Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: 2015 Honda CR-V 2.4 SX

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The CR-V was once regarded as the default crossover of choice. When it comes to buying a crossover blindly, the girlfriend, the wife, or the daughter would look at the CR-V and nothing else. Well, it seems Pinoys are a fleeting bunch and the zeitgeist has move on. Today, buyers favor crossovers that provide a particular trait (sporty driving, fuel economy, cavernous space) as opposed to being a master of none. And although mid-cycle refreshes can’t do much to fundamentally change a car’s characteristics, Honda has done all they can with the 2015 CR-V. It behaves pretty much as it ever has, but at least it’s got much more kit to keep up with the Joneses.

Honda’s rework of the CR-V starts with the exterior. The controversial three-bar grille, in itself a move to tie the design of the company’s SUV line together, has been decked in favor of a new solid wing face. First seen in the Honda City and Jazz, it gives the CR-V a more high-tech and definitely more palatable design. This treatment is echoed at the back with a new chrome garnish connecting the tail lamps. Along with the new grille, the headlamps have been changed with a new smoked treatment and daytime running lights. The LEDs sure look great even if they’ve been lifted straight off from Subaru’s design book. Other exterior changes include new bumpers with faux overriders, new alloy wheel designs (same 17-inch size), a new shark’s fin antenna, and less black body cladding than before. The changes are best described as minor, but welcome. It’s funny but these small tweaks do wonders to modernize the CR-V’s three-year old sheet metal.

Outside, the CR-V seems more compact but it still hides an expansive and comfortable interior. There’s capacious space for everyone, front or back, with seats that are decisively more supportive than before. Even the cargo space is flat and allows for the shoving of a week’s worth of groceries or some golf clubs. In terms of seating position, the most comfy one is on the high side creating a feel akin to a genuine SUV rather than a jacked up family car. This “command view” seating allows for good visibility, but extra care must still be exercised because of the CR-V’s expansive dashboard (which is hard to sometimes see out of).

Aside from good space utilization, 2015 is the year Honda’s finally making the case of giving the CR-V a cutting-edge makeover. The i-MID or “Intelligent Multi-Information Display” which displays the clock, music information, fuel economy/range is still there but it’s now supplemented by a new 7-inch touchscreen that doubles as the nervous system for the infotainment. It also acts as a display for the rear parking camera with its dynamic guidelines and changeable views. In theory, having two screens as opposed to one is better, but in practice, the experience is confusing. More than once, you’ll get caught out on which screen to look at. For instance, the i-MID is actually more in the line of sight, so you’ll expect driver-oriented functions to pop out there only to have them displayed on the touchscreen below. It makes matters worse that the i-MID is controlled by steering wheel buttons while the 7-inch touchscreen is only accessible via the screen itself. It just makes no ergonomic sense.

The addition of the touchscreen not only gives the CR-V a fully working navigation system, but also its most unique feature: Lane Watch. Honda touts it as a cost-effective way to alleviate blind spots. Instead of relying on fancy radar sensors, a small camera spouts on the passenger side mirror that gives four times the coverage compared to the side mirror itself. The live video feed also comes with demarcation lines to tell how near or far you are to the traffic behind. And it works automatically either when you press the Lane Watch button on the light stalk or flick the turn signal to the right. Either way, the sensation of having your car’s right side display on the aforementioned touchscreen is jarring at first, but you get used to it. And though it isn’t good practice, you find yourself relying on that giant video feed more and more rather than your own side mirror.

Under the hood, the CR-V continues unchanged from before with 185 horsepower and 220 Nm from its 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine. And despite the Accord moving to the newer, more efficient Earth Dreams powerplant, the 2015 CR-V shoulders on with this old K24 engine. With the ECON button turned off, it’s willing to rev but the behavior is largely canted towards comfort rather than sportiness. It’s quiet and refined while producing ample power to propel this 1,570-kilogram crossover along. It won’t burn the drag strip but at least you’ve got the confidence to overtake when needed. However, engage the ECON and things take a dramatic turn. Having an alien green plant on the dashboard coach you on frugal driving may seem like a gimmick, but it does work. Altering several parameters including engine and air conditioning output, the CR-V suddenly feels sluggish as if its displacement was halved. It’ll refuse to rev unless you really dig on the gas pedal and by then, the green ambient coaching light will turn gray as if to scorn your fossil fuel-burning ways. If you’re puttering in city traffic most of the time, keeping the ECON button is a good exercise. Still, fuel economy is not as good as you’d expect: 6.68 km/L.

The rest of the package feels remarkably the same, eschewing corner-carving performance for long-distance touring comfort. Steering is light and responsive which makes city maneuvers easier at the expense of a numbed-up on-center feel. Cruising through corners, the CR-V feels largely stable though the ride can be on the firm side, especially for the rear occupants. Push it a bit harder though and it begins to sway and roll. It feels like a crossover a size bigger with its propensity to understeer. Still, no one ever buys a crossover just to carve through corners, right? Well, maybe except if you’re a CX-5 or a Forester.

For most buyers out there, the 2015 Honda CR-V presses all the right buttons. Yes, it’s not exactly frugal in this 2.4 SX trim nor can it set your loins on fire, but for the most part, it still does well. It’s roomy, well-designed, well-finished, and now, well-kitted than ever before. Being a careful evolution of a proven formula still seems to work for Honda, but they better start moving faster. If the 2015 CR-V is the one launched three years ago, things could have been very different. As things stand though, it’s now showing its age. Yes, it’s still the default crossover of choice for some, but not for the majority any longer. The Lane Watch is good and all, but Honda’s got to add some more spice to its driving if they want to lure customers back to their stable.

2015 Honda CR-V SX
Ownership 2015 Honda CR-V 2.4 SX
Year Introduced 2012 (Refreshed: 2015)
Vehicle Classification Compact Crossover
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.4
Aspiration Normally Aspired, EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 185 @ 7,000
Nm @ rpm 220 @ 4,400
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91
Transmission 5 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,582
Width (mm) 1,820
Height (mm) 1,685
Wheelbase (mm) 2,620
Curb Weight (kg) 1,570
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Bridgestone Dueler H/T 470 225/65R17 T (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 4
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, Rear Camera
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electronic (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes, Dual
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 6
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. Hate to say it but the nissan x-trail is better than the cr-v, no doubt about it. The thing is, Nissan's aftersales suck, that's the only point against it but other than that, it's just way better than the cr-v.

  2. Better wait for the 2015 Tucson.

    1. No way. Korean cars are crap. When hell freezes over, maybe I'll get one but until then, I'd rather drive Japanese quality cars.

      Get the X-trail or Forester instead.

    2. Korean cars are not crap.
      You are still living in the past.

    3. I can still remember the advice my tito gave me... he said "Alam mo hindi ako sales agent ng Honda pero pintuan pa lang, ramdam mo na difference niya sa toyota at hyundai..." hence, i bought my City, and never was I disappointed :)

      That said... when it comes to SUV I only have 2 in my mind:
      1) Forester
      2) XV

      wala na iba. :)

    4. Hyundai nowadays is a game-changer, only a fool who has not owned their current models and other brands would have a closed minded reaction. We currently own the Santa Fe latest model and a Subaru Forester XT. We previously owned Hondas, Nissans and Toyotas. I have to say, I am impressed with the Santa Fe and rather prefer driving it over the Forester. Mura pa ang diesel and has loads of torque.

    5. That's what I thought before. I thought Hyundai was awesome so I bought one of their cars and boy, it sucked. Service, parts, reliability, all of these are epic fail.

      Better buy a Japanese car. Don't risk it with Korean cars. Trust me, I've been there and it wasn't a pleasant experience.

  3. Still looks like an oversized frog

    1. The new problem with Honda is that they can't design good looking cars anymore. They need a new design head that will move them to the proper direction.

  4. Any news on the Honda HR-V making its way in the country?

  5. If it had better economy.....

  6. How was the flow of traffic when you achieved 6.68km/L? What about highway figures? Is it possible to even achieve 15km/L with this thing?

    1. Typical Metro Manila traffic. This was in late January, so it's not attributable to the Holiday Rush. The 6.68 km/L figure is close the pre-refreshed CR-V 2.4SX which got 7.6 km/L before. When I took it to Bataan, it managed just 13.3 km/L with the ECON mode all the time. So the short answer to your question: no. It cannot achieve 15 km/L. At least with my driving.

    2. Wow. It's a gas guzzler. Honda should have already brought the earthdreams engine and CVT..

  7. YES Korean cars are crap.

  8. I bought an Elantra back 2012 and it was the most regrettable decision I ever made. The car itself felt low quality in the long run but what's really worse is their service. It sucks, big time. It happened during PMS, they showed me that the check engine light was lit. They said it was because of the oxygen sensor so I said sure, replace it. Afterwards, it was still lit and it turned out that the real cause was because the fuel lid wasn't properly closed. I sold the damn car and bought an Altis, so far so good. I'm never going to buy another Korean car ever again.

  9. Like any other brand ... there sure be one or two or more who are not satisfied ... my santa fe is now 4 1/2 years old and I have not experienced major problems ... I dont have problem too with my PMS ... my average combined consumption daily is 13k/l - laguna and makati at 110 to 120kph in the highway... for a one hour traffic in MM I get 8k/l... meron at merong bulok sa lahat na brand ... Hyundai is now number 3 in the world based on sales ...

  10. Which is better? Mazda CX-5 2.0L, Honda CR-V 2.0L, Subaru XV or Mitsubishi ASX GSR?

  11. please help... im still torn between the new X-Trail 2..0 and Honda CRV 2.0S 2016.. which company offers a good after sales service.. what about the parts? i heard, honda parts are more expensive compared to others?and may i know what bank offers the lowest interest rate to date? thanks..

  12. I would prefer CRV...tested,
    parts...not that much.
    Try Metrobank.

  13. Mukhang kuba at karwahe ng patay pa rin kahit anong gawin nila dito! They should have fired all their designers years ago! No contemporary Honda vehicle is good-looking, they are all either boring, overstyled, or downright weird & fugly. They should steal a few of the Mazda or Kia designers!

  14. I don't know what kind of drugs Honda's designers are on. Whatever it is, they probably shared it with Mr. Ang.

    1. I think it was antibiotics. I mean, the old CR-V looked horrid. The face-lift at least made it look good.

    2. Hahaha! I'm the guy you replied to, Mr. Ang. Great answer.

  15. We just bought the new 2015 CR-V. It's more spacious than the 2009 model (we have one too). The reverse camera is a welcome addition no doubt. The feel is much nicer than before. Well for me, its not really confusing regarding the touch screen and i-MID. The ride itself is great and smooth. The ECON button is ideal for the city drive. But when you turn off that ECON button you'll get the acceleration you need for the express way. FUEL ECONOMY: Just imagine, PHP500 going from Alabang-Tagaytay-Pque. Yup only PHP500 we ran 13km/L. Not bad. For city driving it goes 7km/L, well as you all know it depends on the traffic.It has another feature which is the stability assist, good for rainy days. The compartment is much wider and more spacious. The LED-daytime running lights look good, you dont even have to turn on the headlights. There are fog lamps and the headlights are HID lights already. It's a good buy. You can never go wrong with Honda. Of course, its Honda. You'll get the quality that comes with the name.

    1. Is this the 2.4 or 2.0 variant?

  16. WoWful...this looking is amazing and i like at this desinge.

  17. Please do a review on the 2.0 variant it is much better

  18. Like to check kung ung 2.0 or 2.4 ang oks city driving any advice sir n how compare ung fuel coons. Nya bka kce under power c 2.0

  19. Sir Uly, can I get your opinion on which is better bet. this year's CRV and CX5? I was set to get this car but I learned that unlike the upgrades in the US, this CRV doesnt get the CVT and is running on the same engine as of the 2012 model. It is really frustrating to know that this model's cost is equivalent to the high end of the US version but dont get the same upgrades. Anyway, I'm eyeing the Mazda CX5 Pro but I've read lot of concerns about the i-stop consuming too much power from the battery and has to be replaced every 2-3 mos with a new Php10,000.00 battery. With all these being said, I'm torn on which to buy for our family since this would be our first car. It will be a secret gift this christmas! Please help! Thank you!

  20. When I entered into their dealership and looks at the variant, it looks cheap and unattractable, full of plastics and it felt like old, no offense that's true

  21. Ano ba talaga ang ok xtrail , crv 2.0s or rav 4 active + pls help me :)

  22. Hi, Ulysses Ang! I used to be one of blind girls who considers CR-V as a default selection but now I recognize what 2015 CR-V can do for my demands. Thanks for your post!

  23. Just buy a 2017 CR-V S, Look very nice and comfortable. My family absolutely love it.

  24. Except the top of the line CR V, all other variants just have 2 airbags. Airbags save lives. So, Honda Philippines should offer 6 airbags in all variants for the safety of their customers. For the consumers, safety should be one of the primary considerations when buying a car. So don't buy a car with just 2 airbags.

  25. Even the top of the line has only 4 airbags. It should be at least 6 airbags to properly protect the occupants in an accident.

  26. Is worth getting a 2016 Honda CR-V with a manual transmission?