2016 Honda CR-V Review

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2016 Honda CR-V Overview

While shopping for a compact SUV, you might be distracted by models with off-road capability, a more upscale interior, or extra horsepower. After refocusing, however, you’ll remember that you want the compact SUV you're shopping for to be practical...and the 2016 Honda CR-V delivers just that, with reliability, good fuel efficiency, and plenty of interior space.

The CR-V got a makeover for 2015, including a classy refresh for the exterior, so there are few changes this year. There is a new SE trim (positioned just above the entry-level LX) that features 17-inch alloy wheels (up from 16 inches on the LX), rear privacy glass, a security system, and a two-tone finish.

There’s only one powertrain for the CR-V lineup, a lack of choice that irks some critics. The 2.4-liter I4 produces 185 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That combo gets 27 mpg city/34 highway with front-wheel drive (FWD) and 26/33 mpg with all-wheel drive (AWD), excellent numbers in the SUV segment.

As you might have guessed from the horsepower stats, acceleration isn’t the CR-V's strong suit. It does, however, handle securely in corners, and it provides a quiet, comfortable ride. The transmission is also very smooth and widely regarded as one of the best CVTs around.

The CR-V’s efficient engine is matched by a practical and comfortable interior. It starts as you enter the cabin through the wide doors and continues with the excellent head- and leg-room for both front and rear passengers. The driver’s sight lines are good, the rear seats recline, and there’s no transmission tunnel jutting into the middle of the second row, so a third rear passenger is an actual possibility.

There’s 37.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, which is a lot of pure space, but it seems even bigger because of the CR-V's low load floor and boxy shape. That space expands to 70.9 cubic feet with an easy flip of the trunk-mounted levers that fold down the spring-loaded rear seats.

There are five trim levels available for the 2016 CR-V: LX, SE, EX, EX-L, and Touring. The base LX starts at $23,595 for FWD (add $1,300 for AWD on all CR-V trims) and comes with most of the essentials: air conditioning, power accessories, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rear-view camera, and a 4-speaker CD sound system with a USB port, an auxiliary jack, and Pandora compatibility.

The new SE trim starts at $24,395 and adds the features mentioned above. Stepping up to the the EX costs $25,845 and brings an upgraded sound system, a 7-inch touchscreen with HondaLink smartphone app integration, a sunroof, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, keyless ignition, a blind spot monitoring system, and dynamic guidelines in the rear-view mirror.

The EX-L ($28,295) adds leather seats, additional sound-system upgrades, satellite radio, heated mirrors, dual-zone air conditioning, roof rails, and the option for a navigation system. The Touring trim ($31,495) comes standard with that navigation system, as well as a full driver-assistance package: adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. The Touring trim also gets 18-inch wheels, a power liftgate, and projector beam headlights.

The LX and the SE are the only CR-V trims to not come standard with the blind spot monitoring system, but they do come standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and a rear-view camera. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the CR-V top scores on its frontal impact, side impact, roof strength, and whiplash protection tests.

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After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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    Honda CR-V Questions

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