Crossovers are all the rage nowadays, but the Honda CR-V was doing it long before the segment became “cool.” More than 20 years after its debut as a concept in 1995, Honda’s midrange utility vehicle is still going strong. In fact, the Honda CR-V was the best-selling vehicle in 2016 that wasn’t a pickup truck or a four-door sedan. The 357,335 CR-Vs sold in the U.S. that year place the popular crossover just behind brand mate Honda Civic, the third best-selling car.
Honda CR-V engines
Honda introduced the new fifth-generation CR-V in 2017, so the engines and transmissions carry over for the 2018 model year.
All Honda CR-V models have four-cylinder in-line engines with direct fuel injection and a drive-by-wire throttle system. The CR-V LX is the only model that comes without a turbocharger. The LX’s 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC motor produces 184 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 RPM. The EX, EX-L, and Touring models all have a 1.5-liter, 16-Valve DOHC turbocharged engine producing 190 hp and 179 lb-ft from 2,000 to 5,000 RPM.
All 2017 CR-Vs use a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the only choice for the four trim versions. The CR-V LX with front-wheel drive has EPS fuel economy ratings of 26 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. The smaller but slightly more powerful turbocharged engine with a wider torque band in the EX, EX-L, and Touring models is EPA rated at 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined mileage.
All-wheel drive, a $1,400 option for each model, exacts a fuel economy price of 1 mile per gallon for each of the three ratings. AWD won’t get you through deep mud, sand, or snow, but if you live where roads get slippery, the extra money for the upgrade and the slight uptick in fuel expense is probably worth it.
Honda CR-V tech
All 2018 Honda CR-Vs come standard with Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist traction control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist for added pedal pressure when the vehicle detects an emergency stop, tire pressure monitoring, and LED daytime running lights.
All models also have a multi-angle review camera that lets you choose top-down, normal, and wide-angle views. The LX rearview camera has fixed backup guidelines while the other models have dynamic guidelines that change as you move.
The LX does not include Honda Sensing, the automaker’s active safety and driving assist package — for that reason alone, upgrading from the LX is the smarter move if you can afford it. It’s too bad all Hondas don’t have a standard driver assistance bundle, but that will come in future years.
Honda Sensing includes blind spot monitoring with cross traffic monitoring, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, lane-keeping assistance, road departure mitigation braking system, and road departure mitigation.
The CR-V LX uses a 5-inch color LCD display to control its standard infotainment system, while the upgrade models have a 7-inch touchscreen and many more infotainment features including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, SMS text support, and more.
How to choose a Honda CR-V
Honda traditionally bundles complete model packages, and it’s no different with the CR-V. When you choose one of the four CR-V trim lines, chances are you won’t find you need to add options, assuming there even are options available. If you want a more feature-rich car, you need to move up on the trim line scale. The LX, which starts at $24,150, is the least equipped of the four CR-V models, from engine size, type, power, and fuel economy, to comfort and convenience, luxury, and safety features.
Like other Hondas, the CR-V benefits from high resale values and reliability standards. There are no scheduled tune-ups for 100,000 miles.
As you move up through the EX, EX-L, and Touring models, the standard equipment lists get longer and the prices go higher, topping out at the CR-V Touring model, which starts at $32,650. In each case, you can balance features you need, features you’d like to have, and the amount you want to spend. Dealer charges, destination charges, optional service and warranty programs, and taxes, title, and registration may well boost the bottom-line cost, but options and equipment packages for the most part will not.
2018 Honda CR-V LX
The entry-level 2018 Honda CR-V LX, starting price $24,150, has a MacPherson strut front suspension with variable ratio power steering. power front and rear disc brakes, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The LX, like all CR-Vs, has front, front side, and side curtain airbags, an active shutter grille to reduce air resistance, and power side mirrors.
Automatic climate control, power windows, cruise control, and power door and tailgate locks are all standard equipment, as are floor mats, and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat. The 160-watt audio system has four speakers and the LX supports Bluetooth streaming audio and hands-free phone operation, and has speed-sensitive volume control.
2018 Honda CR-V EX
The first upgrade level from the base CR-V LX is the EX, with a $26,950 starting price. The extra $2,800 buys upgrades in almost everything except the basic body style. The EX includes the more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with better fuel economy and adds remote start. The Honda Sensing Active safety and driver assist package is included with the EX model and above. The EX has 18-inch alloy wheels, auto high-beam headlights, and fog lights, and the power side mirror is heated and has integrated turn indicators.
With all the other upgrades, you might not expect a one-touch power moonroof, but it’s on the EX and higher-level models. Other upgraded features include rear privacy glass, a standard security system, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, illuminated vanity mirrors, and a retractable cargo cover. The EX’s front seats are heated and the driver’s seat has 12-way power adjustments including four-way lumbar support.
The audio system on the EX bumps up to 180-watts and six speakers, and is controlled with the 7-inch color touchscreen. The driver information interface includes a raft of indicators and information not available with the LX model.
2018 Honda CR-V EX-L
Add $2,500 to the CR-V EX to buy the EX-L and the list of luxury, comfort, and convenience features continue to expand. The EX-L’s $29,450 starting price adds a power tailgate with programmable opening height so you don’t crash into a low ceiling or door. Leather seats and steering wheel are part of the EX-L package, as well as an automatic-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink remote system, two-position driver seat memory, and four-way power adjustment for the front passenger seat. The 180-watt audio system used with the EX gains two more speakers in the EX-L for a total of eight. In sum, the “L” in EX-L is the clue, because the major upgrade is leather seating.
2018 Honda CR-V Touring
The 2018 Honda CR-V Touring tops out the model line. At the $32,650 the Touring model costs $3,200 more than the EX-L. In addition to the features included with the EX-L, the Touring model includes automatic LED headlights, roof rails, and hands-free tailgate open and close sensors. The windshield wipers add rain-sensing with the Touring, so just set them to automatic when you buy the car and never touch them again. You also find dual chrome exhaust end caps on the Touring, which look nice outside, and white ambient LED lighting that looks nice inside the car.
The Touring model bumps up the audio system considerably to 330-watts with nine speakers and a subwoofer, and the 7-inch color touchscreen works with the included satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition and Honda HD Digital Traffic. You can also ask for songs with voice control. For many people, the hands-free tailgate control and navigation system will probably be the deciding points to upgrade to the Touring model. At that point, just select AWD for an additional $1,400, and for less than $35,000, you’ll have a fully-loaded CR-V that could likely last a decade or more, should you choose to keep it that long.
|Trim||2018 Honda CR-V LX||2018 Honda CR-V EX||2018 Honda CR-V EX-L||2018 Honda CR-V Touring|
|4WD/AWD||AWD optional, $1,400||AWD optional, $1,400||AWD optional, $1,400||AWD optional, $1,400|
|Base engine||2.4L 16-Valve DOHC i-VTEC||1.5L, 16-Valve DOHC engine with a Single-Scroll MHI TD03 Turbo and Internal Wastegate||1.5L, 16-Valve DOHC engine with a Single-Scroll MHI TD03 Turbo and Internal Wastegate||1.5L, 16-Valve DOHC engine with a Single-Scroll MHI TD03 Turbo and Internal Wastegate|
|Base torque||180 lb-ft @3,900 RPM.||179 lb-ft @ 2,000 to 5,000 RPM||179 lb-ft @ 2,000 to 5,000 RPM||179 lb-ft @ 2,000 to 5,000 RPM|
|Transmission||CVT with Sport mode||CVT with Sport mode||CVT with Sport mode||CVT with Sport mode|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||14||14||14||14|
|Base wheels||17-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door SUV||4-door SUV||4-door SUV||4-door SUV|
|3rd row seating||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Storage behind 2nd row seats||39.2 cu ft||39.2 cu ft||39.2 cu ft||39.2 cu ft|
|Storage behind 1sr row seats||75.8 cu ft||75.8 cu ft||75.8 cu ft||75.8 cu ft|
|Max Towing capacity||1,500 pounds||1,500 pounds||1,500 pounds||1,500 pounds|
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