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2022 Honda CR-V: The One We Recommend

2022 Honda CR-V: The One We Recommend

Can't wait for the redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V? Find out which version of the 2022 model we think is the best

  • Skip the CR-V Hybrid.
  • Stick to the basics, but not the base LX.
  • Upgrades are worth considering but are not necessary.

A redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V will go on sale later this year. But if you need a new compact crossover SUV now, the popular 2022 CR-V remains worthy of your consideration.

In most respects, this fifth-generation CR-V has aged remarkably well since it first went on sale six years ago. Its tough, angular face gives it a distinctive look — a welcome change of pace compared to most of its blandly styled predecessors. Also, the interior is exceptionally roomy for passengers and cargo alike. Both rear seat space and maximum storage capacity are close to what you'll find in a bigger vehicle like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Safety is another CR-V highlight. The 2022 Honda CR-V earns a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), though the rating applies only to the CR-V Touring equipped with LED headlights. Despite its structural age, the CR-V even turns in a decent performance in the updated IIHS side-impact crash test, which only one of Honda's rivals passed with flying colors.

There is a big flaw with the CR-V, though. Its infotainment system is buggy, laggy and unintuitive. The system wasn't exactly state of the art in 2017, but it feels especially outdated in the wake of newer rivals. Most CR-Vs, however, do have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

So, which version of the 2022 Honda CR-V do we recommend? We think the standard model in EX trim offers the best bang for your buck.

Why you should skip the CR-V Hybrid

Honda offers the 2022 CR-V with a two-motor hybrid drivetrain that equips the SUV with all-wheel drive. The official EPA fuel economy rating is 38 mpg in combined driving, a substantial increase compared to a CR-V AWD with the standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine (29 mpg). Better yet, Honda charges just $1,200 more for a Hybrid EX compared to a normal EX AWD.

The CR-V Hybrid sounds almost too good to be true, and based on our experience, it is.

During testing on our standard 115-mile evaluation loop, it barely cleared 32 mpg. And during a long-term test of a 2021 CR-V Hybrid Touring, the SUV averaged just 29.7 mpg over more than 17,000 miles of driving. Compare these results to our long-term test of the standard CR-V EX-L. That one arrived in 2017, and we put over 40,000 miles on it. The average over the extended test was 27.3 mpg.

So, while the CR-V Hybrid is more efficient, we don't think spending the extra $1,200 is worth a 2.4-mpg improvement, on average.

What you get when you upgrade from LX to EX trim

Regardless of the powertrain, Edmunds recommends the EX trim level mainly because it comes standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. These are effective and genuinely helpful safety features that Honda doesn't offer on the lower-priced LX or the Special Edition.

In addition, the CR-V EX comes with a nicer-looking set of 18-inch alloy wheels, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, and heated side mirrors that make it safer to drive in cold weather. The CR-V EX also adds a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a cargo cover to help hide your luggage, and a security system to help thwart thieves. Fans of SiriusXM satellite radio will find it in the EX, sun-worshippers will enjoy the power sunroof, and families with tech-addicted kids will find the two rear 2.5-amp quick-charging USB ports exceptionally handy.

The CR-V EX also includes the standard features found on the Special Edition model. Honda introduced the Special Edition last year, and it sits one rung up from the base LX on the CR-V trim ladder. Highlights include a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and remote engine starting.

We like the Walk Away auto lock function, too. Set it up, and when you leave the CR-V and walk away, the SUV will automatically lock itself. Thanks to this feature, you never need to second-guess whether your CR-V is secured or not.

Reasons you might want to spend more for EX-L or Touring trim

If you have some room in your budget, you might want to upgrade to the EX-L or Touring grade. Both include leather seats, a better stereo system and a power liftgate. However, if you want LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a hands-free liftgate, wireless smartphone charging or a navigation system, the CR-V Touring is the only choice.

Edmunds says

Choose a standard paint color and keep your hands out of the dealer accessories cookie jar, and a front-wheel-drive 2022 Honda CR-V EX wears an MSRP of $30,135, including the $1,225 destination charge. All-wheel drive is available for an additional $1,500.

As the redesigned 2023 Honda CR-V gets closer to reality, Honda will start offering more attractive lease deals and low-rate financing to help clear the 2022 models from dealership lots. So chances are you'll be able to get a great deal when that happens.

However, if you can wait just a little bit longer, the all-new 2023 CR-V will probably be worth exercising some extra patience.