$21,327 - $29,693

2018 Honda CR-V Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2018 Honda CR-V has a sufficient base engine and a more potent optional turbocharged engine. Fuel economy with each is high for the class. The CR-V has a comfortable ride quality but less than engaging handling.

  • "We're attacking some mildly challenging, serpentine stretches of asphalt and the all-new 2017 Honda CR-V is holding its own. No wild-child sport modes, no fantastic claims of 'dynamism,' just an honest to goodness, well-engineered crossover with a buttoned-down chassis and enough power to have a little fun. If it can manage to handle its business out here, then the CR-V is pretty much assured capable of tackling anything modern suburbia can throw at it." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • Let's get this out of the way straight off: If you're looking for a lively driving experience, the CR-V shouldn't be on your short list. There are far better options out there if that's your priority (the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Subaru Forester XT come to mind, among others). …What does the CR-V do right, then? Just about anything the average (read: non-enthusiast) consumer wants." -- Left Lane News (2017)
  • The goal of these changes, which touched pretty much every part of the powertrain and handling: Bring the CR-V's driving experience up to par with the rest of the class. Were they successful? Partially." -- Cars.com (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The CR-V comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower. The optional turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder produces 190 horsepower. The base engine gets 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, while the optional engine gets 28/34 mpg.

Acceleration and power is adequate from the base four-cylinder, but the turbocharged engine is more capable. A standard continuously variable automatic transmission shifts smoothly and makes the most of the engine’s power, no matter which engine it’s paired with.

  • "The … CR-V now offers two means of motivation -- the carryover 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that powers base LX models or the new 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder used in the rest of the lineup. While you might associate ‘turbo’ with ‘speed,’ the chasm between the two engines isn't vast. They actually have similar power output, but the smaller engine has the edge in fuel economy. It doles out its turbo power with immediacy and feels bigger than its displacement figure. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) used in all CR-Vs is among the best around, and readily feigns kicking down gears when pressed." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "In normal driving conditions, the 1.5-liter turbo feels plenty peppy in the CR-V. That's partly due to Honda's CVT transmission, which, like the units in the Accord and Civic, is equipped with a torque converter for smooth initial acceleration. Unless you floor the accelerator and leave it there until well past the legal speed limit, the endless drone you hear from some competitors' CVT gearboxes is notably absent in the 2017 CR-V." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • One problem with most small, turbocharged engines is that it takes a moment for power to arrive if you have to hurry away from a stop. In most driving, you don't really notice anything lacking, which makes it all the more surprising when you slam your foot down and not much happens. And that's the case here. However, full-throttle acceleration is quite linear if not overly strong, and the moaning engine leaves no question that it's working hard to satisfy. On the plus side, 'kickdowns' from the CVT automatic are fairly quick to arrive when the throttle is stabbed at speed, which isn't always the case with CVTs." -- Consumer Guide (2017)

Handling and Braking

The CR-V has standard front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional. Ride quality is comfortable, even over bumps in the road. Handling is poised but not engaging or athletic.

  • "The CR-V's handling is good but not exceptional, the ride comfortable without being too soft and the interior devoid of obnoxious exterior noise or maddening squeaks and rattles." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Honda's determination to put some excitement back into its products manifests in the CR-V with excellent chassis dynamics and sharp steering. A stiffer steering column and fluid-filled suspension bushings are said to deliver both better ride compliance and more precise path control. You can rush this car if you need to without everything falling apart and your passengers screaming for relief. It holds a corner with confidence and connects you with a direct line to the pavement." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • Improved body structure and increased stiffness yielded a quieter ride, and the suspension tuning is perfect for a family-hauling road-trip machine, with bumps dispatched with a gentle thump and very little crash-through. Steering on the CR-V is numb, but target shoppers will rarely drive the crossover hard enough to notice or care." -- Truck Trend (2017)

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