One of the original crossover SUVs and still one of the best-selling ones today, the Honda CR-V was completely redesigned for the 2017 model year and carries on unchanged for 2018. As in prior generations, the newest Honda CR-V is an incredibly practical vehicle that offers up huge amounts of interior room, excellent fuel economy and a satisfying driving experience.
Powertrain and specs
The entry-level 2018 Honda CR-V uses a 2.4-liter inline-four engine rated for 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque, with a continuously variable transmission. With front-wheel drive it returns fuel-economy ratings of 26 miles per gallon city and 32 mpg highway, while all-wheel-drive versions deliver 25/31 mpg.
While those power ratings and fuel efficiency are not bad for the class, the CR-V's other trim levels have even better stats. The EX, EX-L and Touring use a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-4 engine that puts out a healthy 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet; that peak torque number is delivered at just 2,000 rpm for easy low-end power. Moreover, the 1.5-liter is more economical than the base engine, with front-drive CR-Vs returning 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, and AWD models rated for 27/33 mpg. Those are the best fuel economy figures you'll find in the class, aside from diesel and hybrid models.
Incredibly roomy in both rows of seats, the Honda CR-V also offers class-leading cargo space. In fact, compared to the previous model, this CR-V offers two inches more rear legroom and a 9.8-inch-longer flat load floor in back. Specifically, the cargo area holds 39.2 cubic feet of luggage with the rear seats raised, while lowering the 60/40-split rear seat expands that to an impressive 75.8 cubic feet. There is also underfloor storage available behind the rear seats.
Those looking for the best infotainment technology will want to steer clear of the base LX model. Its five-inch radio display has Bluetooth, a single USB port, Pandora internet radio support -- but few other features. Every other version of the Honda CR-V has a seven-inch touchscreen with two forward and two rear USB ports, satellite radio plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Built-in navigation, powered by Garmin, is also offered as an option on the EX-L and standard on the Touring trims. To ease qualms about prior tough-to-use touch-only models, Honda equips the CR-V with a real physical volume knob.
An impressive suite of active-safety gear, under the Honda Sensing brand name, is standard on EX, EX-L, and Touring models. Its technologies comprise lane-keep assist, pre-collision warning and braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. The base LX trim only has a backup camera, which is now required by law on all new cars; more advanced safety tech cannot be added even as an option on the LX.
Options and pricing
The CR-V's prices are on par with rival compact crossover SUVs, and although they can stretch into the $30,000 range, well-equipped CR-Vs are available for reasonable price points. Front-wheel drive is standard, and adding all-wheel drive on any model costs $1,400 extra.
The base CR-V LX starts at $25,245 with front-wheel drive, including a $995 destination charge, and features as standard automatic climate control, the five-inch radio display, 17-inch wheels and a multifunction trip computer. However, as the LX trim level lacks active-safety technology and doesn't have the aforementioned more efficient turbocharged engine, it's likely worth upgrading to a higher trim if possible.
The CR-V EX, priced from $28,045, adds the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, as well as 18-inch wheel, the seven-inch infotainment system, heated front seats, push-button start, dual-zone climate control and a power driver's seat. In terms of active safety, the EX model is equipped with lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, forward collision warning and braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts and automatic high beams.
The next step up is the $30,545 EX-L, which builds on the EX with a power liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather seats and an eight-speaker audio system. The aptly named EX-L with Navi trim levels add built-in navigation, for an extra $1,000.
The final choice is the Honda CR-V Touring, which starts at $33,745. Compared to the EX-L with Navi, it adds only a handful more luxury touches: A 330-watt, nine-speaker sound system; roof rails; LED headlights and rain-sensing wipers.
The 2018 Honda CR-V is available nationwide now.