But in a field that boasted some beautifully styled SUVs, most notably the Volvo XC60 and V90 Cross Country and the aforementioned Alfa, it’s fair to say the Honda’s exterior wasn’t among the leaders when the judges’ discussion turned to design.
Inside, it’s a different story. “This is about the swankiest interior ever seen on the CR-V,” technical director Frank Markus said. Apart from some reflections on the instrument panel and some obviously fake wood, it’s carefully executed, with the high-mounted PRNDL gate, climate and audio controls, and infotainment screen within easy reach even for drivers of modest stature.
Additional controls on the steering wheel are unobtrusive yet intuitive to use. “The overall design is logical and high-tech, and it feels loaded,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said.
More important, the CR-V’s cabin is also supremely functional, with a ton of storage space up front in the doors and center console. The rear doors open wide, ensuring easy entry and exit to a rear seat that offers legroom and headroom aplenty, even for adults. Vents in the center console direct air to rear-seat passengers, and two USB charging ports keep their devices charged.
At the rear, a low load floor and square dimensions help deliver a class-leading 39.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up. And the CR-V is still one of only a handful of SUVs in the segment to offer the ability to lower the 60/40 split rear seat via levers in the load space area. It is a masterpiece of packaging, a true accomplishment in the compact SUV space.
The eye doesn’t lie: The CR-V is bigger than the previous model—longer and taller overall, with a longer wheelbase. But the scales also tell an intriguing truth. Although you get more CR-V, it weighs 113 pounds less, which helps both handling and efficiency.
Two engines are available, both of which drive through a continuously variable transmission. The entry-level CR-V LX is powered by the 184-hp, 180-lb-ft 2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four carried over from the previous generation. New for the EX, EX-L, and Touring CR-V models is a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that develops 190 hp and 179 lb-ft.