There’s plenty of reason to celebrate over in Honda camp, as the company’s ever-popular CR-V was just named the SUV of the Year by one of the most prestigious publications in the industry, Motor Trend.
“Some years, a vehicle wins our calipers almost unanimously. This year our jury entered the final discussion split almost down the middle,” Motor Trend writes. “After two hours of contentious debate, the CR-V’s stellar value, engineering, and safety features combined with the cheerful way it performs its intended functions earned Honda the win.”
The victory is a big one, considering that Motor Trend, along with many other publications that cover the auto industry, have been rather hard on Honda lately. The company has had a couple of missteps over the past few years, but has still remained atop many best-seller lists thanks to popular models like the Civic, Accord, and of course, the CR-V.
So what set the CR-V ahead of the other SUVs it was up against? A variety of factors, really. Nine judges weighed in with many pages of notes, and many noted that the CR-Vs new design and aesthetics were definitely a step up, although not perfect. When it came to engineering, however, critics were excited about what they witnessed. “This feels like a Honda should, with light steering, great feedback, and competent handling chops. It’s way more fun than any compact crossover ought to be,” noted one judge.
As far as the CR-V’s mechanical and performance, the latest model produces up to 185 horsepower, up to 181 pound-feet of torque, and can make the sprint from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. Sure, it’s not comparable to a sports car, but more than enough to handle any day to day tasks and remain economical.
Speaking of economical, the CR-V continues to be a leader in the segment in terms of gas mileage. The latest model saw fuel economy increased 12% over the previous generation, to 26 miles per gallon in the city, and 33 on the highway. Of course, during testing, those numbers fell short, and Motor Trend says that it’s unclear whether consumers will actually see a big difference.
Perhaps the most important thing — to many consumers, anyway — is the cost. Well, customers can rejoice, because it turns out that the CR-V is a pretty good deal. Five-year total operating costs figure to come in between $32,000 and $35,000, which is around $4,500 below average. When pinned up against competitors like the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, and Mazda CX-5, the CR-V was found to depreciate 13% less with maintenance and insurance costs totaling up to an average of 10% less.
The CR-V, as a total body of work, was enough to convince the judges and Motor Trend to give it the title of SUV of the Year. Of course, there’s likely some stiff competition coming in the next year or so as many auto makers are making some big changes to their vehicles. Ford, of course, is pushing its EcoBoost technology with a fair amount of success, and Jeep is looking at turbocharged engines and aluminum bodies to help boost up performance while simultaneously making their vehicles more economical.
There’s always threats from Honda’s home country of Japan as well, including the always popular RAV-4 from Toyota and Mazda’s SUV line, which includes the CX-5. Many of these models, as well as other competitor’s units, are due for redesigns relatively soon as well, which is sure to keep Honda on its toes. Honda did a great job with the CR-V, so well that Motor Trend is giving them recognition for their work. But the segment is thickening, and competition is heating up.
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