So it’s been a while since I posted. This time, i am gonna review my husband’s 2017 Honda CR-V. It also serves as the answer to a question i never thought bout: What do non-car guys look for in a car?
Trust me when i say this is not my first choice. I am a car guy, so my preferences lean towards sedan or wagons. I want ass hugging seats, I want power, and RWD/AWD. But my husband is not a car guy. He likes Hondas because they are reliable, they are not too expensive, and they are safe. He does not care much about driving dynamics or even toys and amenities as long as he can plug his phone in and the seats are comfortable. He also likes a high driving position for reasons a car guy like me can never fathom. He thinks i am insane for spending way too much time car shopping.
So we ended up with a CRV with a good discount right off the dealer lot. Black outside, beige inside, it is basically the definition of an Average Car for Americans. It is much larger than the generation that precedes it, and it is good looking in a non-descript kind of way. Its not hedious, but not a great beauty either. The other day i parked it next to a GMC Terrain and I thought the GMC looked better.
The interior can be generally summed up in one word: Practical. The seats are big and comfortable, but the passenger side adjustment is limited. It has giant storage bins for everything from phones to tissue boxes. The materials are not top notch, but the plastics are not brittle or too hard. We got the EX-L model which means leather seats, and they are heated. It got seat memory, which is more than i can say about my Audi. The back seat folds easily into a giant flat floor large enough for IKEA and Costco runs. The tailgate is electric and convenient. Cup holders are positively everywhere (there are 4 in the front alone).
The CRV has one thing we car guys dread like a blown gasket: a CVT. It is paired with a 1.5 liter turbo engine that drives the front wheels with 190 horses. It is not slow, but the engine can be pretty loud (and not in a good way) if you put your foot down. The CVT is tuned for economy, not outright speed, and the car make that point clear with plenty of indicators that points to gas saving, like the strip of LED that turns green when you drive economically and a ECON mode button. There is an “S” mode on the shifter, which does make acceleration a little faster, but not by much. The general power train setup is really designed for highway cruising and fuel economy instead of outright speed.
Handling is more car-like than i expected, but it is still a tall vehicle. I have a hard time navigating tight spaces occasionally, and the car feels big and slightly clumsy. The suspension is better at absorbing bumps than my car, and the steering is front-wheel-drive generic. I live in Florida, in the flat parts, so I don’t know how this car do on the twisties.
Toys and Gadgets
My husband might not care about toys and amenities, but i do. So i made sure we got one with Apple Carplay. Ever user-friendly, the car’s dash board is a lesson of simple ergonomics and easy-to-access buttons. The instrument panel is all digital, with big numbers for a speedo and a digital tach. The rest of the space can be customized to show information from audio tracks to service intervals.
My least favorite part of the car is probably the touchscreen. the menu structure is byzantine and there are no haptic feedback, so you have to take your eyes off the road sometimes to make sure you poke the right thing. Maybe i am just old fashioned, but i like the knob and buttons in my old BMW (iDrive) and my current car (MMI) much better.
And then there is the Honda Sensing thing. It is a full set of tech that includes adaptive cruise, full auto brake, lane departure, blind spot warning, etc. The adaptive cruise is pretty convenient for long trips on the highway, but something deep inside me get absolutely freaked out when it does the full automatic braking thing when i am stuck in traffic.
We have had the CR-V longer than we had the Audi, and we put almost double the miles on it. It is really reliable, it is comfortable, it is thoroughly practical, but it is also generic, not very fast, and the driving experience is best described as “bland”. It would never be my first choice for a car, but I can see it’s appeal for people like my hubby whose automotive objectives are nothing more than 4 wheels, an engine, and comfy seats.
On the other hand, has liked driving my Audi. He also like renting from Silvercar when traveling, and he really like the Q5 he drove last year. God help me.