We expect the latest Honda CR-V to be competent—they always are, in an anonymous way—but the new sixth-generation model is much more impressive than that. It’s a complete package that surpasses its weight on multiple levels.
That impression starts as soon as you close the door and start rolling, as the structure of the new CR-V immediately feels tight, quiet and solid. The body shell is stiffer, and there is more sound insulation in the areas of the engine cowling, firewall and instrument panel. The hybrid version goes a step further with thicker front side glass and an acoustically treated windshield.
Once you’re cruising, the new CR-V delivers the kind of smoothness you’d expect from a high-end vehicle. Steering is willing and paired with a chassis that cuts a steady arc through turns. The Sport trim’s thicker anti-roll bars inspire greater confidence, but the ride remained calm even on the twisty, broken pavement sections of our 10Best loop.
The interior also looks rich, with the same attractive styling theme as the Honda Civic, winner of the 10 Best Cars. The controls are all logical, and the infotainment interface feels familiar and approachable. Both rows of seats are spacious and comfortable, and there’s plenty of cargo capacity under the hatch.
Two powertrains are available. 190-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four paired with continuously variable automatic transmission in EX and EX-L models. It’s generally fun but can get a little rough at work. The Sport and Sport Touring models feature a 204-hp hybrid system that combines a 181-hp electric motor with a 145-hp 2.0-liter engine and a second motor on the rear axle. The hybrid system behaves without fuss, never drones, and allows the electric motor to move the vehicle smoothly and steadily.
The hybrid’s fuel-saving rewards are substantial: 40 mpg combined, compared to 30 mpg for the turbo four. And the hybrid’s payback is only a few years or so—even less when you consider the content of the higher Sport trim. They are our most recommended version of this highly recommended vehicle.