Buying a used Honda CR-V? Here's what you need to know.
Question: What do you get when you wrap a compact car platform in SUV clothing?
Answer: One of Honda’s most popular vehicles of the last 20 years — its Compact Recreational Vehicle, otherwise known as the CR-V. The Honda CR-V has sold like hotcakes every year since 1997, and it’s so popular that customers bought more than 357,000 CR-Vs in 2016 — more than five times as many CR-Vs as Honda sold in its first year.
It’s true that used CR-Vs at CarMax can be found for an average price of less than $20,000 — but affordability isn’t the only thing that makes the CR-V such a hot selling car. Honda CR-V reviews are also very positive. For instance, Car and Driver magazine puts it at the top of its compact crossovers and SUVs list, and U.S. News & World Report rates the 2017 Honda CR-V as an 8.9/10 as part of its annual automotive review report.
Here's a look at why everyone loves the Honda CR-V, and seven reasons why it deserves a spot on your short list when you’re shopping for a used compact SUV.
- Four trim levels to choose from. The 2017 Honda CR-V is offered in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels, and each offers more benefits and features. The entry-level LX comes with front-wheel drive and features like a rearview camera and LED daytime running lights. The most prestigious model in the lineup is the Honda CR-V Touring, which is packed with enhanced features like all-wheel drive (AWD), a satellite-linked navigation system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, leather-trimmed interior, and a 1.5L turbocharged engine. The CR-V AWD is a handy vehicle for different types of terrain where extra stability and traction is needed.
- Up to 34 mpg on the highway. With the CR-V, you’ve got the choice of a 1.5L turbocharged engine or a naturally-aspirated 2.4L engine; both of these four-cylinder engines offer a similar driving experience and provide solid fuel economy, especially when you consider that this is one area that the CR-V’s main competitor, the Toyota RAV-4, lacks. The RAV-4, complete with a 2.5L, four-cylinder engine, only gets about 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. These numbers decrease in higher-trim levels that feature AWD. The CR-V bests the RAV-4 in every single trim level when it comes to fuel economy. The LX gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while other trim models can achieve up to 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The CR-V has both a responsive engine and the ability to take you farther between fill ups.
- Interior comfort meets exterior style. There's an old adage in the auto industry that it’s the exterior that attracts you, but it’s the interior that keeps you. The CR-V’s modern, sophisticated shape has been a favorite with customers since its initial launch. But what about the interior? Redesigned for 2017, the cabin is much more open and clean looking than ever, and areas that were once covered by plastic are now soft-touch surfaces. While cloth is the standard seat material, leather is now an option. One common issue with compact crossovers, and with previous CR-V models, is a second row of seats that leaves adult passengers feeling cramped. That's not the case with the 2017 CR-V — there's more space to give backseaters a more comfortable ride. In fact, if you're riding in the backseat of the 2017 CR-V, you're now privy to more than 40 inches of legroom in all trim levels. That's only about an inch less legroom than what front-seat passengers have (41.3 inches).
- Lots of cargo space. One of the big benefits to buying any type of SUV is the amount of usable space you’ll get for your passengers and their stuff. And, total cargo space is another area where the Honda CR-V outshines its competition. Specifically, the CR-V offers almost 40 cubic feet of space without the rear seats folded down — enough for plenty of suitcases, golf clubs, hockey bags, and more. When the rear seats are folded down, the vehicle offers more than 75 cubic feet of space. That's about two more cubic feet more than the RAV-4’s seats-down luggage area. It’s the kind of storage capacity you’ll find in midsize SUVs that cost more and don’t offer such substantial fuel economy.
- Plenty of tech goodies. The CR-V also scores high marks when it comes to packing technology into it to make the driving experience more enjoyable. It's jammed with standard features like a multi-angle rear camera, smart entry, and blind spot detection, but it also incorporates a whole lot more into its platform. For instance, rain-sensing windshield wipers come standard on the Touring edition models. Another neat feature is the Honda Sensing package, which is offered as standard beginning with the EX trim model. Honda Sensing includes lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, and a road-departure warning system. Finally, drivers can listen to all of their favorite tunes via USB connectivity, Apple CarPlay®, and Android Auto®. A touch-screen display is standard on trim levels, starting with the EX.
- All-wheel drive gets you where you’re going. Most people buy an SUV for its all-weather driving capability; the CR-V may be a smaller vehicle compared to other SUVs, but it doesn’t cut AWD out of the equation. It operates as a front-wheel drive vehicle most of the time, except for when its electronic stability system senses uneven or slippery surfaces; here the CR-V gives you AWD so you can keep you moving, confidently, to your destination.
- They’re quite affordable. The CR-V is as stylish and comfortable as it is easier on your wallet. At this writing, the average price of CR-Vs at CarMax is less than $20,000. With its mix of performance, economy, and interior comfort, you'd be hard-pressed to get a better value than what you’ll find with the Honda CR-V.
“The CR-V bests the RAV-4 in every trim level when it comes to fuel economy.”
“The Honda CR-V’s interior is redesigned for 2017, and it’s packed with new features.”
Based on this list, it should be clear how the CR-V has become one of the more popular SUVs on the road today. Its perky combination of style, power, and affordability makes it a hard vehicle to ignore in the crossover SUV segment, especially considering that it tops its closest competitor, the Toyota RAV-4, in a head-to-head comparison.
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