV) is huge for the class. Deep, square, tall, and under the floor is a compact spare tire area which offers a lot of extra space for stowing emergency type stuff. The rear seats fold in a cool trick way. Simply pull the handle that actuates the sequence and the headrests drop, rear passenger seat bottoms fold forward, and then the seatbacks fold down all mechanically. No electronics to go wrong. It really makes the back area huge.
Honda has transplanted the Earth Dreams engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the Accord into this 2015 CRV. The results are excellent. The CVT has a torque converter so starting off is smooth and easy. Either I have become accustomed to CVTs, or this one is just better than the rest. The results of this new drivetrain are 11% more torque and fuel economy now that is top of the class. In my combined suburban driving and highway driving I averaged 29 MPG. The EPA says you can expect about 26 city, 28 combined, and a whopping 33 MPG highway in this rig on regular unleaded. That is for the AWD version. Front drive CRVs get about 1 MPG more across the board. For automatic transmission compact sport ‘utes in this class it is hard to top this combination.
The CRV handles crisply and has a ride that is firm, but not too firm. The sharp-looking 18” wheels and low profile tires are part of why the car seems on the firm side. Base models get 17” tires, and all 2015 CRVs tires are now a half-inch wider.
There is much more to say about the 2015 Honda CRV AWD Touring. One more comment my son made comes to mind. He said “You can tell this is a new CRV because everything seems state of the art.” We own a 2007 Toyota Highlander that is almost identical in size to this CRV and he asked me how much more the CRV cost. I said the CRV is about $33K, so about $4K more than we paid for the Highlander new.” His reply? “It is amazing how far cars have come for just $4k more in that time.” What can I say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.