HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- The redesigned 2015 Honda CR-V goes on sale Wednesday with a more premium feel in a move to keep its mantle as the country’s best-selling crossover.
The CR-V debuted as a fourth-generation model in 2012. Honda has made more than 60 improvements to the vehicle for its midcycle update.
“The CR-V has grown into a major sales pillar in our lineup,” Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda division, said at the vehicle’s national launch in this beach town last week. He called the update for 2015 model year ambitious, with major upgrades across board.
The 2015 CR-V has a more expressive grille, a lower, sportier stance and upgraded interior materials and finishes intended to appeal to higher-end buyers, Conrad said. Beneath the hood, the CR-V has a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder direct-injection engine and continuously variable transmission.
The redesign is crucial to Honda’s efforts to keep its lead in a segment that has become a sweet spot for automakers, said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst for Edmunds. Compact SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in the U.S., with twice as much market share as 10 years ago, and have the highest conquest rate among major segments, at 79 percent.
The CR-V has claimed the No. 1 spot seven of the last 10 years.
“For many car shoppers, compact SUVs check the boxes for many must-have features: a reasonable price, generous cargo space and utility, and good fuel efficiency, all with a commanding view of the road,” Caldwell said.
The crossover puts out 185 horsepower and its torque has improved 11 percent to 181 pounds-feet. Overall fuel economy has improved 4 percent, with the front-wheel-drive mode achieving 27 mpg in the city, 34 on the highway and 29 combined. The four-wheel drive mode gets 26 mpg in the city, 33 on the highway, and 28 combined.
It comes in five trim lines: the base LX (starting at $24,150), the EX (starting at $26,250), EX-L (starting at $28,850) and EX-L Navi (starting at $29,880). New for the 2015 model year is the upscale Touring trim line, starting at $32,350. All prices include shipping.