The Honda CR-V just celebrated its 20th birthday last year with a ground-up redesign, and we were impressed with the all-new fifth-gen CR-V. Since then, I seem to have become the unofficial compact CUV tester here at AutoNation Drive having driven most of the CR-V’s key rivals in the last year including the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and even the Mitsubishi Outlander.
Since the 2018 Honda CR-V carries over unchanged from the 2017 model year, driving this crossover again gave me yet another chance to pit it against its rivals. So how does the carryover CR-V stack up? I spent a week with the loaded Touring AWD trim level to find out.
2018 Honda CR-V Exterior
Perhaps the best part about the fifth-generation CR-V is its exterior design. The styling is fresh and modern, but at the same time it is still an evolution of many design cues introduced on the 1997 CR-V. The 2018 Honda CR-V has a surprisingly cohesive mix of design elements that tie in with both the CR-V’s history and Honda’s current design language.
The face of the 2018 Honda CR-V is definitely its most polarizing angle with sharp creases in the fascia and hood to go along with the edgy grille, while the rear shows off the CR-V’s signature high-mount taillights – a cue that dates back to the original model. The top Touring trim level gets a more upscale treatment with full LED headlights, dual chrome exhaust outlets and the uniquely designed 18-inch alloy wheels. The 2018 Honda CR-V is offered in 10 different paint colors including this tester’s Obsidian Blue hue.
2018 Honda CR-V Interior
The 2018 Honda CR-V Touring offers three different colors of leather (Ivory, Gray and Black), but most trim levels don’t give buyers a choice. For example, this Obsidian Blue tester is only available with Gray leather. This might be a problem for buyers who are picky with their car’s color combination. Fortunately, this color selection is the CR-V’s only quirk when it comes to the interior. The 2018 Honda CR-V Touring shows how luxurious a mainstream CUV can be with materials and rich-looking wood accents that make this interior feel closer to an Acura than an entry-level Honda.
Honda has definitely stepped up its game in the technology department, too, with a large digital gauge display for the driver and an even bigger touch-screen layout for infotainment system. The touch-screen has a matte finish to it to help reduce obvious dust and fingerprints. There are plenty of ways to charge mobile electronic devices, too, with a power outlet under the shifter, a power outlet and two USB ports in the center console and a pair of USB charging ports built into the back of the center console.
As we’ve come to expect from Honda interiors in recent years, the highlight of the CR-V’s cabin is its massive center console with a configurable tray that can be adjusted or removed to conceal and store just about anything you can think of from a laptop to a workout-sized water bottle. Speaking of space, the cabin is roomy enough for five adults and 39.2 cubic feet of cargo behind the seats, but if more cargo space is needed, the rear seats can fold down to open up 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space. The load floor cover can be adjusted to maximize cargo volume or to provide for a perfectly flat surface.
2018 Honda CR-V Powertrain
In its base LX trim level, the 2018 Honda CR-V offers a value-minded 2.4-liter inline-four rated at 184 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque with 26 mpg city and 32 mpg highway (FWD models). All other trims are powered by the newer 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injected inline-four that is more efficient and more powerful. This engine produces 190 horsepower and 179 lb-ft of torque, and our all-wheel-drive tester had EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Combined with its 14-gallon fuel tank, that gives the 2018 Honda CR-V has a highway driving range of more than 400 miles!
On the road, the 2018 Honda CR-V is surprisingly fun to drive for a compact crossover, and while I won’t go as far to say the CR-V is sporty, it is far more entertaining than other crossovers in this segment. The turbocharged engine delivers impressive acceleration, and the newly engineered variable ratio electric power steering is surprisingly responsive without a hint of jerkiness. One of the most notable aspects of driving the new CR-V is how quiet the cabin is at highway speeds, and as icing on the cake, this peppy CR-V can also has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. Opting for all-wheel drive will cost you $1,400, but it greatly improves traction and provides slightly better off-road dimensions (with more ground clearance and better approach and departure angles).
2018 Honda CR-V Safety
When we last tested the CR-V, it hadn’t received its safety rating yet, but the results have been announced since then with almost perfect marks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Honda CR-V a five-star overall crash rating, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a Top Safety Pick rating – missing a Top Safety Pick+ rating with an Acceptable rating for headlights even though this tester was equipped with the optional LED headlights.
Standard on the CR-V Touring are driving assist features such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Monitor.
2018 Honda CR-V Overall
The fact that the 2018 Honda CR-V carries over unchanged shows just how good this crossover was when it debuted last year. There is no rest for the weary, however, so don’t expect Honda to sit on its laurels in this segment. We could see a more fuel-efficient CR-V Hybrid on sale before this time next year. Over the years, the Honda CR-V has gotten bigger, more stylish and more efficient, but one thing that has remained the same is its value.
With a starting price of $24,150*, the 2018 Honda CR-V packs a lot of value in base form, while stepping up to the $32,650* Touring trim level combines welcomed luxury with a still-affordable price. Since this trim level comes fully loaded, the only feature added to this tester was the all-wheel-drive system, which gave our CR-V an as-tested $35,025.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Honda dealership and test drive the 2018 Honda CR-V today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.