This is year two for the fifth generation of the CR-V compact crossover, a vehicle that has become almost as ubiquitous and arguably just as important in Canada as the Civic and Accord that established Honda in North America decades ago.
The CR-V is unchanged for 2018, and so carries over with a powertrain built around a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. That power goes through a continuously variable automatic transmission to get to the front wheels in the CR-V’s base trim and through AWD that’s optional there and standard across the rest of the range.
CR-V trims are LX, LX AWD, EX AWD, EX-L AWD and Touring AWD.
Though last year’s redesign maintained the CR-V’s upright profile from years past, the overall effect is more cohesive and lends this crossover more of an upscale appearance. That’s augmented by a high-tech interior whose dash boasts a big central touchscreen and an all-digital gauge display. Notable is the infotainment system’s proper volume knob that last year replaced a touch-sensitive control that was difficult to use when the vehicle was in motion.
Honda’s little turbo brought a big improvement in fuel economy compared to the previous CR-V’s larger engine. But while the new motor is a superstar in the Civic, it feels much more ordinary in the heavier CR-V despite boasting about 15 extra horsepower. The CR-V’s CVT also seems less sophisticated than the Civic’s, but some of that might be down to programming designed to extract as much performance as possible.
Fuel consumption estimates are 8.4/7.0 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD and 8.7/7.2 in AWD trims.
The latest CR-V is a refined vehicle that holds its own against popular competitors like the Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson and Ford Escape. Honda refuses to offer a more potent engine here, despite the fact that the Ford and Subaru’s Forester get the option of bigger turbo four-cylinders that turn those cars into the hot rods of the compact crossover set.
Standard tech items include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, an electric parking brake and multi-angle backup camera.
Honda’s full suite of active safety features (dubbed Honda Sensing) is standard in the LX AWD, meaning you can get forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, radar cruise control and road departure mitigation for less than $30,000.