2015 Honda CR-V Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Stronger, safer underlying structure
  • New, more fuel-efficient engine
  • New continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Revised interior and exterior styling
  • More standard equipment
  • New safety technologies
  • Up-level Touring trim level debuts

Introduction

Already one of the best-selling small crossover SUVs in America, the 2015 Honda CR-V receives a significant refresh designed to make it safer, more fuel efficient, more technologically advanced, and better to drive than previous models. The new 2015 CR-V continues in LX, EX, and EX-L trim levels, joined by a new top-of-the-line Touring variant that's loaded with upgrades.

Exterior Features

Honda makes subtle changes to the CR-V's styling for 2015, revising front and rear details, installing new side mirrors, and adding new wheel designs. Up front, the headlights, grille, bumper, and underlying skid plate trim element are new, while around back the bumper is revised, along with the trim on the tailgate.

The new Touring trim level is equipped with 18-in. aluminum wheels and an exclusive power tailgate, while the EX and EX-L versions have new aluminum wheel designs that are half an inch wider than before. All versions except the base LX get LED running lights for 2015, while the Touring model is equipped with projector-style headlights and side mirrors incorporating turn signal indicators.

Interior Features

For 2015, the CR-V EX, EX-L, and Touring include Honda's Smart Entry keyless passive entry system with push-button engine starting. All 2015 CR-Vs have a new center console design, one that can be reconfigured to suit the owner's needs and which offers both a sliding top armrest and rear air vents for heating and air conditioning.

Additionally, Honda improves sound isolation for a quieter cabin, and includes new sliding sun visors as standard equipment. Fabric and leather upholsteries are revised to look more upscale, and, depending on the trim level, the new 2015 CR-V provides what Honda characterizes as "high-contrast styling touches" using chrome, silver, and wood grain trim.

Optional Features

Honda has greatly expanded equipment levels for the updated and upgraded 2015 CR-V.

The repackaged CR-V EX receives the most changes. As was true last year, this version provides aluminum wheels, fog lights, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, power sunroof, automatic headlights, and a number of other detail-oriented upgrades. For 2015, the EX adds LED running lights, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, Smart Entry with push-button engine starting, and a new tablet-style Display Audio infotainment system with a 7-in. display screen. The EX is also equipped with Honda's LaneWatch technology, which displays what's alongside the right side of the SUV on the Display Audio system's screen.

The leather-lined CR-V EX-L gains a new auto-dimming rearview mirror, and when equipped with the optional navigation system this version of the crossover SUV includes HD Radio for 2015.

For greater levels of luxury and technology, the new 2015 CR-V Touring is available. It includes memory for the driver's preferred seat settings, plus a power tailgate, universal programmable remote control, bigger 18-in. aluminum wheels, and more. The Touring is also equipped with a new suite of Honda Sensing safety-related systems, discussed in greater detail below.

Under the Hood

A new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection is standard in the 2015 CR-V, a member of Honda's "Earth Dreams" family of fuel-efficient engines. It makes the same 185 horsepower as last year, but adds torque.

A new CVT is also standard, equipped with what Honda calls "G-Shift" design for a more natural sound and feel. It drives the CR-V's front wheels unless you opt for the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.

Honda claims significant increases in fuel economy with the new Earth Dreams powertrain. With front-wheel drive, the city rating rises from 23 mpg to 27 mpg, and the highway rating climbs from 31 mpg to 34 mpg compared with the 2014 model. The AWD version is slightly less fuel efficient, but enjoys similar improvements compared to last year, and, at 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway, now gets better gas mileage than last year's front-drive CR-V.

Additionally, Honda has re-tuned the new CR-V's suspension, made braking improvements, and uses wider wheels on all trim levels except for the LX in an effort to improve driving dynamics.

Safety

Through the 2014 model year, the Honda CR-V is ineligible for a "Top Safety Pick" crash-test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) because it received a "Marginal" rating in the small overlap offset frontal-impact assessment. With the introduction of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) II body structure design, the automaker hopes to resolve that.

Engineers have made more than 60 individual changes to the CR-V's underlying structure in an effort to increase stiffness and collision performance. Additionally, the automaker's SmartVent side-impact air bag design is now standard for the CR-V, and the Touring version is equipped with a long list of new safety systems. Called the Honda Sensing suite of safety technologies, they include forward-collision warning, collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist systems.

Additionally, all versions of the 2015 CR-V except for the base LX model feature Honda's LaneWatch system. A camera monitors the right side of the vehicle and displays what is alongside the SUV on the Display Audio system's screen.

Technology

Aside from these new safety systems, the big change on the technology front is related to the Display Audio system that is included for all versions except the CR-V LX. It includes next-generation HondaLink technology, which provides the CR-V with Automatic Collision Notification service, traffic and weather reports, Aha Radio compatibility complete with access to Facebook and Twitter, and a navigation app that you download to your smartphone for $60.