2018 Honda CR-V

2018 Honda CR-V Review

Always a sensible choice, the CR-V offers welcome doses of polish and pizzazz for 2018.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

The Honda CR-V was redesigned last year and, frankly, we were surprised by how deep the changes went. Rather than phone in some superficial tweaks to a top-selling model, Honda gave it a ground-up overhaul that decisively parted ways with its predecessor. The 2018 Honda CR-V sets a new pace for its rivals to follow.

Among the tricks up this fifth-generation CR-V's sleeve is a turbocharged engine that comes on all trims except for the base LX. With ample low-end torque and a fuel-sipping design — fuel economy climbs as high as 34 mpg highway, according to EPA estimates — the turbo engine is a natural fit in the CR-V.

The 2018 Honda CR-V also benefits from an overhauled suspension that reduces body roll in corners without compromising its historically compliant ride. The wheelbase is longer, the front and rear tracks are wider, and there's even an extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance for those who found that the previous CR-V scraped its stomach too often in light-duty off-roading. All-wheel drive remains an option for those mild excursions into the dirt, as well as for increased stability in wet weather.

Inside, the CR-V follows the latest Civic's lead with a modernized dashboard, a digitally enhanced instrument cluster, and an updated touchscreen that thankfully includes a physical volume knob. There's also more rear legroom than in earlier models and an exceptional 75.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo space that makes the supposedly compact CR-V a legitimate alternative to midsize SUVs.

Add it all up and the CR-V is a strong contender for best-in-class honors, despite tough competition from crossover rivals such as the more rugged Subaru Forester and the more athletic Nissan Rogue.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Honda CR-V as one of Edmunds' Best Family SUVs and Best Small SUVs for this year.



what's new

Comprehensively redesigned last year, the 2018 Honda CR-V carries over unchanged.

we recommend

We're torn between the EX and the EX-L. The latter has desirable luxury features such as leather upholstery, a programmable power liftgate and a premium audio system. We liked it enough to buy one for our long-term test fleet. But do you really need those amenities in your compact crossover? If you just need a practical utility vehicle, the cheaper EX offers generous features of its own, including a sunroof, and it comes standard with the same turbocharged engine and a 7-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Honda CR-V is offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. The LX isn't exactly bare-bones, but it does have a less powerful engine along with a 5-inch display screen and no sunroof. Step up to the EX and you get a standard sunroof plus a 7-inch touchscreen, a power driver seat and a more powerful, turbocharged engine. The EX-L tacks on items such as leather, premium audio and a power liftgate, while the Touring goes all in with LED headlights, a subwoofer and more.

Opt for the base LX and you'll get a decent roster of equipment, including a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower, 180 pound-feet of torque) paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive, an electronic parking brake, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 5-inch color LCD dashboard display, and a four-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Honda's various advanced safety technologies are not offered on the LX, although all-wheel drive is optional as on all trims.

The EX ups the ante with a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine (190 hp, 179 lb-ft), remote start, 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, body-colored door handles and spoiler, rear privacy glass, a retractable cargo cover, keyless entry and start, an upgraded driver information center, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver's seat, and heated front seats.

Infotainment features include a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio phone integration, satellite radio, an upgraded rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, numerous advanced safety features (automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking) and second-row USB charging ports.

The EX-L's upgrades include a programmable-height power liftgate, driver-seat memory settings, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat (though it lacks a height adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an eight-speaker audio system with HD radio. A navigation system is optional on the EX-L but not on the lesser trims.

The top-of-the-line Touring boasts LED headlights, dual chrome exhaust tips, roof rails, automatic wipers, hands-free functionality for the power liftgate, ambient interior lighting, a navigation system and a subwoofer for the audio system.

Aside from the EX-L's optional navigation system, there are no factory options for the 2018 CR-V, so the only question is which trim level is right for you.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2017 Honda CR-V EX-L (turbo 1.5L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration4.0 / 5.0
Braking4.0 / 5.0
Steering5.0 / 5.0
Handling4.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.5 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.5 / 5.0
Driving position4.0 / 5.0
Roominess5.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Utility

5.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage5.0 / 5.0
Cargo space5.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.0 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
With capable if not thrilling acceleration, composed handling and confident highway manners, the turbocharged CR-V is a multidisciplined competitor. If you're looking for a small SUV that doesn't makes compromises for its size, this Honda fits the bill.

Acceleration

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Small-displacement turbocharged engines often struggle in SUVs, but not the 1.5-liter engine in the CR-V. It's quicker than most rivals, providing good low-end oomph for scooting through city streets. You won't be nervous on a freeway onramp, and you won't need to slam on the gas to pass slowpokes.

Braking

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Owners will find linear and progressive responses from the brake pedal during both light and hard stops. In our emergency braking testing, the CR-V's best stop from 60 mph took 116 feet, which falls in line with what we expect from compact SUVs.

Steering

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Steering resistance builds naturally as you turn the wheel, giving the CR-V a sense of precision and confidence. The wheel also returns to center smoothly, ensuring stability on the freeway. A standout in the class.

Handling

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The CR-V strikes an admirable balance between handling and ride quality. Midcorner bumps and other road irregularities don't upset it, and body roll is minimal. You can confidently snake up a curvy road without sickening your passengers or unnecessarily triggering the stability control.

Drivability

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Continuously variable automatic transmissions often feel strange, but the CR-V's is among the best. Accelerating from a stop feels natural, but full-throttle acceleration feels a bit odd as the engine speed remains constant. Cruise control doesn't manage speed going downhill, a potential annoyance.

Off-road

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Though it isn't designed for challenging off-road driving, the 7.8 inches (front-wheel drive) to 8.2 inches (all-wheel drive) of ground clearance means you won't have problems with the occasional unpaved road. Hill descent control is not available.

Comfort

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The CR-V's ride is quieter and more supple than ever, and accommodations for front and rear occupants are spacious and inviting. You may hear some engine noise while accelerating up a freeway onramp, but the sound falls on the pleasing side of the spectrum.

Seat comfort

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The power driver's seat (EX models and up) provides eight-way adjustment, plus four-way lumbar, ensuring a fit for drivers of all sizes. You won't hear complaints during long trips from the backseat unless you have someone in the center. Alas, only the driver gets to adjust seat height.

Ride comfort

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The CR-V is composed and settled over almost any kind of surface. Impacts happen once and that's it, thanks in part to fluid-filled suspension bushings and Honda's decision to stay with reasonably sized 18-inch wheels. There's plenty of tire sidewall to absorb the bumps, resulting in a smooth ride.

Noise & vibration

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You'll notice some wind and tire noise, but the engine is only noticeable when you step hard on the gas — and it doesn't sound bad either. None of it is loud enough to drown out conversations or force occupants to raise their voices.

Climate control

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Drivers sensitive to temperature changes might need to fiddle with the controls more than they prefer since the system doesn't work as well at low settings. Heated front seats are standard on all trims except LX. Rear passengers will appreciate vents on the back of the front armrest.

Interior

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The interior design improves practicality and offers a welcome dose of style compared to the last-generation model. Owners will appreciate little tricks such as adjusting the opening height for the rear hatch for tight garages and venting all four windows on hot days by holding the unlock button.

Ease of use

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The physical controls are very intuitive, but the touch-sensitive buttons can be annoying. Some on-screen buttons are small, and it's too easy to graze the touch-sensitive volume control on the steering wheel. The digital temperature and fuel gauges flanking the speedometer wash out in sunlight.

Getting in/getting out

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The wide front and rear door openings provide plenty of head and leg clearance on the way in. The CR-V is a little taller than before, but it remains just as easy to step inside — overlapping doors with narrow sills help. Occupants of all sizes will have little difficulty entering or exiting.

Driving position

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It's simple to put the seat and steering wheel right where you want, and the gauge cluster is easy to see in its entirety. The armrests sit at equal heights, but what looks like a pad for your right knee is actually hard plastic, which might be uncomfortable for the longer-legged.

Roominess

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Never mind the compact part of this SUV's class. Interior dimensions are generally larger than those of rivals, with exception of front head- and legroom, which are by no means tight. Rear seating space is the biggest you'll find in a small SUV. Four full-size adults will fit with zero problems.

Visibility

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The windshield pillars don't obstruct your front view, and it's easy to sense the front bumper's location. Blind spots are minimal, and monitoring is standard on all but the LX. Rear headrests encroach slightly on the rear window but don't obstruct. The backup camera covers a wide viewing angle.

Quality

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Flowing interior panels and trim inserts show generally convincing quality, as does the leather adorning the seats and steering wheel (EX-L and Touring trim levels). A well-built vehicle in every respect.

Utility

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The CR-V is a master of practicality. From its enormous and multiconfigurable storage capacity to its many clever compartments, this Honda makes you question if a larger SUV is necessary.

Small-item storage

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The reconfigurable center console has a deep storage well and a sliding tray that's rubberized and textured. It also doubles as a cover for hiding small valuables. From large cupholders to a phone shelf and deep door pockets, there's a place for your and your passengers' items.

Cargo space

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At 39.2 cubic feet, the CR-V's rear storage space is at the top of the class, rivaling room in larger SUVs. The rear seats flip down easily and softly, expanding space to a massive 75.8 cubic feet. A clever height-adjustable cargo floor lets you choose between a flat loading surface or more space.

Child safety seat accommodation

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All rear seats have easily accessible LATCH anchors. The large rear passenger area means car seats fit without moving the front seats. Outboard rear seats each have a tether anchor on the rear seatback. The center seat's tether anchor is in the roof, which can slightly obstruct rear visibility.

Towing

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The CR-V offers a 1,500-pound towing capacity, which is about the norm for the class. It cannot be towed behind a motorhome.

Technology

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With smartphone integration and advanced safety features standard on the majority of trims (all but LX), the CR-V makes a strong case on paper. Alas, the entertainment system and voice controls can be annoying. But that doesn't matter much if you plug in your smartphone, which is fully supported.

Audio & navigation

edmunds rating
Honda replaced the volume slider with a physical knob, but other aspects of the touchscreen's menus still feel clunky and stilted. Smartphone owners with good reception can get navigation for free via Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, so they can think twice about buying the optional navigation system.

Smartphone integration

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Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration are standard on all but the base LX trim. Front and rear occupants get two USB ports each.

Driver aids

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Lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise, forward collision, and blind-spot monitoring are standard on all but LX trims. Collision monitoring throws the occasional false positive during congested city driving, but most systems are otherwise unobtrusive or easily disabled.

Voice control

edmunds rating
Standard voice controls are somewhat cumbersome, such that it's often faster to rely on the physical or on-screen controls. Fortunately, a long press on the voice control button lets you engage the advanced Siri or Google Voice voice recognition system when your smartphone is plugged in.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.