Car Talk's Turd of the Week: The 2015 Honda CR-V

Car Talk Car Complaints

Car Talk Car Complaints | May 31, 2016

The Honda CR-V has long been an overachiever in reliability studies, seeming to require repairs only under extreme circumstances - like if a tree falls on one. Largely because of this, most owners report being pleased as punch with their purchases in satisfaction surveys.

But everybody screws up once in a while, and Honda apparently did so with the CR-V’s 2015 redesign.

While the updated CR-V kept the same overall look and proportions, pretty much everything changed underneath. And that included a new “Earth Dreams” engine and the CR-V’s first continuously variable (CVT) transmission, both aimed at improving fuel economy. Fuel mileage did increase by a little, but so did vibrations felt inside. By a lot.

Uncharacteristically grumpy CR-V owners started writing to our friends at as soon as the redesigned SUV started shaking its way into their driveways. Some said the vibrations were bad enough to make them sick.

Honda decided to shake things up with the 2015 CR-V redesign. (See what we did there?) (Honda Media Photo)

“After the engine warms up, the 2015 CR-V has significant vibration when idling,” wrote Med0434 of Medfield, MA. “The engine idle rpm drops to approximately 600 rpm. That's the sweet, or should I say sour spot! Vibration this severe cannot be good for the car. The passenger seat (and my head) dance wildly while stuck in Washington, DC traffic.”

The dealer wasn't much help, Med says.

“The dealer's response to my problem left me vibrating even more! I bought this SUV as a retirement present to myself. This is the biggest financial mistake I've made in a long time and the timing is even worse! SHAME ON YOU HONDA!”

Jkristy of Mt. Angel OR, said that the problem drew attention to her new car, but not in a good way.

“Stopping at lights while driving through town is embarrassing, especially when I have other people in the car with me.” But, she said, there is a bright side. “My son rides in the back seat and says he always gets a back massage.”

Move over Sharper Image! There's a new game in town. (Wikimedia Photo)

Honda issued a 19-page service bulletin in November, which identifies three separate vibrations and fixes for each.They sent us a copy of Service Bulletin number 15-046. It includes a whole grab bag of solutions, ranging from a software update to a new radiator cushion and transmission mounts, a tailgate damper kit, and even replacement front seat head restraints. Still, the automaker insists that the repairs are optional, and that the vibrations pose no threat to safety or reliability. They also warn that the updates may cause reduced fuel mileage.

The good news is, the fix or fixes may have done the trick for some, but not all, owners. Jerry S. of Memphis, TN, brought his in, but said he was “Very disappointed in Honda,” adding, “I would gladly give up a few miles per gallon for a vibration free car.”

“After driving this car for almost a week I can safely say the vibration for mode 1 is not better. I can also say the service advisor ignored my request to fix mode 2 and mode 3 vibration. I am frustrated with the whole thing and want to shed the car. I will contact Honda again and also discuss again with the dealer to try to fix. Don't buy one of these.”

If you’re the owner of a 2015 CR-V with annoying vibrations, ask your dealer about Service Bulletin number 15-046. Let us know how you make out. And if you’ve got another problem with a Honda or any other car, visit and tell us about it.

This one's dedicated to all the 2015 CR-V owners:

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