Honda calls it a “mid-cycle refresh” but there’s little that hasn’t been updated or upgraded on the 2015 Honda CR-V: the engine, transmission, suspension, body structure, interior design, infotainment system, safety features, styling, and pricing have all undergone significant changes – though many are not in plain view. In fact, with these engine and transmission changes, it might be a more significant update than the recent redesign.

Subtle styling differences give the 2015 CR-V a slightly more aggressive look. There’s a new grille, new headlight surrounds, new fog lights and brighter trim on the lower front bumper. Modified tail lights and new silver trim grace the rear view. Still, the CR-V’s basic size and shape haven’t changed much. The body is 27 mm longer but rides on the same 2,620 mm wheelbase as the previous model. The width is the same, but the track is slightly wider due to half-inch wider alloy wheels. Height remains the same for the FWD and AWD models.

Crash safety has been improved with increased torsional and bending stiffness and further structural improvements that help direct collision energy away from the passenger compartment. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2015 Honda CR-V its Top Safety Pick+ designation (which includes the IIHS’ new small-overlap frontal offset crash test); while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a 4-star rating (out of 5) in its 35 mph frontal crash test and 5 stars in its side impact crash test.

Depending on the trim level, 2015 MSRPs have risen between $60 and $1,150, and a new SE AWD trim has been added between the base LX AWD and EX AWD trims. The former EX 2WD trim has been deleted altogether leaving the base LX 2WD as the only trim available with front-wheel drive. The base price of the 2015 Honda CR-V LX 2WD remains unchanged at $25,990 while the LX AWD is $28,350 (up $60); the new SE AWD is $29,890; the EX AWD is $31,890 (up $600); EX-L AWD $33,890 (up $400); and Touring AWD $35,790 (up $1,150).

The big price bump to the Touring trim level is largely owing to its new and exclusive ‘Honda Sensing’ group of active safety features designed to detect collisions and take evasive action if a collision or dangerous maneuver is detected. The 2015 CR-V Touring is the first Honda vehicle to feature Collision Mitigation Braking System and Lane Keeping Assist System and the first CR-V to add Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and the LaneWatch blind spot screen view.

Working in conjunction with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), which warns the driver if the CR-V crosses a lane without the turn signal being activated, Honda’s new Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) uses a camera on the top of the windshield to identify lane markings and automatically steer the CR-V to keep it in the centre of the lane at speeds between 72 km/h and 145 km/h. It’s a weird sensation when the car starts to steer itself and a bit frightening when it ceases steering automatically because the lane markings have disappeared. Still, the driver can override it any time, or just turn it off. LKAS also deactivates if the driver removes their hands from the steering wheel (or fails to provide steering inputs for a length of time). And in the absence of lane markings, the steering reverts to normal and the driver is responsible for steering.

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