Reviews

2015 Honda CR-V Walk Around



The 2015 CR-V grafts new nose and tail sections on the ends, the only changes betwixt them new wheels and paint colors. It still looks like a CR-V and a Honda, but removing badges would make some people have to think about it. The front fascia freshens its appearance. The rear fascia looks different than before, though whether it looks better we are not sure.

A narrow painted section bisects the front, the lower center fitted with a contrast-color insert like a bulldog’s lower lip. The upper section replaces the old three-bar grille with a brawnier split-bar arrangement, giving an angrier look to the cute-ute face. Fog lamps are now rectangular elements, and headlights vary by trim with mid-level and up using LED position lights and the Touring getting HID low-beam projector headlights.

At the other end the black strip at window-bottom that gave the impression of tall glass has been swapped to a chrome swath that carries through the taillights. Along with rear bumper sculpting and high reflectors this makes the CR-V appear taller, the look more painted bodywork and less glass reminiscent of early BMW X5. The tailpipe isn’t prominent as on some sporty crossovers, nor is it hidden beneath the bumper.

In profile the window line remains unchanged, the light scoop in the doors disappearing into minor hips around the rear wheels. The entire lower edge of the body all around, including the wheel openings, has dark plastic to fend off stone chips, and the rear bumper panel drops forward form the tail lights to near the top of the rear wheel which should save repairing more than one panel in corner scrapes. The tailgate lift is easy to find, low enough for kids to reach and the gate is powered on Touring. Most versions now have smart entry and pushbutton start so the key can stay in your pocket.

Interior

First and foremost the CR-V interior is about livability, from how simple it is to lower a rear seat to the speedometer back-seat drivers will read easily. Although upper trims get leather upholstery, steering wheel and shifter, armrests have sufficient padding and the cloth seats are temperature-resistant, you’ll not find the luxury of a more expensive Audi Q3, BMW X3, Infiniti QX50 or Mercedes-Benz GLC. Minimal scuffing and easy-to-clean materials have their place, and this is it.

Appearance was never an issue but the 2015 CR-V does sport a lightly revised dash panel with a more linear look above the shifter abutment. Gauges are easy to read, climate controls logical in function and array, and the dual central screens work individually, the upper through steering wheel controls and the lower its own touch-screen. They were all easy to view, even with polarized sunglasses, but the small buttons on the nav system stymie on less-than-smooth roads.

The audio system suffers from small controls, also. The buttons to raise and lower volume are challenging to press when driving and inferior to a volume knob both in function and appearance. Pressing one of them also evokes an onscreen adjustment, which is no better. Muting the sound, for example, sometimes takes more than one attempt. Audio quality is relatively poor, even on the Touring model. Audiophiles will not be happy.

The center console has ceded some storage space in the name of vents, specifically air-conditioning vents for the rear seat, a trade-off we readily accept. The console offers big cupholders, key and phone spots, and a usable well under the armrest. Also welcome are sliding sun visors to keep out low-lying side-window sun for all but rearward-seated drivers.

Front seats have adequate room and comfort, the relatively flat cushion easing entry/egress while the contoured backrest keeps you in place. They’re heated on all but LX. Door pockets are reasonably accommodating and will handle a super-size cup or 750 ml wine bottle but they aren’t deep so top securely or corner slowly.

By strict measures most interior dimensions are within an inch of the competition, the rated 38 inches of front headroom (with moonroof) less than average but not an issue for our test dummies to 6-foot, 3 inches. We found the rear seat quite livable too, with a single-notch recline, center armrest and useful headrests.

Outward visibility is quite good with a tall windshield and reasonable windshield pillars. A rearview camera is standard and from CR-V EX up has predictive guidelines that show where the car will go based on where the steering wheel is turned. Also on the CR-V EX model is LaneWatch, a camera in the right-side mirror that displays an image on the dash screen or the area right and rear. It activates only with the right turn signal so you get no benefit if you’re lazy, and it can be manually switched on, say to see if there is something in an intended lane change or parallel parking spot, and off, should you be waiting at a light and want to look at the navigation map, find a new tune or dial a number.

With rear seats folded or upright, cargo area matches that of the Nissan Rogue (which offers a small third-row seat) and is just slightly less than Toyota RAV4, but ahead of Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, GMC Terrain and larger than a Jeep Cherokee by a mid-size sedan trunk. Dropping the rear seats is a one-tug affair and doesn’t require removing headrests. It’s a clever system that is all-mechanical, though it acts as if it’s a power system. The resulting floor is a little higher than the trunk deck. The trunk has tie-down rings and a dedicated place to stow the cargo cover at the floor’s back edge, out of the way but still in the car.

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