Find an attractive angle on a car you want, and suddenly, you start to justify purchasing the car in your head. So what, it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or full LED headlights, you might think, but how awesome would it look in my parking space? Curb appeal remains an essential part of the new-car buying experience, and after 19,000 miles behind the wheel, I’ve got a few layperson design critiques about the 2015-2016 CR-V.
Let’s start up front, where 2015-2016 CR-Vs in the EX trim and up get LED daytime running lights (DRLs). I love LEDs, but on the road, these LED DRLs don’t look like one smooth bar of light as some newer cars have. That’s not a big deal, though, considering this non-luxury car is fully loaded around $35,000. As with the smaller HR-V crossover, I’m also not a fan of the CR-V’s front grille. For me, there are too many details, from the chrome strip connecting the headlights to the black panel below that and a recessed grille panel below that. Then again, I’m still grateful Honda didn’t style the CR-V as overly aggressive or angry-looking like so many other new cars from the last few years.
If you’re searching for a new crossover, you’ve probably seen silver trim panels on the front and rear bumpers of nearly everything you’re considering, and after months of looking at them on the CR-V, I still really like the accents. As a bit of visual contrast, they really pop against our long-termer’s Obsidian Blue Pearl, though I’m partial to Copper Sunset Pearl, too. I like the design of the silver roof rails, which are standard on the EX-L and Touring trims. They rise gradually from either side of the moonroof and look way sleeker than those on our long-term 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited. That said, if you actually plan on tying things down with roof rails and crossbars, the chunkier Subaru‘s system is extremely easy to use.
I still like the way the chrome trim around the side windows meets behind the rear doors, and I love the pulled-forward vertical taillights that are reminiscent of the Volvo XC60 … and an evolution of previous CR-V generations. The Touring’s 18-inch wheels with black-painted pockets like those we’ve seen on many other Hondas lately are appropriately flashy for the top-of-the-line trim. If the next-generation CR-V adds features beyond what the 2015-2016 CR-V Touring offers, I’d like to see a 19-inch option like those on U.K.-spec CR-Vs—if it doesn’t ruin the ride or create too much road noise.
What About the Interior Design?
I’ve previously discussed how wonderfully functional the CR-V is, from its spacious interior to its easy-folding second-row seats. In the Honda, you can easily fold them down from the side door or from the cargo area, and the headrests automatically fold down for you—no need to remove them first. The drivetrain hump in the footwell of the center of the second-row seats’ footwell is nearly nonexistent, giving the impression of more space. And recently, I just barely fit a large suitcase in the cargo area; it wouldn’t quite fit in a Kia Sportage without folding down part of the second-row seats. Not a big deal but still a point for the CR-V.
What the CR-V EX and above lack is a modern center stack layout. The tiny buttons on the left side of the available 7.0-inch touchscreen look like they belong in a 5-year-old car. Even though I never use them to reveal the hidden CD player or operate volume controls (if you’re driving, use the steering wheel controls!), just seeing them ages the car a bit. The screen in the instrument cluster isn’t as advanced as you’ll find in competitors, and there’s no welcome animation, something my feelings have changed about over the years; I now welcome it. As you shop for midsize-sedan alternatives such as the CR-V, remember that the CR-V’s 7.0-inch screen is joined by the very helpful smaller screen at the top of the dash for even more combinations of info or part info and part wallpaper image you upload to the car.
Overall, the CR-V still holds up well from a design point of view, though it’s clearly not perfect. How well do you think the 2015-2016 CR-V’s interior and exterior design have aged?
More on our long-term 2015 Honda CR-V Touring AWD here: