Thursday, May 14, 2015

Popular Honda CR-V gets better with 2015 changes

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Honda decided to mess with a good thing, its CR-V sport-utility vehicle, in 2015.

And hey, things turned out pretty well.

Before undergoing extensive changes for the 2015 model year, the CR-V was rolling up some fabulous numbers.  It was the best-selling SUV in the United States for years running.  In car-crazy California, it was the state’s top-selling SUV in calendar 2015, with a healthy 34,980 registrations, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association.

Alas, no resting on laurels here, as Honda dug in and changed things up.

Tweaks to the exterior look kept the basic SUV shape, but to my eye, the current-generation CR-V looks smoother, sportier and longer.  Honda calls it bolder; to me, it just looks more capable of slicing through the air.

On the run, the tested 2015 CR-V AWD Touring edition did that rather nicely.  It’s an excellent freeway cruiser. The CR-V has a midsize sedan feel to it from the driver’s seat, and its tight turning radius enabled me to negotiate downtown dices with ease.

Power is provided by a surprisingly peppy 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower on the high end.  The comparatively lightweight engine is matched to a continuously variable transmission.

Peppy, by the way, does not mean wasteful.  Fuel mileage ratings are a pleasing 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

The interior layout of controls has been reworked for the better, with everything in logical, easy reach and easily understood.  Driving-enhancement and safety features are plentiful.

I’m sure most California drivers will love the live camera image of the right side of the CR-V displayed in the center-mounted screen.  That’s triggered automatically when you hit the right-turn signal. You never know when a bicycle rider is going to try to squeeze by your vehicle’s right side when you’re making a right turn … but you’ll have plenty of advance warning of that potential disaster in your CR-V.

So, what did all these changes do for the CR-V?

They made an “A” grade car even better, and the vehicle was named SUV of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.

It should be noted that my tester is the most expensive version of the CR-V, starting at $32,770, but that includes a ton of standard equipment.  For the record, I was perfectly content with what the tested CR-V had, and there was not a single optional perk on the sticker.

Having reviewed so many SUVs over time, I confess that it takes a lot for a sport-ute to impress me.  For my money, the CR-V’s appeal is not that it has blow-me-away appeal, but it is loaded with so much that looks/functions so well.  That’s probably why it is so popular, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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