The Honda Civic may be the best-selling car in Canada, but it’s not the brand’s best-selling model overall.
That crown instead belongs to the 2022 Honda CR-V. It comes in five trim levels, with the entry LX arriving in front- or all-wheel drive (AWD). All others are AWD-only, including my top-of-the-line Black Edition trim at $46,595, including a non-negotiable delivery charge of $1,225. Mine further had an optional package of floor mats and cargo tray for $456.30, bringing my vehicle to $47,051.30 before taxes.
The CR-V was restyled into a new generation for 2017, and will be all-new again for 2023 – built in Ontario, and with a hybrid version in Canada for the first time – so the 2022 version remains pretty much untouched. It’s an angular design with just enough curves so it’s not overly sharp-edged, and at the rear, the tailgate ends at the bumper to reduce the liftover height when loading and unloading.
The Black Edition, which, despite its name, comes in black or white (but that’s all), builds on the Touring but with black accents. Those include the 19-inch wheels and black wood inside instead of the Touring’s brown (although it’s all fake either way), and with unique black seat upholstery. Other than the wheels and roof rails, the exterior maintains its chrome accents, which I think looks better than entirely blacked-out trim.
The CR-V gets the top five-star crash-test rating from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA). It’s also a Top Safety Pick at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), although it only rates “Acceptable” for ease-of-use for its LATCH child-seat tethers.
All trim levels come standard with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, emergency front braking, lane departure assist, automatic high-beam headlights, driver attention monitor, and, of course, the rearview camera that’s mandatory on all new vehicles. A blind-spot monitoring system that broadcasts a display of what’s alongside the passenger side of the vehicle when the turn signal is on (or a button is pressed) is standard on the Sport trim – one up from the base LX – and next-step up EX-L. The Touring and Black Edition have a conventional blind-spot monitor for both sides, plus rear cross-traffic alert.
All trims include such items as dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, customizable digital instrument cluster, proximity key with walk-away door lock, a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and two front USB charging/data ports. Moving up the trim ladder adds such features as a sunroof, power tailgate, auto-dimming mirror, garage door opener, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, rear charging ports, leather-trimmed upholstery, and driver’s seat memory.
The Touring and Black Edition are similarly equipped, save for dark accents on the latter. These two exclusively include LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, navigation, premium audio, wireless charger, and rain-sensing wipers.
User Friendliness: 8/10
It’s easy to get in and out of the CR-V, and visibility is good. My tester included memory settings for the driver’s seat, but annoyingly, it doesn’t include adjusting the power mirrors.
I especially like that it has a conventional gear lever instead of the button-style shifter Honda is putting in many of its vehicles, where you have to look for a tab to push or pull. But I do like buttons and dials for climate and drive functions, and for the most part, the CR-V uses them. The exception is for climate vent mode. While you get toggles to adjust the fan speed, you must push the “Climate” button to bring up the mode in the centre screen and then tap the icons from there. That’s an unnecessary and distracting extra step.
The CR-V offers very generous cargo space, with a dual-height floor and up to 1,065 L of cargo volume in the Touring and Black Edition with the rear seats up (other trims go up to 1,110 L because they don’t include a stereo subwoofer). The rear seats fold virtually flat for carrying longer items. The hatch opening is a bit smaller than in some squared-off SUVs, but there’s a low liftover to get items over the bumper. Towing is limited to 680 kg (1,500 lb).
The CR-V features comfortable seats, comparable headroom to its rivals, and more rear-seat legroom than most. The upper trims include heated front and rear seats, plus a heated steering wheel. The cabin is quiet and the ride is smooth, and only the toughest potholes make their presence known to the occupants.
All CR-V trims use a turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque, mated to an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The engine’s a bit gruff when it’s idling, but acceleration is strong and smooth, both for keeping up with everyday traffic or for passing on the highway.
Driving Feel: 8.5/10
The CR-V handles well, and the steering is nicely weighted and responsive. It’s well-balanced around corners and feels solid at highway speeds, and braking is linear and confident. You certainly won’t mistake it for a sports car, but it feels tight and drives smaller than it is.
All-wheel drive is optional on the base LX and standard on all other trims. The system runs in front-wheel drive until it detects a loss of traction, or when accelerating, and seamlessly sends up to 40 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels.
Fuel Economy: 8.5/10
The CR-V with AWD is rated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) at 8.7 L/100 km in the city; 7.4 on the highway; and 8.1 in combined driving. In my week with it, I averaged 8.9 L/100 km, and it takes regular-grade gasoline. When the redesigned model arrives for 2023, it will include a hybrid.
The CR-V doesn’t outshine the competition for fuel economy, but runs about mid-pack with AWD-equipped rivals. In combined driving, the Nissan Rogue rates as low as 7.6 L/100 km, and the Toyota RAV4 at 7.9; while the Subaru Forester is rated at 8.2, and the Kia Sportage at 10.0.
The CR-V runs from $32,695 to $46,595, including delivery fees. That’s slightly higher than rivals, some of which offer more than one engine choice, but it’s intelligently priced considering its equipment and performance. While I had the top trim for $46,595, in the showroom I’d probably look at the EX-L (“L” for leather upholstery), which seems to be the best combination of price and features at $39,970.
Including delivery, the Kia Sportage ranges between $30,295 and $42,895; while the non-hybrid Toyota RAV4 is $30,880 to $44,880. The Subaru Forester, which is AWD only, is $31,295 to $42,395.
The 2022 Honda CR-V has a lot of very good competition in this very popular segment, but it’s a solid choice for consideration. It’s comfortable, it has a lot of storage space and plenty of features, and it’s a very nice vehicle to drive. It has certainly earned its place as Honda’s bestseller.
|Peak Horsepower||190 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Peak Torque||179 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||8.7 / 7.4 / 8.1 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||1,065 / 2,146 L seats up/down|
|Model Tested||2022 Honda CR-V Black Edition|
|Price as Tested||$47,151.30|
$456.30 – Protection Package (all-season floor mats, cargo mat), $456.30