Great for date night, even if your date is a toddler
The SUV is the un-minivan: macho, self-reliant, rugged. And that’s what we like about them. But who doesn’t like creature comforts and smart, functional features, too? Especially when your car accommodates your kids, your significant other, and sometimes your mom, your boss and your besties.
The Honda CR-V wants to please everyone
Luckily, auto makers have been listening to what buyers want and need in a vehicle and are striving to fill those needs. This is the case in the Honda CR-V; it incorporates some of the more popular features of its bigger sibling, the popular three row Honda Pilot SUV.
The CR-V, which is an ideal small SUV for young drivers, is also a great transitional car that can chauffeur you from single-hood through couple-hood and into family life. It is even ideal for older drivers whose kids have flown the nest.
Who This Car is For:
- Singles, couples or small families
- Buyers who may be transitioning from single to couple or couple to small family
- Empty nesters
- Drivers who like or need higher ground clearance
- Drivers who appreciate flexible cargo space
- Drivers who need all wheel drive
- Buyers who intend to put a lot of miles on their vehicle
- Buyers who need a smaller vehicle but the performance of an SUV
- Buyers who want a low maintenance vehicle
- Buyers looking for lots of amenities for a value price—$34,000 for the model we test drove
Cargo space and flexibility for singles and couples
The small size of the Honda CR-V makes it perfect for places where space is a premium, especially cities and college campuses. In urban spaces where hauling things like furniture, laundry or people always comes with a price, a crossover can come in handy. The CR-V has 70.9 total cubic feet of cargo space with the center seats folded down, and 37.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
Add to that all wheel drive for tough terrain and colder climates and 1,500 pounds of towing capacity so buyers can attach a trailer for small moving jobs.
A considerate design for young families
The CR-V is also a good transitional vehicle for buyers with growing families. We found several features that make it ideal for parents with babies or toddlers including:
- Rear passenger doors that open wide enough to make installing a child car seat easy
- Ample center row legroom that makes getting in and out of the car easy, even with a car seat installed
- 60/40 split folding center seats with the ’40’ on the passenger side lets you optimize cargo space and still see the car seat and its occupant
- A conversation mirror so drivers can see what’s going on in the back seat
- 6.7 inch ground clearance means less back strain when getting kids and car seats in and out
- A minimal ‘lip’ in the cargo space, making it easier to get the stroller or other items in and out
- Rear seats that fold down with the pull of a single tab; you can do this with one finger. Seriously.
Space, safety and ease for empty nesters
You would think a car that is so accommodating for young drivers would not appeal to older drivers, but no. The CR-V is a great option, too. The 6.7 inch ground clearance of the AWD model (6.3 in the rear wheel drive model) means the CR-V’s seats are just about hip height for most people. This makes it easy to get in and out of without back, leg or neck strain.
Add to that a cargo space that is easy to load, rear seats that are so easy to fold —just pull a single tab with one finger— and voila, seats flip and fold flat against the floor (they are almost as easy to put back up and this can also be done with one hand).
Safety technology that is great for all drivers
Has this happened to you? You’re about to make a right turn and you notice that a bicyclist is zooming up on the right side. If you had made the turn he would have hit you (and of course it would be your fault).
With our cities increasingly crowded and bicycling growing in popularity, this is a greater and greater concern. Honda took note and installed Lane Watch in all its cars.
This great feature, which is activated by turning on your turn signal, complements the rest of the safety technology in the CR-V: blind spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, crash mitigation (cameras keep an eye on traffic ahead), lane departure warning, lane keep assist (nudges you back in to your lane if you stray), brake force distribution (keeps the car from lurching during sudden braking) and stability control.
A confident drive experience and a comfortable space
The CR-V was a delight to drive and spend time in. I liked having the capability of an SUV but the drive experience of a car: comfortable and confident on the road that kept passengers from feeling jostled or motion sick.
However, the continuously variable transmission (or CVT), which is designed to keep adjusting the engine’s speed to optimize fuel usage, sometimes sounded as if the car was struggling to get up to speed. But that was more perception than reality; the CR-V performed just fine.
Inside, I found the leather-trimmed seats to be comfortable and the cabin nicely edited—not an overwhelming amount of technology, buttons or controls. Storage space was good too, with several spots in the center console where I could put my phone, a coffee cup, the key fob or spare change.
There is a 12V power port on the console, but to find a USB charge port you have to look inside the center arm rest (where there are two USB ports, another 12V outlet, and an HDMI port, too).
A few more luxuries make the Touring edition complete
With the Touring Edition at the top of the line, a little luxury is in order. The model we tested was loaded with a leather wrapped steering wheel, heated front leather-trimmed seats, a smart key system that unlocks the door automatically when you approach the car, a push button start system so you can leave your key in your purse, a premium sound system and power tailgate open and close. And luxury is something I personally think you should invest in, especially if your car is going to be a constant companion through so many of life’s changes.
We took a tour of the 2016 Honda CRV:
What We Loved
- Value for the price
- Easy flip and fold center seats
- Lane Watch feature
- All wheel drive capability
- Small agile size and shape
- Honda’s suite of safety features including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist
- Wide opening passenger doors that make installing a car seat (or toddler) easy
- Nicely edited front cabin
What You Need to Know
- Seating for 5 but more comfortable for 4
- Available in all wheel drive (AWD) or front wheel drive
- Base price of the CR-V: about $24,000
- Price of the model we tested: $35,145
- Fuel economy 25 city/31 Highway (we averaged about 25MPG)
- Uses regular fuel
- 3 year/36,000 mile warranty
- 5 year/60,000 power train warranty
- 5 year corrosion warranty
- 3 year/36,000 mile roadside assistance including fuel delivery, lockout assistance, winching and towing
Disclosure: Honda provided the 2016 CR-V for this review; all opinions expressed are my own.