Photos courtesy of Honda Canada

Honda announced a mid-cycle refresh today for its compact crossover stalwart, the CR-V. On the slate are a new powertrain, as well as a raft of electronic upgrades for the Touring trim level. The front fascia has received a mild facelift, and on all trims above LX, LED running lights surround the headlight clusters. The rear is also said to have received some attention, but you’d be hard pressed to distinguish the revamped derrière from the original.

A new SE trim slots in above the base LX trim, adding the Display Audio system with a 7-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, push-button start, 17″ wheels, front wiper de-icers, and a security system. The EX 2WD trim has been deleted; front-wheel drive is now only available on the LX.

The big story here is the Earth Dreams 2.4-litre engine, bringing with it better torque at lower revs (181 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm vs 163 @ 4400 in the 2014), as well as reducing the revs required for maximum horsepower (185 hp @ 6400 rpm vs 185 @ 7000). The new engine, combined with the now-standard CVT, helps to improve fuel economy figures.

Honda CR-V fuel economy (EPA city/hwy/combined L/100 km)
2014 10.2 / 7.6 / 9.0 10.7 / 7.8 / 9.4
2015 8.7 / 6.9 / 8.1 9.0 / 7.1 / 8.4
Change 1.5 / 0.7 / 0.9 1.7 / 0.7 / 1.0

Yes, it’s the dreaded C-word. But before you bash out a forum post about how the CR-V has been transformed into a box of buzzy, droning death, remember that this is the same stepped CVT that’s found in the Fit that Greg Wilson test drove and appreciated (I’d say enjoyed, but that might be considered libel). Moreover, a manual transmission hasn’t been available on the CR-V since 2006.

Step inside, the dashboard remains largely unchanged, unlike the Civic or Fit, which have the centre stack turned to face the driver. In fact, the most obvious change doesn’t affect the driver at all: the centre console now has rear-facing HVAC vents.

However, it’s a different story once the vehicle is in motion, when you’ll notice Honda has added a full suite of safety tech and amenities. SE models and up get LED running lights, front wiper de-icers, and a anti-theft security system. EX models and up also get LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring. Spring for the Touring trim and you get a veritable alphabet soup of safety features: adaptive cruise control (ACC), forward collision warning (FCW), collision mitigation braking system (CMBS), lane departure warning (LDW), lane keeping assist system (LKAS). You also get the convenience of rain-sensing wipers and a power tailgate. All this for a modest price-bump of just $340 over the 2014 model.

2015 Honda CR-V headlight2015 Honda CR-V2015 Honda CR-V dashboard
2015 Honda CR-V headlight, dashboard. Click image to enlarge

Being a refresh, external dimensions remain largely the same, with a negligible 27 mm increase in length. Ditto for passenger and cargo volume. The curb weight increases by 32 to 36 kg depending on your trim – this can be attributed to a number of factors: the new powertrain, the improved Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) II chassis architecture and the hardware to support the new technology. All this riding on an updated suspension design retuned for a more refined ride.

Indeed, refinement is at the core of Honda’s announcement today. The automotive giant has already struck upon a winning formula of value, performance and comfort; the 2015 changes serve mainly to bring the feature set of the CR-V in line with its other offerings. Notice that the most significant improvements aside from the powertrain affect only the top-end Touring trim. The new SE trim serves as a technology package upgrade for the base LX trim, for people who want the functionality of having keyless entry and a back-up camera, but don’t want to shell out for EX-level features like the sunroof, fog lights or dual-zone auto HVAC. (Unless your name is Tom Sedens, in which case you’ll need the lit vanity mirrors.)

The 2015 CR-V is already live on Honda Canada’s website and is expected to hit dealerships later this month.

Manufacturer’s Website:
Honda Canada

Photo Gallery:
2015 Honda CR-V

Pricing: 2015 Honda CR-V
LX 2WD: $25,990
LX: $28,350
SE: $29,790
EX: $31,790
EX-L: $33,790
Touring: $35,790

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