2015 Honda CR-V Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2015 Honda CR-V is the best compact crossover for you if you value function over flash.
The 2015 CR-V probably represents the final model year for this SUV before
Honda begins to update its styling – and possibly its powertrain. Neither change would threaten this five-passenger four-door wagon’s virtuous appeal as a spacious, solid, sensible crossover value.
Should you wait for the 2015 Honda CR-V or buy a 2014 Honda CR-V? If you need a family-friendly, budget-coddling compact crossover right now, don’t hesitate: buy a 2014 CR-V. We’re wagering Honda will wait until model-year 2016 to facelift the CR-V. And it may wait until the next full redesign -- likely for model-year 2017 – to make substantive powertrain changes. So the 2015 CR-V wouldn’t be significantly different from the 2014, though its appearance details could have a shorter shelf life. And it’s almost certain to cost more.
2015 Honda CR-V Changes back to top
Styling: The 2015 Honda CR-V’s appearance is unlikely to change beyond perhaps a new color choice or two. It’ll remain a nicely proportioned but rather conservative-looking wagon, especially against flashier rivals such as the Ford Escape and the new-for-2014 Jeep Cherokee, not to mention prettier competitors like the Mazda CX-5.
But the 2015 CR-V will again be an exemplar of interior packaging. Roomy comfort on supportive seats front and rear will be a selling point. So will vacation-worthy cargo volume. To that, add a well-laid-out dashboard and solid cabin materials and workmanship.
Finish it off with thoughtful details like a transmission shift lever elevated to liberate space between the seats for storage, and you’ve got a crossover that justifies the “utility” in “SUV.”
Expect the 2015 CR-V lineup to repeat three model levels: base LX, better-equipped EX, and top-line EX-L (“L” for leather upholstery).
Body-colored instead of black exterior trim, dark-tint rear glass, and fog lamps likely will continue to distinguish the EX and EX-L models The 2015 LX probably will return with 16-inch styled steel wheels, the EX and EX-L with fancier 17-inch alloys.
Mechanical: The 2015 Honda CR-V’s powertrain likely will stand pat even with an upgrade in the wings as Honda’s “Earth Dreams” engine series spreads throughout the automaker’s model lines.
New to Honda but with technology already employed by a host of competitors, the Earth Dreams engines promise increases in power and fuel efficiency via advances such as direct fuel injection. Honda introduced the engine family to the U.S. market in the redesigned 2013 Accord midsize sedan and will continue the rollout as part of revamps to the Civic compact and Fit subcompact cars.
An Earth Dreams powertrain will be a highlight of the automaker’s all-new subcompact crossover. Due during calendar 2014 and previewed as the “Urban SUV Concept,” the new entry will slot below the CR-V, creating a three-size Honda crossover lineup, with the seven-seat Pilot at the top.
We’re betting the CR-V won’t go Earth Dreams until its next full redesign, which is likely for model-year 2017. Until then, it should stick with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder as its sole engine.
With a dual-overhead-cam design, this engine is already more up to date than those in the Civic and Fit. And its 185 horsepower is among the highest in its competitive set. It’s below average for torque, though, at 163 pound-feet of torque. (Consider torque the force that gets you moving, horsepower the energy that keeps you moving).
Also off the pace competitively is CR-V’s reliance on a five-speed automatic as its only transmission. Most top rivals have an automatic with at least six speeds; the Jeep Cherokee has a nine-speed automatic. In transmissions, the greater the number of gears the greater the opportunity for efficient acceleration and fuel economy.
Honda could well introduce a six-speed automatic to the CR-V before the full redesign, perhaps as part of a model-year 2016 midcycle update. Just as likely, it’ll pair an Earth Dreams engine with a continuously variable (automatic) transmission for CR-V’s model-year 2017 redesign.
Despite these apparent deficiencies on paper, expect the 2015 CR-V to continue to deliver enough acceleration to satisfy a core audience that prioritizes reliability and gas mileage. CR-V drivers of any persuasion will continue well-served by a balance of confident road manners and controlled ride hard to beat in this class.
In step with the compact-crossover norm, the 2015 CR-V will offer a choice of front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive (AWD) system that automatically shuffles power to the rear wheels to sustain traction in snow or on gravel.
An aversion for serious off-roading also will be typical; the 2015 CR-V isn’t apt, for example, to gain a button that enables drivers to lock in a front-rear torque split or to acquire other trail-worthy tricks.
AWD versions of the 2015 CR-V will, however, continue benefitting from Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System. This system is quick to apportion power between the front and rear axles to maximize grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
Features: The 2015 CR-V probably will continue to trail only the Ford Escape in the compact-crossover sales race. That level of sustained popularity suggests CR-v buyers are satisfied not only with its design and performance, but with its selection of features.
The 2015 CR-V could be brought closer to the class pacesetters if it gained such conveniences as automatic self parking. More likely, Honda would consider the introduction of less esoteric but more useful features. These could include a power liftgate, keyless pushbutton ignition, and safety adjuncts like blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert.
We’d lobby for any of them, at the same time recognizing that the 2015 CR-V should continue with features perfectly appropriate to its audience – even making available a factory-installed rear DVD entertainment system, a rare feature in this class.
Bluetooth phone and music streaming, a USB iPod interface, and a rearview backup camera will return as standard on every 2015 CR-V. So will cruise control, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver’s seat, remote keyless entry, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. All 2015 CR-Vs should also repeat with eight cupholders and rear-seat heater ducts.
On the connectivity front, a Pandora Internet-radio interface and SMS text messaging that can read incoming texts aloud will return. We hope that by model-year 2015, though, Honda has configured the Internet radio interface to work through devices other than USB-tethered iPhones and that it has made the SMS feature compatible with devices other than Blackberrys.
Also on our wish list: expand availability of the voice-activated navigation system or rear DVD entertainment system beyond just the EX-L models.
2015 Honda CR-V Prices back to top
Prices for the 2015 Honda CR-V were not released in time for this review but we’d expect a manufacturer’s suggested retail-price range of roughly $24,500-$32,000. (Estimated prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Honda’s fee for the CR-V was running around $830).
If 2015 CR-V prices appear steep relative to the base prices of some direct competitors, that’s due in some measure to Honda’s policy against stand-alone options. The automaker quips each of its models with a fixed set of features that expands as you ascend the price ladder. In practice, price differences shrink once most rivals are optioned to compete with comparably equipped CR-Vs.
Estimated price for the 2015 Honda CR-V LX is $24,500 with front-wheel drive and $25,700 with AWD.
Figure the 2015 CR-V EX at $26,600 with front-drive and $27,900 with AWD. The EX is likely to again expand on the LX with such standard features as a power moonroof, variable intermittent windshield wipers, an antitheft system, illuminated front vanity mirrors, front seatback pockets, and a retractable cargo cover.
Expect a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of around $29,300 for the 2015 Honda CR-V EX-L with front-wheel-drive and around $30,500 with AWD.
The EX-L would again include everything on the EX, plus 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 are likely to round-out the 2015 EX-L’s perks.
If Honda continues to keep the most glamorous extras for the top-line CR-V, expect a 2015 EX-L with the DVD entertainment system to retail for an estimated $30,000 with front-drive and $31,200 with AWD. A 2015 EX-L with navigation would likely sticker for around $30,700 with front-drive and $32,200 with AWD.
2015 Honda CR-V Release Date back to top
Expect the 2015 Honda CR-V in showrooms by autumn 2014.
What's next for the 2015 Honda CR-V back to top
We expect CR-V’s model-year 2016 midcycle freshening to alter no more than the appearance of the nose and tail, with perhaps slight tweaks to cabin materials and trim.
For a preview of wholesale changes to the next-generation CR-V’s styling, look at the sleek and curvaceous Fit-based Urban SUV Concept. Scale it up from subcompact dimensions to compact-class size, and you’ll likely have the 2017 CR-V.
As for future CR-V powertrains, an Earth Dreams engine coupled to a CVT is a good bet. A CVT does the work of a conventional automatic transmission, but with a rheostat-like delivery of power rather than stepped gear ratios. Also a lock is an AWD system that maintains the CR-V as a “soft-roader.”
Beyond that, Honda could well join the class front runners by offering a future CR-V with a turbocharged four-cylinder to increase power without major penalties in fuel economy. It also could tap the gas-electric hybrid powertrain in the Civic Hybrid to create a CR-V hybrid.
Overall, though, Honda would need to keep a lid on truly upscale features or high-powered engines. They wouldn’t fit CR-V’s middle-market profile. And the automaker needs to protect the premium-bracket status of the Acura RDX, the compact crossover sold by its upscale brand.
2015 Honda CR-V Competition back to top
Ford Escape: A more flamboyant crossover than the CR-V, and one with European-grade road manners, too. But it falls short of the Honda for all-purpose family duty. Blame cramped rear seating and prices that climb rapidly as you indulge in the high-tech options.
Toyota RAV-4: No. 3 in the compact-crossover sales derby behind the Escape and CR-V, RAV-4 was redesigned for model-year 2013 with livelier styling and new features. It matches the Honda for passenger room, cargo space, and fuel economy. But the CR-V rides and handles better.
Nissan Rogue: Hoping to emerge as more than an also-ran for looks and performance, Rogue was fully redesigned for model-year 2014. Wilder styling, however, isn’t likely to amend its primary role as an affordable crossover attempting to bridge the gap between the young-singles and young-family markets.