Te Honda CR-V was redesigned last year and, frankly, we were surprised by how deep the changes went. Rather than phone in some superficial tweaks to a top-selling model, Honda gave it a ground-up overhaul that decisively parted ways with its predecessor. The 2018 Honda CR-V sets a new pace for its rivals to follow.
Among the tricks up this fifth-generation CR-V's sleeve is a turbocharged engine that comes on all trims except for the base LX. With ample low-end torque and a fuel-sipping design — up to 34 mpg highway, according to the EPA — the turbo engine is a natural fit in the CR-V.
The 2018 Honda CR-V also benefits from an overhauled suspension that reduces body roll in corners without compromising its historically compliant ride. The wheelbase is longer, the front and rear tracks are wider, and there's even an extra 1.5 inches of ground clearance for those who found that the previous CR-V scraped its stomach too often in light-duty off-roading.
Inside, the CR-V follows the latest Civic's lead with a modernized dashboard, a digitally enhanced instrument cluster, and an updated touchscreen that thankfully includes a physical volume knob. There's also more rear legroom than in earlier models and an exceptional 75.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo space that makes the supposedly compact CR-V a legitimate alternative to midsize SUVs. Add it all up and the CR-V is a strong contender for best-in-class honors.
The 2018 Honda CR-V is offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. The LX isn't exactly bare-bones, but it does have a less powerful engine along with a 5-inch display screen and no sunroof. Step up to the EX and you get a standard sunroof plus a 7-inch touchscreen, a power driver seat and a more powerful, turbocharged engine. The EX-L tacks on items such as leather, premium audio and a power liftgate, while the Touring goes all in with LED headlights, a subwoofer and more.
Opt for the base LX and you'll get a decent roster of equipment, including a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (184 horsepower, 180 pound-feet of torque), an electronic parking brake, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 5-inch color LCD dashboard display, and a four-speaker audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Honda's various advanced safety technologies are not offered on the LX.
The EX ups the ante with a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine (190 hp, 179 lb-ft), remote start, 18-inch wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, body-colored door handles and spoiler, rear privacy glass, a retractable cargo cover, keyless entry and start, an upgraded driver information center, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat, heated front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio phone integration, satellite radio, an upgraded rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, numerous advanced safety features (automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and intervention, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking) and second-row USB charging ports.
The EX-L's upgrades include a programmable-height power liftgate, driver-seat memory settings, leather upholstery, a power passenger seat (though it lacks a height adjustment), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an eight-speaker audio system with HD radio. A navigation system is optional on the EX-L but not on the lesser trims.
The top-of-the-line Touring boasts LED headlights, dual chrome exhaust tips, roof rails, automatic wipers, hands-free functionality for the power liftgate, ambient interior lighting, a navigation system and a subwoofer for the audio system.
Aside from the EX-L's optional navigation system, there are no factory options for the 2018 CR-V, so the only question is which trim level is right for you.