2015 Honda CRV at a glance
BODY STYLE: Compact crossover utility (CUV).
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, front-/all-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 2.4-litre 16-valve inline four-cylinder (185 hp, 181 lb/ft).
CARGO CAPACITY: 1,054 litres behind rear seat, 2,007 litres seat folded
TOW RATING: 1,500 lb
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) FWD: 8.6/6.9/7.8L/100 km (city/highway/combined); AWD, 9.1/7.2/8.3L/100 km
PRICE: LX FWD/AWD at $25,990/$28,350; SE, $29,790; EX, $31,790; EX-L, $33,790; Touring, $35,790
2015 Honda CRV injects a new engine
COLLINGWOOD, ON: The arguments still rage over which carmaker invented the sedan-derived crossover utility vehicle or CUV.
But it was Honda with the CRV and Toyota with the RAV-4 that were the first (in my memory) to use the term crossover.
The RAV-4 was actually here first in 1994, but Honda was very swift to launch the CRV as a 1995 model.
So intent was Honda at the time to try and deflect attention from the RAV-4, they brought over some Japanese-spec, right-hand drive models for Canadian journalists to test.
After Civic, CRV is Honda Canada’s most important product so any changes are taken seriously.
For 2015, the goal was of course to make it more efficient but also more functional and add confidence to the owner with the latest passenger/driver safety aids.
Efficiency starts with a new 2.4-litre inline four-cylinder with direct fuel injection, which is part of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology.
Direct injection offers two benefits, more power and better fuel economy.
In this case, the engine has 185 hp, the same as the engine in the 2014 CRV. But torque is 181 lb/ft or 11 per cent more than the 163 lb/ft in the 2014 model.
All models have a CVT transmission and all-wheel-drive (AWD) except for entry level LX with front-wheel-drive (FWD).
The new, 2015 five-cycle fuel economy test sees the FWD return 8.6/6.9/7.8L/100 km (city/highway/combined) and 9.1/7.2/8.3L/100 kmfor the Honda dubbed Real Time AWD models.
That represents an improvement of 1.7/0.8/1.3L/100km and 1.5/0.7/1.1 L/100km, respectively over 2014 models (using the five-cycle method).
Suspension for 2015 remains MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the back. On all but the LE the track is slightly wider, thanks to bigger tires. And there is revised shock tuning for better road feel.
You might wonder why Honda goes with a more expensive multi-link rear suspension instead of the torsion beam and the answer is it opens rear seating and cargo room.
A large rear liftgate leads to one of the largest cargo areas in the segment with 1,054 litres behind the rear seat and 2,007 litres with the seat folded.
A first for 2015 Honda CRV (on all but the base LX) is the inclusion of a seven-inch touchscreen telematics display, which acts like a smartphone letting the user pinch, swipe or tap. Also part of this is the optional next-generation HondaLink satellite navigation system, which is super accurate as I found out earlier this year in the Honda Fit.
For those not interested in the sat-nav system, the CRV still has a full-colour intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) that offers a range of customizable features via fingertip controls on the steering wheel.
A bonus is a standard SMS text messaging function and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink phone interface.
There are six trim levels offered, starting with the LX FWD/AWD at $25,990/$28,350. The SE starts at $29,790 followed by the EX at $31,790, the EX-L at $33,790 and the range topping Touring at $35,790.
New to the lineup for 2015 is the Canadian exclusive SE that comes with the seven-inch Hondalink system, Smart Entry/Push-Button Start, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, front wiper de-icer and LED daytime running lights.
At the top of the ladder is the Touring, which boasts the first Honda application of two advanced driver-assistive technologies – Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) along with the first CRV adoption of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
Previously available in luxury automobiles, this is a great example of how driver/passenger safety aids are trickling down, which is good news for all of us.
On the top four trim models is my new favourite safety feature called LaneWatch.
When you flick on the right-hand turn signal stalk, a camera mounted under the right side mirror shows all the traffic on that side of the car on the centre stack screen.
It not only lets you know how fast traffic on that side is gaining, it makes moving in the right lane or turning a breeze and no more blind side surprises.
I was able to drive the Canada-specific SE which is probably the model which will attract the most buyers through its combination of price and content.
Readers are probably fed up by now with my carping about size versus definition and the CRV is no exception.
Considered a compact CUV it is nothing of the sort. I am sure this 2015 Honda CRV is as big as the mid-size Pilot was only a few years ago.
The driver sits quite high was a commanding view of the road ahead with clear sight lines added immensely by LaneWatch.
The proof the 2015 CRV is larger is found as simply as getting in the back seat which is now more than capable of making three adults comfortable on a cross-country drive.
Honda has kept the CRV current by carefully adding those qualities consumers want in the compact CUV segment.
The 2015 model is bound to continue on that successful road.