2014 Honda CR-V Touring
2014 Honda CR-V Touring
2014 Honda CR-V Touring. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

The first thing your writer noticed about the 2014 Honda CR-V on a recent test drive was its floor, which is weird. Loading some gear, I expected a typical hip-height crossover load floor, but was met with one that sits about knee-height instead. So, the CR-V’s cargo area is curiously deep. And that’s not because they’ve ditched the spare tire either, since there’s one underneath the floor.

Somehow, and delightfully, Honda designed the floor of the CR-V to be of a very low profile, and numerous benefits result. The low floor translates into easy gear loading, easy access for four-legged companions, easy step-in for two-legged companions, low mounting of the seats within the body, and (therefore) plenty of headroom in both rows. Test drivers well into six-foot territory should find plenty of melon-room in here. The rear-seat floor is even completely flat, despite the presence of AWD system hardware and a driveshaft bolted beneath. So, there’s no unsightly hump chewing into the foot space of that trivial middle rear passenger.

Clever thing, the CR-V’s floor. But after all, clever design maximizing interior space has been a well-known Honda trait for years. Honda boasts other well-known traits that lay the foundation for a gleaming reputation that’s helped sell a lot of CR-Vs over the past two decades, too.

The CR-V is sort of like a Jaguar, Porsche or Lamborghini: it’s the reputation and lineage more than the reviews that appeal strongly to many shoppers. It’s all in the name – you don’t need a review to reinforce that that a vehicle like an XK, 911, Murciélago or CR-V are probably going to be excellent.

Although for the Honda, it’s not shock-and-awe exhaust notes or feats of internal combustion awesome-sauceness that shoppers are after. It’s the wholesome stuff – like reliability, resale value, owner satisfaction, fuel economy, safety, and the warm fuzzies that result from knowing you’ve made a good choice. Here’s a model that quietly but fully leverages its history and brand reputation towards meeting the needs of an extremely level-headed shopper.

If you’re interested in a CR-V, you probably don’t need me to tell you much about it, but that’s my job, so I will.

For model year 2014, that shopper gets the same new-generation CR-V that launched initially in 2012. All models come with a 2.4L, free-revving VTEC four-cylinder, making 185 horsepower, to which is bolted a five-speed automatic. An ‘ECON’ mode helps save fuel by dialing in reduced responsiveness if you aren’t in a rush, and green ‘Eco-Guide’ mood lights surrounding the speedometer tell you, in real time, how happy Mother Nature is with your light-footed driving and coach you to use the throttle gently to save fuel.

2014 Honda CR-V Touring2014 Honda CR-V Touring2014 Honda CR-V Touring
2014 Honda CR-V Touring. Click image to enlarge

Short gearing in first gets the CR-V off the line with decent snap, and power piles up at higher revs before the automatic calls for an upshift just shy of its 7,100 rpm redline. Drivers can click the little ‘D3’ button on the gear shifter to summon a downshift ahead of passing or a hill-climb, too.

Test drivers cross-shopping the market will find power output that’s a little more eager and refined than a comparable four-cylinder Outback or Outlander, with the RAV4 likely amounting to the closest competitor here where powertrain refinement is concerned. The CR-V’s engine isn’t quiet when pushed, but it likes to work, is appreciably smooth, and rarely feels strained.

Ride-wise, CR-V is a little milder and more laid-back than the tighter and stiffer RAV4, but perhaps not as quiet and soft as an Outback. I’d peg it similarly to a Mitsubishi Outlander – comfortable and relaxed on the highway, sporty but not uncomfortably so, and boasting a quiet and composed ride from which rougher roads can coax plenty of noise and sharp bouncing.

A Mazda CX-5 or Hyundai Santa Fe will likely feel and sound a bit more sorted on the rough stuff. The new Jeep Cherokee even more so. Ultimately, CR-V has an all-around mix of tautness and comfort that should work for most drivers, most of the time.

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