By Shari Prymak
The compact SUV, or “crossover,” as they are often called by the marketing departments of car manufacturers, has become one of the most popular car segments in the automotive industry. At the forefront of this segment, and one of the sales leaders, is the Honda CR-V. Introduced in 1997, the CR-V has earned a stellar reputation for practicality, efficiency, and probably above all, near bulletproof reliability.
For 2015, the CR-V comes in a number of trims ranging in price from a low of $25,990 all the way up to a steep $36,540. All CR-V’s come with a185hp 2.4 L 4 cylinder engine mated to a CVT automatic. The base LX comes standard with front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive as an option. All-wheel drive is standard on every other trim level. My test car was a base LX with front-wheel drive which still gets you Bluetooth, heated seats, and a backup camera. In typical Honda fashion, if you want niceties like leather seats and navigation, you’ll have to pay quite a bit extra to get them.
I found the basic CR-V LX to be more than adequate and at no point did I wish for anything more. The CR-V’s best features come as standard. It has great outward visibility, it’s plenty spacious for four adults, it has useful storage space, and great cargo capacity; moreover, the fit and finish inside and out is superb.
Out on the road, the CR-V was quite pleasant to drive. The steering, braking, and cornering performance are all impressive for a vehicle of this type. Although you sit high up in true SUV fashion, the driving behaviour is far more car like, which gives the CR-V a neat dual personality. I found the power from the 4-cylinder engine to be adequate in most situations, and in return, it produced great fuel economy with figures as low as 7.5L/100km on the highway. Figure more like 10.0L/100km in city driving.
Similar vehicles in this class include the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox, and Mazda CX-5. The CR-V proved, however, that it still has the goods to lead the segment that it practically started all those years ago. While it can get expensive when you load it up with options, it should pay off with excellent resale value if you choose to sell in the short-term, and with rock-like durability, if you keep it for the long-haul. My choice would be the base front-wheel drive LX model, which gets you everything you need at a reasonable price. All the saved money can be used to buy a set of dedicated winter tires, pay for gas, and pay for repairs, that is, assuming it will ever need any.