Test Drive Notes Library
- It’s a CR-V. It’s hard to criticize the CR-V, except perhaps for the fact that it’s ubiquitous. For good reason. The most popular type of vehicle at the moment is the compact or mid sized crossover — something that looks like an SUV, but behaves like a car. And now the CR-V is not only among the most practical and reliable of its breed, but it’s larger, rides better, and is more fuel efficient. There may not be a better all-around compact crossover than the CR-V.
- Size. The newly redesigned CR-V has grown a little bit in width and length, but is still a highly maneuverable, reasonably sized vehicle. The extra width is modest but noticeable. Sitting in the driver’s or passenger’s seat, the new CR-V feels less confining on the sides. There’s good room for passengers in the back seats — whose seat backs still adjust forward and back — and good cargo room for the dog(s). The CR-V makes an excellent family car.
- Easy to drive. Like most Hondas, the CR-V seems to reduce the effort of driving. Everything is easy. It’s maneuverable. The steering is light, the handling is predictable and precise enough for all day to day purposes, front visibility is good. Some people criticize Hondas as appliances. But they’re damn good appliances.
- Ride. The most noticeable improvement, to us, is the ride quality. It’s damn near luxury car quality. On the highway, the new CR-V soaks up bumps and keeps the cabin calm and quiet. Improved noise reduction helps add some serenity, too. It’s not a luxury car — you can hear the 1.5 liter engine ticking — but the ride is supple and very comfortable.
- Interior. On our top trim Touring model, the interior has moved up a notch. There’s less plastic, and more soft surfaces. You see it on the dashboard and the insides of the doors. There’s a clean design, and a more upscale quality to the high end CR-V. We don’t know how well this is carried down to the middle and lower trim CR-Vs. Honda also stays competitive in the nooks, crannies, and storage bin wars.
- Volume knob. Hallelujah! After several years of forcing us to not buy Hondas because of their stupid, infuriating capacitive touch control for audio volume, Honda has finally bowed to the large-scale street protests and given the plebeians an actual volume knob. We tested it, and it works. You are now free to buy Hondas again. At least the ones so equipped. I guess a tuning knob would be too much to ask, so let’s be grateful.
- Smaller, turbo engine. Our CR-V came with the optional, 1.5L turbo-charged engine, down from a 2.4 liter in the outgoing model. In addition to being lighter, the new engine is more powerful. Turbo lag didn’t seem to be a problem. There’s plenty of pep for day to day driving. And the EPA says overall mileage is an impressive 29 mpg. We got a distinctly less impressive 22 in mostly stop and go driving.
- Safety. For $34,600, the Touring model comes with all of the modern safety features every new car buyer should have: Blind spot monitoring, pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. There are cars that cost much more that don’t have all that. Good for Honda.
Test Drive Notes Library
- The 7-inch touchscreen is less than intuitive. Despite permanent touch icons for frequently used menus (home, map, phone, audio), we found the Honda system took our eyes off the road a lot. It was also slow to respond. The engine has sufficient horsepower, but the infotainment system could use a little more. We also got into a fight with the touchscreen when it used Apple Car Play with a phone, but then refused to let us choose to listen to the radio. Maybe that’s the Car Talk blocker in action, which we can all get behind.
- A select few may complain about the engine noise. It’s not loud, and it’s very Honda-esque, but it’s there all the time. Road noise is pretty well muffled, but the engine noise comes right through. Those who really want to be isolated from everything will have to pay more for their compact crossover, I guess.
- Like most modern vehicles, visibility out back is not great. And visibility to the rear three quarter view is simply awful, with the CR-V’s huge D pillar. Fortunately, the rear view camera makes backing up possible without plowing into your garbage cans, and the available blind spot monitoring allows you to change lanes despite the large blind spot.
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