The popular Honda CR-V, is one of the better among the small SUV class with good fuel economy, roomy interior and standard safety features. The CR-V is small enough to navigate through tight parking lots, yet roomy enough inside to comfortably fit five adults. Rear seat room is particularly generous.
With the 190-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the CR-V got 28 mpg overall in our testing. Most of the time, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) does its job unobtrusively but when merging or climbing, it's a struggle to mask the engine's droning whine. The hybrid version gets 35 mpg but is slower and has more engine noise.
Handling is capable. The CR-V corners with contained body roll and quick steering, though it's not as sporty as the Ford Escape or Mazda CX-5. The ride has a firm edge, more so in the hybrid, but is still compliant.
The CR-V is relatively quiet for the segment and feels substantial. There are some upscale touches as well such as attractive matte wood trim in EX and up models and a four-way lumbar support adjustment.
The infotainment is rather fussy and lags in its responses. Performing common tasks requires multiple, often distracting, steps. Scrolling through fuel economy and trip info proves tedious as well. Note that the hybrid comes with a push-button gear selector that takes some getting used to.
Plentiful cabin storage makes it a very functional vehicle and rear doors that swing out almost 90 degrees help access. Visibility is good in the CR-V, except for at the rear corners. The cargo area is generous and the tailgate is easy to open. A power hatch comes on the EX-L trim. The rear seats fold flat for cargo expansion but we miss the nifty easy folding mechanism from the previous generation.
Advanced safety gear, such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, come standard. Also standard are lane departure warning, and lane keep assistance. Note that blind spot warning is not available on the LX, but standard on other trims.
Overall, the Honda CR-V is a very competitive, highly functional and economically sound choice. All things considered, we think it is worth the extra money to get the EX trim and all the goodies that come along with it.