2016 Honda CRV

Not the most exciting of vehicles, I know. But it now has ten thousand miles on it and it’s worth making some notes.

I was not excited that it came with a CVT, but I’ve actually grown to like it a lot. Unlike previous CVT’s I’ve driven it doesn’t suck (Looking at you Nissan), and it doesn’t have all the fake gear changes some companies program in so people don’t get weirded out and come back complaining it doesn’t change gear. If you put your foot in it holds the revs in the power range and keeps it on cam and you leave people behind as they suddenly find themselves having to change gear.

And it’s smooth. Like, pretend you’re a limo driver smooth.

The dash has the bright green button with a little leaf icon but it’s not the ecological button as first glance would tell you because at closer observation the word Eco is in fact Econ. I would forgive you for thinking it was an Eco because I did at first. When it goes to work helping you with fuel economy it dulls the throttle response which is normally nice and sensitive so you can’t put your foot in it with any result. On top of that, eco mode cycles the air conditioning more often so it’s effectively used less. It’s worth noting there is a warning in the handbook to not use Econ mode in hot weather.

We live on the edge of the desert so that just makes absolutely sure it doesn’t get used.

It also has two lit strips running vertically around the speedometer that glow white when you suck at saving gas, and green when you’re annoying everyone around you for being that dawdler while leaving the lights. They are working all the time so it’s actually quite useful for those of us that can control our right foot properly.

Speaking of the speedometer, I really like the physically layered dials – they look 3D because they actually are.

The power plant is actually quite good and what you expect from a Honda engine. It’s a smooth 2.4 litre four banging V-Tec bro’ with no turbo, and that I’m a fan of as it looks the 2017 model is going to be down on capacity but with a blower. An underpowered engine with a turbo will no doubt eat away at the smoothness that suits an crossover SUV like this. I am a bit wary of the exhaust manifold being built into the engine block for those that live in places with weather, but I suspect Honda tested the hell out of that. The good news is only you and your mechanic will ever see the badge with EarthDreams written on it.

Inside there is more room than you expect from looking at the CRV from the outside. The seats are standard Honda comfortable and the entertainment system is Honda standard “I’m going to stab it with a screwdriver” awful. The system is slow and has the most exasperating little buttons well hidden on the head unit for the volume. There’s also no physical play/pause button which is infuriating as you’re inevitably in the wrong menu page while going into a drive through.

It seems like a lot of people complained that Honda dashboards were nothing but buttons and dials, and then someone high up noticed and sent down a memo causing the design department to massively overcompensate.

The ride is absolutely fine. It doesn’t lean in the corners and deals with the horrifically bumpy city roads we have here rather well. The stock tires are a bit easy to squeak when you need to push into traffic but the brakes are quite exceptional. The first time I banged on them I actually swore because i wasn’t expecting that level of an abrupt halt.

As for the experience of owning it… Inside ten thousand miles an air bag sensor has had to be replaced, the plastic over the wheel arch cracked before anyone had even gotten in the back seat and the battery has a bad cell. The windows rattle and there’s going to be fight with the manager over that because according to the tech they are “within tolerance”.

They might be within tolerance but they bloody rattle as you drive along.

I’ll keep you updated on that.

Overall and ignoring the windows and warranty work it’s been a pleasure to own and drive about. The keyless entry and start is as smooth as butter, the whole car encourages you to conserve fuel by a mixture of being pleasant to drive and the economy lights not being obnoxious and in your face. The interior is about right for the price point and you can fit three teenage kids in the back without them using elbows to make room, and the luggage space will fit their entire days shopping.

Yes. That’s how far I will go to bring a solid review to the table.

Bottom line: If you want a small crossover for carting the kid(s) around, grabbing the shopping, doing a daily commute and only listen to one type of input on the stereo then snag a deal over the new year in the sales. If you care in any way about the in car entertainment experience, wait for the 2017 and see if there’s a volume knob and a play/pause button and if people like it with the turbo engine.

Model reviewed:

Honda CRV EX 2WD with the only available CVT transmission.

Engine: 185-hp, 2.4-Liter, 16-Valve, DOHC i-VTEC® 4-Cylinder Engine with Direct Injection.

MSRP: $26,095

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