The 2015 Honda CRV has not undergone a complete makeover. Yet this year’s refresh has been so significant that the CR-V has garnered rave reviews. The 2015 edition has been ranked Number One among Affordable Compact SUVs by US News and World Reports.

Motor Trend has chosen the Honda CRV 2015 to be their Number One SUV of the year as well. It had to be real tough to make it to the top of a list that includes 21 world-renowned competitors.

Why buy a Honda CRV 2015? What makes this one so special? Well, the new Honda CR-V offers a winning combination that adds up to a good buy, whether you opt for the well-equipped Base edition or the Touring trim.

1. Honda CRV: Fuel Economy

Although a vehicle can’t be rated on gas mileage alone, this list must begin with the CRV’s outstanding numbers. After all, the reason that many people are buying these crossovers is the chance to drive an SUV with good fuel economy.

The Honda CRV 2015 - right side.

The Honda CRV 2015 – right side.

The Honda CR-V gets 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. How much can this save? Well, with rivals that are still hovering at 23/30 mpg or less, the CRV’s numbers can add up to significant savings [= 9.1/7.2/8.3L/100 km city/highway/combined].

You know you can trust these numbers, too, because Honda is consistently ranked as one of the most fuel efficient automakers in the world.

2. Honda CR-V: Performance and Handling

In its quest for better gas mileage, Honda also replaced the old five-speed automatic with a new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which again increases fuel efficiency. This effective unit really does offer a smoother transition at gear changes. It also makes better use of the engine’s performance which is ample at 185 horsepower.

With updated steering and a better suspension, this crossover’s handling has been improved as well. Then there’s the real-time All Wheel Drive. This intelligent AWD reads the road conditions and transfers power to the rear wheels to get the crossover out of a jam.

I remember a situation where I needed to cross a high road curb, and the AWD kicked in and made it a breeze. Same thing happened when I was driving off road and the sand started to get soft and deep, yet I managed to come out of it easily. I trust the AWD system, in spite of any Swedish tests!

3. Interior Attributes

Crossovers must be spacious to offer a true alternative to the family sedan. The CRV front seats offer generous wiggle room, and the backseats, according to US News, are ‘some of the roomiest in their class”.

The rear doors are especially wide to make it easier to load up your friends. The interior materials and workmanship have hit a new high.

The cabin offers a higher level of design quality that is noticeable, especially when compared with peers and predecessors. Structural changes have led to a significant increase in ride quality and a reduction in road noise.

It seems Honda has been listening to consumers who have been clamoring for these improvements.

4. True Utility

Many crossovers shortchange the owner in the utility department. The CRV offers a massive 37 cubic foot hold that puts many rivals to shame. This can be stretched to over 70 cubic feet with the pull of an auto-spring lever to fold the backseat flat.

Drivers who regularly haul gear or who expect a decent amount of space for luggage will prefer the CRV over most competitors.

The Honda CRV 2015 offers 70 cubic feet with the backseat folded.

The Honda CRV 2015 offers 70 cubic feet with the backseat folded.

5. Dash Tech

Everything about the CRV’s dash seems to shout “modern car”. The optional 7-inch touchscreen offers a simple way to interface with your streaming audio choices. Pandora interface is a special feature that is unique to Honda.

The Honda CRV 2015's 7-inch touch DVD / Navi / Radio / MP3 Player.

The Honda CRV 2015’s 7-inch touch DVD / Navi / Radio / MP3 Player.

For some extra cash, consumers can pack the dash with conveniences such as navigation, dual-zone climate controls, and easy push-button start. Of course, that comes with a price, a slightly expensive one.

The Honda CRV 2015's Dashboard.

The Honda CRV 2015’s Dashboard.

6. Safety

Safety may not be a reason to buy a vehicle, but it sure is a red flag if it’s not in line with today’s high expectations. The 2014 Honda CRV secured a five star safety rating from the federal government, even without this year’s improvements in handling.

The 2015 model should grab the same rating, and now consumers can add crash avoidance features, many of which are offered only on luxury cars, if at all.

7. Honda LaneWatch

Crash avoidance systems are still new, and the CRV is offering one that can’t be found on rivals in the same category. LaneWatch actually broadcasts the area in your blind spot. You’ll see the live images on your dash screen.

This advanced system just takes all of the guesswork out of changing lanes, and it seems like an improvement over blind spot systems that just use icons as warnings.

Needless to say, this system is meant for the high-end models and is not a standard feature.

The Honda CRV 2015's LaneWatch System.

The Honda CRV 2015’s LaneWatch System.

8. Crash Mitigation Systems

Unlike most non-luxury brands that offer collision alerts, Honda chooses to offer two with actual avoidance capabilities. The forward collision system alerts you while the Crash Mitigation System will slow the car to help you out in an emergency.

The lane alert has its own assistant that tugs at the wheel to bring you back into your lane.

These systems, even without the added automatic capabilities, have been recommended by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and its federal counterpart, the NHTSA. By contrast, leading competitor Toyota doesn’t offer the alerts much less crash mitigation or lane assistance.

9. Adaptive Cruise Control

The CRV’s class-superlative Adaptive Cruise Control can speed or slow as you enjoy a less stressful drive. This system is a step toward automated driving, and it is a fun feature to have when you are stuck in busy traffic on the highway. While you steer, ACC actually brakes the car in response to other cars and, when it’s safe, resumes speed to your desired setting.

10. Smart Pricing

The Honda CRV works hard to earn its MSRP. The base model is packed with today’s coveted features. For instance, Honda doesn’t make you pay extra for must-haves like Bluetooth and a rear view camera.

The other two editions add so many options that there are few extras to buy.

Automobile Magazine puts it this way: “No other competitor offers such a well-rounded package as this more efficient, more refined, and better-equipped CR-V does”.

Additionally, in each country, Honda CRVs come in different sets of features and prices, with the lowest model enjoying a handsome set of features, when compared with other contenders.

With so many high marks in so many areas, it’s easy to see why the Honda CRV is garnering positive reviews and winning awards.

It is certainly worth a test drive if you are in the market for a crossover or SUV.

Nissan X-Trail (Rogue) Vs. Honda CRV

Having driven both cars for quite some time, here’s a list of my findings so far. First and foremost, the Honda CRV’s ride is smoother, the engine has more torque and accelerates faster and stronger (which means more fuel consumption), and it’s bigger in size.

The X-Trail has better dashboard electronics, a color LCD screen between the RPM and speedometer with many options, slightly better fuel consumption, and most of all, the cabin is so quiet compared with the CRV.

X-Trail offers the same features as the Honda CRV at a cheaper price, around $2000 less in the same specs (on average). X-Trail is a little bit smaller, and its maintenance fees are a tad less than this of the CRV.


If you can afford the price difference, go for the Honda, but don’t cut down on the features, you’ll regret it if you did!

Honda in UAE

If you reached this post looking for a review of the Honda CRV in UAE, then rest assured that this is a good car you can rely on. Granted, maintaining it is expensive if you go with the dealer, but the high resale value for any Honda in UAE will make it up for you.

Update: Honda CR-V battery failure/ Won’t Start

After little less than 31,000 KMs, the Honda CRV battery suddenly died without giving any signs. Just went for a long drive, parked the car and when I came back, Bam! It won’t start. Tried to hook the battery cables to the running engine of a Nissan X-Trail to no avail, [even tried with a small Toyota truck and failed]. This Honda beast needs a mighty battery. Took the car back to the Al-Futtaim Dubai and they gave me the “this is normal” treatment. Cost me $100+ for a new battery + installation, and this is a special price as I signed up for their maintenance contract.

All photos are copyright HondaBrochures on Flickr.