Test Drive Notes Library
- Keeps improving. Fundamentally, the CR-V has changed very little over the years. Sure, it’s gotten a little bigger. But most of the changes have simply been continual improvement. In this year’s rendition, it’s yet a bit more comfortable, a little smoother, a little nicer inside, and gets a lot better mileage.
- Mileage. We got between 37 and 38 miles per gallon overall, in mixed driving. That’s impressive, and lines up with the EPA ratings. In the real world, that’s a good 10 mpg better than most people will see in the non-hybrid CR-V. And getting 38 mpg was effortless. There’s also no penalty in terms of harshness or engine start/stop. The operation is seamless. And the range on a single tankful is over 500 miles.
- Easy to live with. The CR-V represents Honda’s approach to vehicles. It’s practical, sensible, reliable, and easy to drive. The CR-V is small enough to maneuver easily in urban parking lots and suburban byways, but it’s big enough inside to satisfy lots of families. Steering is predictable and effortless. There’s nothing harsh or jarring about the way the CR-V drives to distract you from whatever you’re actually interested in — which probably isn’t “cars.” Inside, the CR-V features Honda’s typically well-thought-out storage areas, nooks and crannies. Even things like getting in and out, and opening the rear cargo door are notably easy. The driving position is good, and you sit reasonably high up. Visibility is good for its class, especially front and front-side.
- Interior. The interior of the CR-V has come a long way in the last decade, with our Touring trim model showing off soft surfaces and a modestly upscale look. The screen could be a bit bigger, but otherwise controls are excellent, including the return of the greatly-missed volume knob. Heating and ventilation controls are clear, large, and easy to use. Seats are leather covered and comfortable. Even though they’re of similar size, the CR-V somehow feels a lot more roomy and airy inside than its prime competitor, the Toyota RAV-4. There’s plenty of room front and rear, with the rear seats being especially comfortable and adjustable. Cargo area is great for most people. And for the most part, it’s quiet and isolated in the CR-V (with one exception, below).
- Drives well. The CR-V has a substantial and solid feel on the road. Handling is good and predictable. There’s little body lean. It’s like a well-designed point and shoot camera.
- Value. With the average new car selling price reaching $38,000 these days, the CR-V Hybrid is a well equipped, do-it-all family car which comes loaded for $36,000. That includes the hybrid drivetrain, high end audio, all of the safety equipment you want (only blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert are optional, but are standard on the Touring trim), power leather heated seats, adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging, dual climate controls, and more. Plus Honda’s reputation for reliability and longevity. This is car that’s hard to go wrong with.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Steering. Steering is a bit numb, but this isn’t a car for those who want to go out and experience the pure joy of driving. It’s a family tool, and a well designed one one at that.
- Ride is a little stiff. While mostly comfortable, the CR-V’s ride is a bit firm. If your top priority is cush for the tush, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Infotainment a little finicky. And a little slow. That’s the one interior feature that could probably use an upgrade. We had trouble figuring out how to change from radio to bluetooth audio, and it turns out you have to go into the audio screen first, and then locate a small button that says “source,” which then gives you the choices you want. It seems a little more thought and redesign would make this system as easy to operate as the rest of the car.
- Engine noise at highway speed. While the hybrid drivetrain is quiet around town in normal stop and go driving, when you really step on the gas — or drive at high speed on the highway — the engine does make an audible thrum that comes into the cabin. It was a bit annoying on the highway, where it comes in and out as the highway ascends and descends the landscape.
- What blind spot monitor? Honda is not alone in this, but too many manufacturers go to the trouble of offering a great safety device, and then fall short on “the last mile.” The blind spot monitors do their job, but the indicator — the light that tells you there’s someone in your blind spot — feels insufficient to the task. It’s a dim, small, yellow/orange indicator that lights up in the corner of your side view mirror. You have to look for it to notice it. If you want to see it done right, drive a Volvo or Subaru, where a larger, brighter light comes on next to the mirror, and gets your attention before you even make a move to switch lanes. This seems like it should be an easy fix, especially for Honda, which has taken an increased interest in safety in recent years.
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