Today marks the on-sale date for Honda’s 2015 CR-V. We haven’t driven it yet, but did attend a coming-out party for one of Honda’s standard bearers at a New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) event last night. Having sold more than 300,000 CR-Vs last year, Honda has high expectations for the new SUV, and while changes for 2015 amount to a mid-cycle refresh, the company hopes some of those changes will result in even bigger sales for 2014.
The most visible changes in the new CR-V appear in the front and rear fascias, both of which now look slightly tougher and more angular. Higher trims also get a new wheel design and new rear-view mirrors with integrated turn signals and Honda’s LaneWatch, which uses a camera underneath the passenger-side outside mirror to display a wide-angle view of what that camera sees when the driver activates the signal to turn right.
Another big change for the 2015 CR-V involves the addition of a new trim: the CR-V Touring. This trim sits at the top of the lineup, and the company hopes it will help the CR-V more effectively compete with luxury SUVs like the Acura MDX, Lexus RX and BMW X5. This trim gets the full suite of Honda Sensing features, including Honda LaneWatch, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane-Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and Forward Collision Warning. The CR-V in attendance at last night’s get-together was a Touring, which definitely looked and felt great.
Some of the most important updates to the 2015 CR-V sit under the hood: The new CR-V features a new 2.4-liter Earth Dreams 4-cylinder engine that also powers the Accord. The new engine has direct injection and balancing shafts that help it run more smoothly, and while it offers the same horsepower as the outgoing engine, it offers more torque and significant mileage improvements. The new engine puts out 185 hp, the same as last year’s engine, and 181 lb-ft of torque, a significant improvement over last year’s 163 lb-ft. Most important, the new engine is rated at 27 mpg city/34 highway in front-wheel-drive trims and 26/33 in all-wheel-drive trims, significant improvements over last year’s 23/31 (FWD) and 22/30 (AWD) ratings.
The new CR-V also gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Honda has used CVTs in recent Civics and Accords, and its system, like most, has inspired mixed reviews. A CVT offers better efficiency than a manual or automatic transmission, but drivers generally don’t enjoy CVTs, partly because they tend to produce droning engine sounds as a result of trying to keep RPMs constant and partly because they insulate the driver from what’s actually going on in the engine bay. The CR-V hasn’t offered a CVT in the past, and we look forward to checking it out ourselves as well as hearing what buyers think of it.
We look forward to sharing a Test Drive Review of the 2015 CR-V as soon as we can, but until then, we welcome your comments. We also look forward to seeing how the new CR-V fares against its arch-rival, the Toyota RAV4, which coincidentally just ended its best September ever, sales-wise.
Will you test-drive the 2015 Honda CR-V? If yes, will you test the new Touring trim?