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2014 Honda CR-V: Premium flavors abound in this vanilla compact SUV

2014 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD in Mountain Air Metallic
2014 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD in Mountain Air Metallicaustinautoboomer

2014 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD

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The 2014 Honda CR-V compact SUV, despite its somewhat ordinary ‘vanilla’ appearance - at first look, will surprise you with the measurable premium value it offers in every trim level.

2014 Honda CR-V offers more than you might think
2014 Honda CR-V offers more than you might thinkaustinautoboomer

Currently in its fourth generation (2012), the 2014 model 5-door crossover returns essentially the same as the 2013 version delivering excellent overall value with lots of features across the various trim levels. The 2014 CR-V delivers a solid drive and ride experience in a very roomy, quiet and comfortable cabin seats up to five adults plus has lots of cargo space.

The 2014 CR-V LX entry level model has a MSRP of $22,945 and comes nicely equipped with cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, air conditioning, rearview camera, 160-watt 4-speaker audio system with Pandora interface and the really easy to use one-pull fold-flat rear seat feature – all standard.

The most popular trim level is the CR-V EX (MSRP $25,045) which adds features like a one touch power moon roof with tilt, upgraded 6-speaker audio system and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The CR-V EX-L (MSRP $27,695) adds several features including a leather-trimmed interior and a 328-watt 7-speaker audio system with subwoofer, XM Satellite Radio and Speed-Sensitive Volume Control (SVC). Available options on the CR-V EX-L are a Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and FM Traffic.

The CR-V EX-L also offers a DVD Rear Entertainment System version with an MSRP of $28,395. The top-of-the-line CR-V is the EX-L with NAVI and a MSRP of $29,195. Note that the DVD Entertainment and the Navigation are separate items and cannot be included on the same vehicle.

All CR-V trim levels come with FWD (front-wheel-drive). AWD (all-wheel-drive) is available on all trims for another $1,250.

The power train for CR-V models is a 2.4L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine producing 185 horsepower with 163 lb-ft. of torque mated up to a standard 5-speed automatic transmission delivering power to 17-inch wheels (16-inch on the CR-V LX). Theavailable Real Time AWD with the Intelligent Control System provides additional traction and road stability. The CR-V has an EPA fuel economy rating of 23/31 mpg City /Highway with an expected average of 26 mpg for the front-wheel-drive model and one MPG less for the AWD model.

Our test CR-V for the week was a 2014 CR-V EX-L AWD NAVI in a Mountain Air Metallic with a Beige Leather Trimmed Seating. The MSRP for our AWD test vehicle was $30,445 – and with delivery, the sticker price was $31,275.

Besides the Honda Navigation System, standard items included key features like Hill Start Assist, Electric Power Assisted Steering, Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Daytime Running Lights (DRL), and the Honda Eco Assist System which, at the push of a button, automatically configures the engine to operate more efficiently plus providing a feedback system that tells you how efficiently you're driving, while you're driving.

Inside, the CR-V is very roomy for five adults and has 37.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row 60/40 fold-down seating. The front row bucket seating is heated and reclines with 10-way power adjustment on the driver seat. The leather wrapped steering wheel is tilt and telescopic and has audio and other feature controls. It also has Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control with rear-seat heater ducts, a rear-seat center armrest, retractable cargo cover, cargo light, and eight beverage holders plus 12-volt power outlets. Additional standard items were Roof Rails, Fog Lamps, Halogen Headlamps with Auto On/Off, Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers and Power Folding Heated Side Mirrors.

During our week-long drive of the 2014 Honda CR-V EX-L, we found it to be an exceptional choice for active couples and families looking for a well-designed and put together compact crossover that will meet their needs for many years to come.

We found the CR-V EX-L AWD handled city streets, highways and country roads solidly and smoothly. Some others have been critical of the power train saying it was not powerful enough. We do not agree. We found it very responsive in every driving situation we encountered. Additional high points for us included its interior room, sophisticated, yet simple and easy-to-use controls, and the exceptional cargo capacity.

There is a significant list of accolades attesting to its premium value pedigree that validate our view - not the least of which the ultimate validation that comes from the CR-V being the sales leader in its Compact SUV segment for the last two years with over 300,000 units sold in 2013.

Additional consumer and industry recognition in just this past year include: U.S. News & World Report naming it the Best Compact SUV for the Money among 2014 vehicles sold in the United States, KBB.com (Kelly Blue Book) honoring it as a Best Family Car of 2014, ALG awarding it their 2014 Best Residual Value Award in their compact utility category, Kelly Blue Book also naming it as a Top 10 Best Resale Value for 2014 and lastly, IHS Automotive recognized it for its owner loyalty with their Polk Automotive Loyalty Non-Luxury Compact CUV category award for the second year in a row.

The 2014 CR-V must be on your list to drive if you are looking for a new compact SUV or crossover (CUV).