By Cars.com EditorsDecember 9, 2014
About the video
Honda updated its best-selling compact SUV for 2015. Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays likes the exterior changes and cargo area but finds quite a few issues inside. Watch the video for more.
(upbeat music) The restyled headlights, new grill, and dressier fog lights on the 2015 Honda CR-V are going to start to look pretty familiar in a while. That's because the CR-V is perennially one of the best-selling SUVs in the country.
So you're going to start to see a lot of these on the road, but the visual updates signal a lot that's different for 2015. Let's see if the CR-V has what it takes to stay on top. Now, the current gen CR-V goes all the way back to 2012. Never really been that interesting to look at, but the 2015 updates do add a little bit of visual interest here. You got LEDs that encircled the headlights here, a new more creased grille that takes over from the old three bar design, which really dominated the nose. So it does stick out a little bit more among small SUV's. Let's take a look at the inside. The CR-V retains one of its biggest draws, and that's a lot of utilitarian functionality on the inside. Things like a conversation mirror here to talk to people in back, a nice upright seating position with good sight lines, thanks to tall windows and relatively narrow pillars all around you. All of that is still here to stay, which is a good thing. A few material differences: dressier door handles now, a nicer woven material along the sun visors, but still no improvement to the doors up here, which have pretty cheap materials. Things like: not enough armrest padding here, and a lot of hard touch cheap plastic along the upper doors. Very strange that Honda didn't invest in that, because the company did invest in nicer dashboard materials here. Not sure why it didn't just leave the dashboard the same, and instead throw the money into there. Now, most trim levels get this seven inch screen here, similar system to what's in the Honda civic without the capacitive touch controls from the civic, which are a good thing, cause capacitive touch doesn't really have a place in cars, but it seems like what Honda did was to make this 11th hour design change. And so what you've got over here are these tiny little buttons for things like stereo volume, a home screen, a back button. Really not easy to use. Most of our editors found things like scrolling, a swiping functionality works on some screens, but then you get over to other screens, and it doesn't really work here. So you end up having to go over to different menus with different buttons. A lot of sub menus to work through; not really the best setup overall. Now, a couple other utility things still have dual level storage areas here along the doors, which is nice. Also, a nice, big, kind of wide glove compartment, but what the CR-V used to have was a nice low center console here that actually had a lot of space, and open up a lot of room for your thighs to end up in. You had flipped down arm rest instead of this center arm rest right here. Instead, now there's a very big, bulky center console. The console itself seems a lot smaller than it used to be. You do get AC vents that direct some air to the people in back, which the last year we didn't have. But, I gotta say, you kind of sacrifice a lot to get there. Still, there are a lot of qualities that small families will like about the CR-V particularly like the cargo area. About 35 cubic feet of space here behind the rear seats, but just look at how wide and low this opening is. There's not a lip here that you have to lift cargo over to get it in. Very easy to just chuck it in. The seats fold down; a lot of moving parts there between the seat cushions, the seat backs, head restraints, but they all work in very quick fashion here with these cargo area handles, and that makes for a very low, unbroken load floor area. Not a lot of things that you have to maneuver over. It makes it very easy to do things like throw in a bike right here without having to take off the wheel. Not exactly something you can do in a lot of small SUVs. New four cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission combined for a fairly responsive, passive power and actually very, very good gas mileage for this segment. Ride quality is something that the current gen CR-Vs have always been pretty good at, actually remains very sound. We liked that a lot. So maybe three steps forward, half a step backward for the 2015 CR-V. But one of those steps forward, very importantly, is gas mileage. So a lot of value, a lot of utility in the 2015 Honda CR-V. Something that anyone shopping this segment is still going to want to check out. (car engine roaring)