Signs. To paraphrase the old song from Five Man Electrical Band, they’re everywhere. Red ones tell you when to stop. Green signs point out where to take off on the highway to get to where you need to go. Blue signs alert you to the presence of nearby hospitals.
There’s another sign that you’ve seen hundreds of times. It starts and ends with an H. You’ve seen it on sedans and minivans, even pickup trucks. Since the late 1990s, you’ve been getting eyefuls of the Honda badge on a certain popular sport utility vehicle: the CR-V.
Now in its fourth generation, the CR-V comes in five trim levels, including the $23,845 entry-level LX, the $26,095 mid-range EX, and the $32,195 top-of-the-line Touring*. We recently spent a week in an all-wheel-drive 2016 version of the flagship CR-V model. The people we passed on the streets and highways of Austin, Texas saw the sign of the company that made – in its own words – “America’s best-selling SUV.” We saw a lot to like in the CR-V.
2016 Honda CR-V Touring Exterior
If we didn’t know it stands for “Honda,” we would say the H on the front of the CR-V is short for “handsome.”
The grille’s top and bottom chrome accent strips lead the eyes toward the projector-beam halogen headlights, which are swept back into the front body panels. All-season tires surround two-tone 18-inch alloys. Their unique appearance – we call it an artistic interpretation of an industrial fan – make the CR-V Touring stand out. The same goes for the deep, rich paint our test vehicle was covered with.
The chrome-lined and blade-like greenhouse area above the sculpted door skins comes to a point directly in front of the prominent tail light casings that dominate the top half of the rear end. In profile, you can see them gracefully curve out and repeat the shape of the sheet metal between them and the trim around the side window glass. Another chrome strip, angled up at the ends, bridges the gap between the two large vertical light bars. It’s quasi-mirrored by a satin silver accent piece in the back bumper panel.
2016 Honda CR-V Touring Interior
Honda packs the cabin of its top-of-the-line CR-V model with standard features, some of which include leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power driver’s seat with two-position memory, and navigation. We were happy to shoulder the load. (It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.)
Aside from the metallic touches spread throughout, one theme of the interior is ease of access. The large speedometer is front and center in the gauge cluster. A two-tier screen system allowed us to check the date and time and other things up top while we changed the radio station or entered the address of a travel destination on the seven-inch touchscreen below. On that same bottom screen, we were also able to see what was in the right lane. All we had to do was use our right turn signal; doing that directed a camera monitoring the lane next to us to send what it was seeing to the display. We didn’t have to turn our heads once. We barely had to reach for the shift lever because it was conveniently high mounted.
2016 Honda CR-V Touring Performance
Honda’s engineers kept things nice and simple when it was time to give the new CR-V a powertrain. All 2016 CR-Vs come equipped with a 2.4-liter DOHC I4 with 185 horsepower and 181 lbft of torque.
The technical minds at Honda kept things with the transmission just as uncomplicated. No matter which trim line you choose, the CR-V comes with a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). According to Honda’s website, it uses the CVT, which doesn’t have discrete steps or shifts like a traditional setup, for “smooth acceleration and better fuel efficiency.” The EPA states that our all-wheel-drive review vehicle was capable of achieving 25 city, 31 highway, and 27 combined mpg.** We’ll state that “shiftless” is not always an insult. In this case, it’s actually a compliment.
2016 Honda CR-V Touring Safety
Across all of its five trim levels, the CR-V features a variety of passive and active safety features. Some of those include dual-stage front, front side, and side curtain airbags; Vehicle Stability Assist to battle over- and understeer; Traction Control for grip in all conditions; Anti-Lock Brakes (of course); Brake Assist for additional stopping power in emergency braking situations; a Tire Pressure Monitoring System to make sure the CR-V’s rubber is at the right psi levels; and a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera to show you what’s going on behind you – especially useful when backing out of a spot in a busy parking lot. Our test rig had optional all-wheel drive to keep us shiny-side-up in the event of an encounter with bad weather or low-traction surfaces.
Ticking the box for the Touring trim adds the Honda Sensing Feature Suite. That may not be an actual room, but it’s a great place to be because it protects you in all directions. Forward Collision Warning alerts you if you’re in danger of hitting the vehicle in front of you. Along the same lines, if the Collision Mitigating Braking System senses you’re going to hit the vehicle ahead, it’ll bring the CR-V to a stop. Lane Departure Warning does just what it sounds like it’ll do and tells you if you drift out of your lane without signaling.
We were glad to have the peace of mind all of that technology provided (we’re sure our passengers were, too!). We were also happy to have Adaptive Cruise Control, which maintains the speed you tell it to as well as the distance you select to have between you and the vehicle in front of you. It makes long road trips so much easier (we used GMC’s version of the technology in a Yukon XL Denali on a journey from Austin, Texas to El Paso and loved it). It’s too bad we didn’t have the time to take one in the CR-V.
2016 Honda CR-V Touring Overall
Prices for the 2016 CR-V start at $23,845; Touring models have a base price of $32,195.* To get a CR-V Touring just like the one you see here, it’ll cost $34,145. If you’re wondering if the Honda CR-V is the SUV for you and all the signs point to “Yes,” keep your eyes open for one more sign: the one on the outside of an AutoNation Honda dealership.
*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.