By on September 30, 2014

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The Honda CR-V has been the compact SUV sales champion for 7 of the past 10 years. But with competition in the segment heating up, Honda is hoping that their mid-cycle refresh will keep the CR-V attractive to buyers in the fastest-growing segment in the new car market.

Styling tweaks aside, the CR-V gains a new direct-injection 2.4L engine. Horsepower is unchanged, but torque is up 11 percent to 181 lb-ft, while a CVT replaces the venerable 5-speed automatic gearbox. The interior has also undergone a restyling that adds a more modern look and what appear to be better materials.

As of September 1st, the CR-V led the Ford Escape by just under 10,000 units in year-to-date sales. The new mid-cycle changes should help put a bit more distance between the two vehicles, but the CR-V must also contend with new entrants like the Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester, which are vying for market share in a segment ripe with conquest sales.

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35 Comments on “2015 Honda CR-V: Will it Hang On To Compact SUV Sales Crown?...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Honda is addressing the few concerns experienced by its target market by upgrading the interior, refining the exterior and updating the powertrain. It’s a tough marketplace, but CR-V is will continue to lead.

    The only thing that might steal sales is the HR-V / Vezel.

  • avatar

    This is not by anti-honda bias talking. I like the designs of the new Accord, Civic and Pilot. Even the ILX is an attractive car imo and I am sure the CR-V is a really good, reliable, competent cuv. But, what baffles my mind is that there are people who would walk up to a salesman and say they will pay money for it. What causes someone to look at a CR-V and say they want it and will pay for it, will go down as one of the biggest automotive mysteries of our time.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Because I’m 2 years when they go to trade, they know there is “equity” in the vehicle. I’m thankful we bought the Accord in 2012 over my preference, Fusion Sport. Both cars equal in value and the trade in on the Accord is a few thousand more than private sell worth of a top Fusion. You could replace the Fusion with pretty much any other midsizer, including the Camry.

      Plus, Honda products are still smooth and effortless in operation. You know what you’re gettimg, and you know it’ll be good.

      This is why the Pilot is top on our list as our family will be growing in the next year. Even though I’m pushing for a 2008 GX with KDSS… Which is packed full of stuff my wife cares nothing about. ill have to add sound deafening to the Peelot since it’s the top complaint, and one I do share with the Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If you are saying that Honda customers walk into the showroom and offer to pay the full sticker price for the CR-V and other Hondas, I’m afraid that is not true. Honda customers dicker and expect discounts, just like customers of other brands. The days when Hondas automatically went for full sticker price – let alone full sticker price plus a dealer “adjustment” – ended years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      The following response is not meant to be jerky or douchey.

      I’m in market research, and your reaction is what we call “a lack of consumer empathy”. When a company is baffled by consumer demand they need to work on their empathy. Usually the answer is very obvious but unpleasant.

      If the CRV’s success truly baffles you, the answer is probably very simple. It’s a good car from a good brand, with a number of attributes that people find valuable. As much as we may argue that wagons are a better choice (or some other position), we must take an empathetic position to understand the consumer. Simply put: lots of people just plain like the CRV.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Is that a Malibu in your avatar?

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        It is. I think there was a bit of a dustup connected to alluster in the comments section of Jack’s Malibu review.

        Whether or not you’re specifically alluding to that, or just the fact that one could be a proud and defiant Malibu owner criticizing CR-V buyers, I agree with you.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Alluster is an unabashed GM fanboy who has let it slip that his dislike of Japanese cars is partially motivated by his, er, enlightened views on race and ethnicity. The Malibu just adds to the irony of the whole thing.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Not saying the current CR-V is a looker, but the previous gen was truly horrendous looking and yet, it sold like hotcakes.

      Generally, for many buyers, aesthetics is way down the list (tho this is starting to change as models in each segment get increasingly competitive).

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I think if the key to what alluster is saying here is ‘want it’ (feel free to chime in if that’s not what you were talking about) I think I agree somewhat.
      15 year old kids dont have CR-V posters in their room. If anyone out there walks around dreaming that they will own a Cr-V one day, I’d say they were , uhm, not exactly mainstream. People buy CR-V mostly because they need them, or they need something about this size, and some feature of the CR-V makes it better than other cars they could be compared with. It’s not so much ‘want’ as it is ‘avoid’ the other options.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        I don’t know what Norway is like, but I’d gladly take a poster of that CR-V. I hung a 2015 Colorado promotional poster in my room. I got several car posters from book fairs in elementary school (Charger, Gallardo, Tesla Roadster, and some more). Not only did they not stick to my walls, but they also weren’t cars I really enjoyed.

        This is what makes me different from one of my close friends, who, in terms of the auto world, seems like a Jalopnik commenter: I like the “boring” cars. Speed and horsepower don’t matter to me.

  • avatar
    EX35

    It’s a shame that the escape can’t match the reliability of the crv or rav4, because the escape is in a completely different class in terms of chassis solidity. Frankly, it feels like an X1.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    My mother-in-law has the previous skin CRV. I think a 08-9. When new it was a nice car, like most. Loaded with leather and all the bells and whistles. But dang that wore off quick. Two years in and about 50k in mileage that thing became a miserable car to drive. Interior wear was awful, clunky drive train, rattles, etc. Reliable, yes, but not a pleasant car to live with for the duration.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      You should try my parent’s car. They still daily drive their 1997 Honda CR-V. It has actually held up very well over the years, but it’s still a shock to get into. It still has that authentic mouse fur upholstery that Honda used to love in the 1990’s. Mechanically though, it’s in great shape. I would say that it could go another 10 years at least.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Honda leather of that era does not age well from what I’ve seen. At 50K the tranny would be overdue for new fluid, although Honda’s optimistic service schedule probably doesn’t say so. Tired fluid will make for a clunky drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I don’t know how big the difference is between the EU and US models, but I guess they had to decontent the US model (or upgrade the EU model) to be competitive on price.
      The interior plastics does skratch very easily, but my ’07 is as quiet as any 90’s German premium car, with no rattles, and feels pretty solid. It’s a solid upgrade over the 2nd gen,(although the breaks can ‘squeak’ a little occassionally) even if I like them more ‘basic’ to be honest. Mine has only been driven 60K miles and has been very well cared for though.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    IMHO Honda has to catch up to the rest of the competition and make their cars quieter, they have improved lately, but they still need more work on that.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Torque bump should mean more umph (something sorely lacking in my folk’s 2010) and likely less thrashing the engine to get it moving, which combined with the CVT should mean it’s better on fuel (also disappointing in the 2010). I see it’s lead shrinking a bit, but I think it will keep the 2014 crown.

    Keep in mind, Honda isn’t singularly interested in being Number One At All Costs. They’re not Toyota. So even if the CR-V drops to second, third, or even fourth, Honda won’t necessarily care, as long as they’re selling well and making the company money.

    In the CUV segment, it’s not about dominating the competition—there’s just too much of it out there. It’s about hanging tough. There’s plenty of business to go around.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Improvement all around – the CR-V was in my final four last year when I was in the market; the lack of projector headlights was one of the minor things that knocked it out. Interior looks sufficiently upgraded as well.

    Personally I love the shape of the CR-V…it’s unique no doubt, but not Aztek unique.

    The new wheels shown are goofy though. Just give us 5 spoke, ok?

    I know 8 people with CR-Vs in use….haven’t heard a complaint yet…

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      Projector-beams are a pretty small thing to pick on; it probably shows how competent this class has become. Everyone needs to make a very good car to compete and get a slice of pie.

      Are projector beams really better than reflectors (excluding HID setups as those are clearly brighter), aside from looking like an eyeball?

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        I have trouble with nighttime spacial dimension, so yes, the sharper light and cutoff makes a huge difference. Better yet are HIDS and those purple bulbs available at Pep Boys.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Honda’s cheaping out on headlights pisses me off lately. When you can get HIDs on the lowest of econoboxes these days, leaving them off a $30k CUV (upper CRV trims) or, even more annoying, a $37k CUV (the RDX without tech pack) is absurd. So odd, considering the upper Accord levels get LED lights, and Honda was one of the first to bring standard HIDs to the masses back in 1997 or 1998 with the 3G TL.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Honda lags in headlights lately, sad from the company that brought us cheap HIDs in the 3G TL way back when. Their screwy headlight policy on the RDX really ticks me off, $37k for projectors, plus a big black plastic circle where the fogs go if you don’t get the ridiculous $3500 tech pack.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Glad to see the CRV finally gets a real center consol with an armrest on top. I was a first gen crv owner and found those flip down armrests attached to the seats pretty useless. It only took Honda 18 years to fix. Good job!

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Agreed. I’ve owned a 2ng gen, and now a 3rd gen, and the armrests are useless. Especially since they don’t stay level, but follow the angle of the seat back when you adjust it.

  • avatar
    Tifighter

    I read the press release. It has more torque, looks a little better and is now rated 26/33 in awd or 27/34 without. Lots of new equipment and options. More sound deadening. They’re going to sell every one they can make…

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    The CR-V, Honda’s platonic ideal for people looking for A-B transportation with a high seating position. Those who want a modicum of sex appeal or “premium-ness” will still walk straight past it to the CX-5 and Escape.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    They’re too damn big now. Even my previous gen ’09 feels too damn big now. And the Vezel comes pre-lobotomized with the roofline of a coupe. If I buy another Honda, it’ll be a Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      Jolgamazatlan

      Pete Zeiss if you think the CRV looks too damn big now you should see one of these bloated behemoths lumbering down a 400 yr old Mexican el centro street. It is not a pretty sight.

      My wife and I have a theory about the bloated Bracket Creep cars that are designed for North America. We think that they are made too big so that the many corpulent customers can fit better in them. Also they will not see themselves as having a girth problem if their car has one too.

      American clothes are also cheating on sizes. An American small is a medium. A medium is a a large and so forth. That way YOU aren’t fat, your clothes still fit, by golly I’m wearing the same size as when I went to college and my “little” CRV is soooo spacious, I feel tiny in it.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Well, I just meant they’re too big for me. Clearly other people need and want vehicles CR-V size and larger. I’m just getting fed up with the size creep you mentioned and how it’s taken the “cute utes” like the CR-V and RAV4 into ever bloatier iterations.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          The 5th gen. CR-V has grown roughly .3 inches in total length (but moved the spare wheel inside the trunk)1.5 inches in width, but is 1 inch lower than the first generation from ’96 Still, I must admit my 3rd gen still looks massive when parked next to a 1st gen.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Actually the CRV has almost not grown at all since it’s first version. The trunk got longer when they moved the sparewheel and it has grown a bit wider,and the floor has been lowered instead of raising the roof (sacrificing some ground clearance) In total the 4th gen is .3 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider and 1 inch lower than the first.
      So it still occupies about as much space as the first one did in 96, while growing lot roomier on the inside.
      One thing I don’t like so much is that the wheels got twice as big and heavy with the 3rd generation, which affects both handling and comfort,and offcourse, tires get a lot mroe expensive to replace.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Disclaimer: This is the third time I try to post this comment, so I’m sorry if all of the sudden there are thres coment swhowing up here…

    On the outside the CRV has grown .3 inches in length, grown 1.5 inches wider, but has lost about 1 inch or more, depending on version, in roof height (and some more in ground clearance), since 1996. It essentially occupies exactly as much space as it did when the first gen came out, but it definitely looks a lot bigger, and it feels a lot more spacious up front too. It’s all clever packaging and design.

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