By Tom Crosby

In the last ten years, Honda has sold 2.3 million CR-V’s and last year again was the most popular compact SUV sold in the U.S. Three years ago Honda launched an all new CR-V, and this year has added numerous improvements that include a new engine, better gas mileage, handling and ride, plus more safety features and redesigned exterior styling.

It is unlikely to be unseated from the top rung this year and has set a future benchmark for its numerous competitors. Trims begin with the base LX, then EX, EX-L and top-of-the line all-wheel-drive Touring, our test drive. (All offer 2- or 4-wheel drive.)

While the EX is the best seller, Touring takes safety to a new level, with standard features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation braking, lane keeping assist and Honda’s unique LaneWatch, which displays on the 7-inch dashboard touch screen what is on the passenger side of the vehicle when making a right turn or switching lanes to the right.

The 2015 CR-V has earned top or near top safety and crash ratings, US NEWS magazine named it the number one most affordable compact SUV among 24 on the market and Motor Trend magazine has anointed it SUV of the year.

Replacing the oft-criticized five-speed manual transmission, CR-V now uses a smooth shifting continuous variable transmission linked to a new Earth Dreams 2.4-liter engine used in the Honda Accord. It adds 11 percent more torque and averages 3 more miles per gallon. It is usually enough, although more muscle is often desired for quick highway passing.

The ride is cathedral quiet except upon maximum acceleration, especially in Sport drive mode. Retuned front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspensions cushion the car-like ride and handling remains nicely reactive with rack-mounted electric power steering.

Outside, running lights are now LED, the front fascia’s grill swoops upward with less chrome and a power liftgate with a smaller rear window differentiates the rear. Rear seats drop 60-40 easily and cargo space is generous with a spare tire under the low-threshold trunk deck.

Inside, the Touring allows two seat memory positions, good for spouses sharing the vehicle. There is a new, more comfortable configurable console with ample knick-knack spaces, a sliding sun visor, conversation mirror and Display Audio, which allows on-screen manipulation for navigation and HondaLink infotainment. Premium materials, like leather seats give an upscale vibe and techies can access apps and receive on-screen text messages.

LIKES: Mileage, handling, versatility, ride, quiet, value
DISLIKES: Power, no options
BOTTOM LINE: Good in so many areas going to be hard to dethrone


  • Base price w/destination fee $33,600
  • Curb weight 3,624 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 103.1inches
  • Length 179.4 inches
  • Width 71.6 inches
  • Engine 2.4-liter, in-line 4-cylinder, direct injection
  • Horsepower 185 hp @6,400 rpms
  • Torque 181 ft-lbs @ 3,900
  • Transmission Continuous variable transmission w/sport mode
  • EPA Rating 26 city, 33 highway
  • Range 15.3-gallons, regular
  • Performance 0-60 in just under 9 seconds