2014 Honda CR-V Review and Prices
The 2014 Honda CR-V is the best SUV for you if your compact-crossover priorities are roominess and reliability, not hot looks or exciting performance.
The 2014 Honda CR-V isn’t expected to receive substantive alterations as it heads into the third year of this design generation. It’ll remain a five-passenger, four-door wagon with a four-cylinder engine and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive. Intact will be virtues of spacious comfort and solid quality. Unless Honda surprises with a powertrain upgrade, friendly handling and admirable fuel economy will continue to define its performance.
Should you wait for the 2014 Honda CR-V or buy a 2013 Honda CR-V? Honda’s mum about any powertrain changes, so if you like today’s CR-V and need a more-than-competent compact crossover, buy a 2013. The next notable changes will probably come with a model-year 2015 freshening that’ll include revised styling and possibly a powertrain upgrade. So waiting for the 2014 CR-V is apt to net you a sort of lame duck that’ll cost more than a 2013 CR-V.
2014 Honda CR-V Changes back to top
Styling: The 2014 Honda CR-V’s styling won’t change beyond perhaps a new color choice or two. This will remain a well proportioned wagon whose main styling distinction is taillamps that climb the rear roof pillars (also seen on the Volvo XC60 premium compact crossover). In the CR-V’s mainstream-compact SUV class, the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, and Kia Sportage are among entries with more visual panache.
The CR-V is among the class leaders for interior packaging. It boasts generous front- and rear-seat room, solid cabin materials, and good cargo volume. The dashboard is well-organized, with upper and lower display screens and a transmission shift lever located just right of the steering wheel, freeing space between the seats for storage.
Expect the 2014 CR-V model lineup to reprise three trim levels: base LX, step-up EX, and top-line EX-L (“L” for leather upholstery).
EX and EX-L models will probably again be identified by body-colored instead of black exterior trim, dark-tint rear glass, and fog lamps. The LX will likely return with 16-inch styled steel wheels, the EX and EX-L with fancier 17-inch alloys.
Mechanical: The 2014 Honda CR-V’s mechanical specifications probably will stand pat. It’ll continue as a crossover based on the architecture of the Honda Civic compact car, engineering that’s also shared with the RDX crossover from Honda’s premium Acura division.
Little chance that Honda will tamper with the CR-V’s sole engine, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that should repeat at 185 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. That output would keep the CR-V among the leaders in its competitive set for horsepower but below average for torque. (Consider torque the force that gets you moving, horsepower the energy that keeps you moving).
And most top 2014 rivals will have an automatic transmission with at least six speeds; the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will have a nine-speed automatic. The 2014 CR-V almost certainly will return with a five-speed automatic as its sole transmission.
The more gears, the better opportunity to maximize performance and fuel economy. In fairness, though, the CR-V should continue to deliver adequate acceleration and fine fuel economy without the potential expense of a transmission with more than five gears. And overall road manners should remain a high point, with confident control in turns and good ride comfort.
Like virtually every rival, the 2014 CR-V will offer a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). It’ll also be typical by being incompatible with hard-core off-roading. Some compact crossovers attain some off-pavement credibility with a switch that enables drivers to lock in a constant front-rear torque split. The 2014 CR-V isn’t likely to gain that feature. But it will benefit from Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System, which quickly apportions power between the front and rear axles to maximize traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
Features: Honda could bring the 2014 CR-V closer to the class leaders by introducing such convenience features as a power liftgate and keyless pushbutton ignition. Various rivals are available with safety adjuncts like blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, too.
Even without these items, the 2014 CR-V will present a features list that ought to satisfy most compact-crossover buyers. And it should again include an available rear DVD entertainment system, a feature few rivals offer.
Among returning 2014 CR-V standard features will be Bluetooth phone and music streaming, a USB iPod interface, and a rearview backup camera. A tilt/telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows, locks, and mirrors will also be included. And all 2014 CR-Vs should also return with rear-seat heater ducts and eight cupholders.
The LX and EX models likely will reprise a 160-watt audio system, the EX-L a 328-watt unit.
And every 2014 CR-V will again feature a Pandora Internet-radio interface and SMS text messaging that can read incoming texts aloud. Honda, however, ought to make the former work through devices other than USB-tethered iPhones and make the latter compatible with devices other than Blackberrys.
Honda isn’t likely to expand availability of the voice-activated navigation system or rear DVD entertainment system beyond EX-L models, where they’ll probably remain extra-cost exclusives.
2014 Honda CR-V Prices back to top
Prices for the 2014 Honda CR-V were not released in time for this review but probably won’t increase drastically over those of the 2013 CR-V. Estimated base-price range for the 2014 CR-V is $23,900-$31,400. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2013 CR-V was $830).
Even with little change, CR-V prices are apt to appear steep relative to the base prices of some direct competitors. That’s due in part to Honda’s policy against stand-alone options. The automaker instead equips each of its models with a fixed set of features that expands as you climb the price ladder. In practice, price differences shrink once most rivals are optioned to compete with comparably equipped CR-Vs.
Estimated price for the 2014 Honda CR-V LX is $23,900 with front-wheel drive and $25,100 with AWD.
Estimated price for the 2014 CR-V EX is $26,000 with front-drive and $27,400 with AWD. The EX will again expand on the LX’s features by adding such items as a power moonroof, variable intermittent windshield wipers, front seatback pockets, an antitheft system, illuminated front vanity mirrors, and a retractable cargo cover.
Figure a price of around $28,700 for the 2014 Honda CR-V EX-L with front-wheel-drive and around $30,000 with AWD. It’ll again include everything that comes with the EX model while adding leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats and outside mirrors, a power driver’s seat with power lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, and automatic headlamps.
A 2014 CR-V EX-L with the DVD entertainment system would carry an estimated price of $39,300 with front-drive and $30,600 with AWD. A 2014 EX-L with navigation would likely sticker for around $31,100 with front-drive and $31,400 with AWD.
2014 Honda CR-V Fuel Economy back to top
Honda worked diligently to maximize the CR-V’s fuel economy as part of its last redesign, in model-year 2012. That paid off in a 1-3-mpg improvement and kept the CR-V among the higher-rated crossovers in its competitive set. Further gains aren’t likely without resorting to a different engine or introducing a transmission with more than five speeds – neither of which is likely to occur until at least the 2015 midcycle freshening.
So expect 2014 CR-V fuel-economy ratings to remain 23/31/26 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 22/30/25 mpg with AWD.
The 2014 CR-V will retain an “Econ” dashboard button that adjusts transmission shift points and other powertrain settings for a marginal gain in fuel economy.
2014 Honda CR-V Release Date back to top
Expect the 2014 Honda CR-V in showrooms by autumn 2013.
What's next for the 2014 Honda CR-V back to top
Rivals are rapidly turning to turbocharged four-cylinder engines to increase power without major penalties in fuel economy. There’s little evidence that Honda considers turbo power appropriate to the CR-V’s family-crossover mission.
Adversaries also are adding gas-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and even pure-electric powertrains to crossovers in CR-V’s competitive set. Honda does offer an effective hybrid powertrain in the Civic that would seem compatible with the CR-V, so there’s some chance this crossover does have a gas-electric future.
More immediately, an automatic transmission with six or more speeds would be welcome. One possibility is a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. Honda employs a CVT to good effect in its four-cylinder Accord midsize sedan, which shares the CR-V’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A CVT does the work of a conventional automatic transmission, but with a rheostat-like delivery of power rather than stepped gear ratios.
Honda’s need to justify the Acura RDX’s higher price may would work against the CR-V catching the tech leaders in its own class by offering such gizmos as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure-warning, even automatic parallel-parking.
In sum, look for this fourth-generation CR-V to get a midcycle styling and equipment update around model-year 2015, with a full redesign around model-year 2017.
2014 Honda CR-V Competition back to top
Ford Escape: Far less rear-seat room than the CR-V, a bit less fuel economy, and styling that’s more flamboyant -- inside and out. But Escape is a compact-crossover benchmark for handling thanks to its European engineering roots. Look for the 2014 Escape to again feature three four-cylinder engines, two with Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharging technology.
Toyota Rav-4: Redesigned for 2013, the 2014 RAV4 should return as CR-V’s top import-brand rival. It’s a match for passenger and cargo space and for fuel economy. But the CR-V rides and handles better.
Nissan Rogue: Nissan is preparing an all-new version of its best-selling SUV for model-year 2014. Show-car-inspired styling could be on tap but Rogue’s primary focus will remain family-oriented, affordable-crossover duty. It’ll retain a roomy cabin and four-cylinder power, possibly with stop-start as a fuel-saving measure. A continuously variable transmission is certain to return.