Honda's fifth-generation CR-V is was completely redesigned for 2017 and it continues to be a top competitor in the compact SUV landscape. Outside, the CR-V benefits from styling that Honda describes as bold and sophisticated, with an aggressive, "windswept" front end and sculpted sides. Inside, the cabin yields more space than previous iterations, with 106 cubic feet of total passenger cabin volume, including 39.2 feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 75.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. Underpinning it all is a chassis that allows the CR-V to be agile in its handling capabilities while still offering a cushy ride, thanks to a suspension system comprised of MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link setup in the rear.
Honda's proven 2.4L 4-cylinder powers the base LX model, providing 185 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, while returning an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, in front-wheel-drive models. Meanwhile, the CR-V EX, EX-L and Touring trims are powered by a 1.5L turbocharged four. This unit produces 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet and is EPA-rated at 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway on front-wheel-drive models. These figures for both engine options are only reduced by 1 mpg in the all-wheel-drive models. Both engines are mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Like much of Honda's lineup, the CR-V is offered in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. LX models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels and feature LED daytime running lights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights, as well as a tailgate spoiler. Standard features include automatic air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, a 160-watt, 4-speaker audio system with Pandora compatibility, active noise control and premium cloth seating, with a one-motion 60/40 split "dive-down" rear seat.
In addition to the 1.5L turbo, EX trims add 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry with push-button start, automatic headlights with auto high beam and integrated turn signals in the mirrors. Inside, you'll find heated front seats with an 8-way powered driver's seat, a 6-speaker audio system with 7-inch color display and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, a power moonroof and dual-zone automatic air conditioning. Standard safety technology on the EX includes blind spot information, a driver attention monitory, rear cross-traffic monitor and Honda SENSOR, a suite of technologies that feature collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning.
The EX-L trim adds luxury amenities like leather-trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob, 4-way power passenger's seat, a power tailgate, auto-dimming mirror, an 8-speaker sound system and SiriusXM satellite radio. Navigation is available on the EX-L.
Finally, the CR-V Touring features exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust, LED headlights, roof rails, automatic wipers, a hands-free power tailgate and a 330-watt premium audio system with nine speakers.
Having debuted just two years ago, the current Honda CR-V rolled into the 2019 model year without any noteworthy updates. Besides a simplified model range and a new shade of white paint (woo-hoo!), Honda's fifth-generation small SUV is the same as it ever was. But it's still really darn good. Even as fresher competition like the 2019 Subaru Forester and 2019 Toyota RAV4 have hit the scene, the slightly holder Honda is still more than up to the task of fighting for top honors in a very competitive space.
For starters, the fifth-generation CR-V's design is still fresh and sharp. Look closely at the exterior and you'll notice numerous character lines sprinkled throughout the bumpers, hood, fenders and door panels. The taillights are molded for a three-dimensional appearance, and there's a healthy assortment of trim finishes including chrome, grey, and black plastic cladding. It sounds like a lot on paper, but the result is a cohesive, attractive appearance. Add in the curvy-spoke, 18-inch wheels, and the CR-V is one of the best-looking CUVs in its class.
Things are also far from drab inside the CR-V; the cabin has an attractive layout and lots of soft-touch surfaces. I'm not quite on board with the wood trim, but that's the only nitpick I have about the surroundings. The seats offer an ideal amount of side support, there's ample space for adult passengers in both rows and there are plenty of areas to stash items of all sizes.
The Good The 2019 Honda CR-V offers attractive looks, an efficient drivetrain, spacious cabin, and excellent ride comfort.
The Bad The Display Audio infotainment system can be laggy when switching between menus and isn’t available with a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Bottom Line Honda’s CR-V remains a can’t-miss option in the small SUV segment.
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