Review: 2018 Honda CR-V
  • Car Review

Review: 2018 Honda CR-V

By David Undercoffler | February 26, 2018

Autolist rating: 5/5
But would we buy it? Yes
Price range: $25,125 - $35,025, including destination

Key takeaways

  • The Honda CR-V was completely redesigned in 2017.
  • Most models come with an excellent four-cylinder turbocharged engine; the base model does not.
  • Most models also come standard with an excellent suite of active safety features.
  • It’s available in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.
  • The CR-V is one of the best all-around crossovers in its segment.

What is it?

It’s a compact crossover -- in the goldilock zone for size. Not too big, not too small, it has two rows of seats, fits five adults comfortably and can carry all their cargo easily.

The CR-V is the best-selling vehicle Honda makes right now, and for good reason, considering how well it combines practicality, style, safety and comfort into a vehicle that suits anyone’s needs.

Most models will come with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission -- the bare-bones LX model has a simple non-turbo four-cylinder.

Front-wheel-drive is standard on all models; all-wheel-drive costs an extra $1,400.

Honda’s HR-V is smaller, its 3-row Pilot is larger.

What’s good

TLDR: Whatever you need a compact crossover to do, this Honda likely excels at that thing.

  • It’s practical, offering plenty of leg and headroom in all five seats, plus ample cargo space in the back. The rear seats are split 60/40 and fold flat. The floor in the rear seats is also completely flat.
  • It’s safe, both in terms of crash-test ratings and safety gear.
  • It’s quiet, comfortable and well-designed inside and out.

What’s bad

TLDR: Some light wind noise.

  • The turbocharged four-cylinder engine we tested has good acceleration, but it feels like it runs out of oomph if you push it really hard.
  • Although the CR-V is mostly refined and quiet on the road, we did notice some wind noise at freeway speeds.

5 stars of execution

Safety? Yes

  • Honda’s CR-V has a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS and a five-star crash rating from NHTSA.
  • Nearly every model of CR-V also comes standard with HondaSensing, a group of active safety features that includes items like pre-collision braking, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. These features are still expensive options on many other vehicles throughout the industry. Only the base LX trim level doesn’t carry this feature.

Value? Yes

  • The CR-V starts at $25,125 (including destination) for a base LX model.
  • A mid-level CR-V EX with just the stuff you want and need has an MSRP of around $29,325.
  • That gets you the turbo engine, all-wheel-drive, the aforementioned safety group, moonroof, heated front seats, dual climate control and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Efficiency? Yes

  • A Honda CR-V with all-wheel-drive and the turbo engine is rated at 27/33/29 MPG (city/highway/combined).
  • That’s significantly better than nearly all of its gas-powered rivals.
  • The only models that beat it are specific fuel-economy models: the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the Nissan Rogue Hybrid and the Chevy Equinox Diesel.

Driving experience? Yes

  • The ride quality is on the firm side, but never uncomfortable.
  • It’s agile and easy to park.
  • The engine and transmission are well-matched to give you power when you need it without drama.
  • The steering has a great feel to it.

Execution? Yes

  • Nothing about the CR-V feels cheap or compromised; slam the door and it feels and sounds like a well-built vehicle.
  • The inside of all CR-Vs has a surprising level of refinement; jump to the high-end Touring model and you’re treated to goodies like matte wood trim that wouldn’t be out of place on a luxury CUV that cost twice what this Honda does.
  • The interior and exterior styling is sleek, confident and mature.

Total Rating: 5 stars

What’s it gonna cost me?

As mentioned, the basic CR-V starts at $25,125 (including destination) for the LX version and front-wheel drive. This model has the non-turbo engine -- which makes 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque -- alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, backup camera and Bluetooth connectivity.

Our favorite trim level is the EX with all-wheel-drive that we mentioned earlier. For just under $30,000, it gives you everything you’re looking for in a family crossover without feeling guilty about the features you truly don’t need.

The EX-L is another $2,500 -- and starts adding the luxury features. These include leather seats, a power tailgate and 180-watt sound system.

The big daddy in the CR-V lineup is the Touring. It costs $33,625 for front-wheel-drive (remember, AWD is another $1,400) and promises stuff like a hands-free power tailgate, a 330-watt stereo system, a navigation system, LED headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

Also consider

Given how many compact crossovers sell in the U.S. every year, there’s a lot of competition here. The big players include the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Compass, Ford Escape and Chevy Equinox.

But in our eyes the Honda is a better all-around choice than all of them.

Drivers looking for more exciting handling and style should check out the excellent Mazda CX-5.

Hyundai’s Tucson is another looker in this group and while we prefer the CR-V, the Hyundai is worth a drive.

Skip Subaru’s Forester; it's outdated at this point in its lifecycle.

We like the Kia Sportage but can’t forgive its looks.