Since its debut to the US market in 1997, the Honda CR-V remains America’s best-selling compact SUV. It has not received any major updates since its overhaul in 2012. Its freshening 2 years ago brought with it a fresh design and better mpg thanks to improved aerodynamics, taller gear ratios, reduced weight and minimized engine friction. It carries over unchanged from the previous model year but as a package, the Honda CR-V still remains pretty unbeatable by any other automaker in this segment.
The 2014 Honda CR-V hosts a bounty of tech goodies such as a standard Pandora® Interface, Bluetooth® phone and streaming audio and an available rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 7-inch display. When compared to the Honda Civic, the CR-V’s platform kinsman who was recently updated last year with a more luxurious interior, it still features superior interior materials and an improved instrument panel.
Just like last year, the 2014 Honda CR-V is offered in 3 well equipped trim levels. Each trim level, even the entry LX, can be equipped with Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™. The system engages automatically when necessary so drivers don’t have to do a thing and requires virtually no maintenance.
Standard features on the entry level LX includes 16-inch steel-wheels, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, AC, a 5-inch LCD multi-informational display (i-MID), a 60/40 split-folding rear seat back, Bluetooth®, steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise/phone/i-MID controls and a 160-watt 4-speaker audio system with Pandora Internet compatibility, USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary jack.
The midlevel EX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a power moonroof, rear privacy glass and a 6-speaker audio system. The top-of-the-line EX-L tacks on auto on/off headlights, roof rails, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and a premium 328-watt 7-speaker (including subwoofer) sound system with satellite radio.
A navigation system with voice recognition and a DVD rear entertainment system are available on the EX-L trim level only. A full array of accessories is available. Optional accessories includes items like a tailgate spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheel, various roof rack attachments (bike, kayak, surfboard, skis, etc.), running boards, a trailer hitch, a tent and a remote start system.
Standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, daytime running lights, stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system and a multi angle rearview camera.
Unfortunately, there is still only one available powerhouse for 2014- a 2.4L 4-cylinder i-VTEC® engine that produces 185-hp, 163 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and returns an estimated 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Prices for the 2014 Honda CR-V start at $22,945 for the base 2WD LX and climbs to over $30,445 for the AWD EX-L variant with Navigation. In my book, even the top model is fairly priced. Opting for all the accessories will set you back an additional $9 grand but the good news is you can pick and choose accessories that fit your lifestyle best.
Reasonable price; good fuel economy; roomy cabin; plenty of cargo space
No V6 option; wide D-pillars obstruct view; 4-Cylinder may feel a bit underpowered in certain situations