NEWS

2015 Honda CR-V First Look (36 Photos, Full Details)

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Competes with: Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5

Looks like: New Accord-inspired front end, with the same only-a-mother-could-love looks

Drivetrain: 185-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder; CVT; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Oct. 1

Honda’s CR-V is a perennial favorite around the Cars.com offices for its comfy ride, spacious interior and generous standard features list. For 2015, Honda tweaks the popular CR-V with a smorgasbord of fresh features and technology while introducing a new fuel-economy-boosting engine and transmission.

Related: 2015 Honda CR-V First Drive

While not a complete redesign, the 2015’s updates should make a competitive difference given the convenience and technology features found in the compact SUV segment. An available power liftgate and smart keyless access with push-button start are two of the CR-V’s new niceties, which are becoming common in compact and midsize SUVs. A new Touring trim level hosts much of the CR-V’s new safety technology such as collision warning and mitigation systems.

Exterior

There’s a lot of 2014 Honda Accord flavor in the CR-V’s front styling, or at least that’s how it looks, with the Accord-like headlights displayed prominently on the restyled front end. The rear bodywork is also slightly changed, and new wheels on some trim levels are a half-inch wider than the outgoing CR-V; the new Touring trim level adds 18-inch wheels.

The automaker also made changes to the CR-V’s body structure. Honda increased body rigidity for reduced noise, vibration and harshness that it says also helps reduce crash forces on the passenger compartment. Dimensions of the CR-V remain relatively unchanged except for the length, which is 1.1 inches longer at 178.3 inches, and the track, which is wider with the new wheel options.

Interior

The CR-V’s overall interior dimensions remain unchanged for the most part, which means Honda’s “compact” SUV still has one of the largest cargo spaces in the segment with 35.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the backseat up and a maximum of 70.9 cubic feet of cargo space. There are minor styling changes with new chrome trim on higher-end trim levels, but the biggest change comes in the center console and new multimedia offerings.

A configurable center console has enough room to store a tablet, and it offers a variety of configurations with partitions to create different storage areas. The console also houses rear climate control vents. Honda’s 7-inch touch-screen is new to the CR-V for 2015 on EX and higher trim levels with pinch, tap and swipe functionality found on a smartphone for controlling multimedia, navigation and phone integration. Standard multimedia features when paired with a compatible smartphone include Pandora internet radio, a text messaging function and USB input.

Topping off the list of new interior features include standard sliding sun visors, an available 10-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory and an available power liftgate on higher-end trim levels.

Under the Hood

An all-new engine and transmission help boost fuel economy sky high for both front- and all-wheel-drive CR-Vs. The direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and continuously variable automatic transmission boost fuel economy to 27/34/29 mpg city/highway/combined with front-wheel drive and 26/33/28 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. That’s up 4 mpg in city ratings, 3 mpg in highway ratings and 3 mpg in combined ratings. Honda mostly attributes the gain in fuel efficiency to the transmission. Horsepower remains unchanged, though the engine is lighter and makes 18 more pounds-feet of torque than the previous engine.

Other than the powertrain, the suspension receives an overhaul with new damper and spring tuning; the steering ratio is tighter than before and now requires fewer turns lock to lock, and the 17- and 18-inch wheels are a half-inch wider than 2014’s offerings for a wider track. The brakes also receive an update for improved pedal feel.

Safety

The CR-V gains a number of driver assistance features for 2015, including an available forward collision warning system capable of recognizing pedestrians. When a collision is detected, an audible warning will alert the driver and a collision mitigation braking system can apply the brakes. Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are also newly available as is Honda’s LaneWatch, which uses a camera in the passenger-side mirror to display on the multimedia screen a wide-angle view of the car’s passenger side. LaneWatch is available on EX and higher trim levels; other advanced collision mitigation features are only available on the Touring trim level.

All CR-Vs, however, receive body updates to improve the chassis stiffness in a collision, and the SUV has standard front- and side-impact airbags and side curtains.

Manufacturer images. Click any image for a larger version. 

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Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with Cars.com for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-bruzek-2699b41b/ Email Joe Bruzek

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