The 2018 Honda CR-V may be light on personality, but this compact crossover checks off every other box. It’s a very smart choice.
Toss a rock and it’s hard not to hit a 2018 Honda CR-V. This compact crossover is a household name for good reason: it’s brilliantly aligned with the needs of most drivers.
It’s not terribly exciting, but the 2018 CR-V is quiet, comfortable, roomy, powerful, fuel efficient, and has a great safety record.
It’s even a good value, which is why it scores a commendable 7.0 out of 10 on our scale. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could make a better crossover—but we’ve said that about CR-Vs before and Honda continues to impress. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
After a thorough redesign last year, the 2018 CR-V carries over unchanged. It’s offered in LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring trim levels, all with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Most CR-Vs—EX and above—feature a strong 1.5-liter turbo-4 that cranks out 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission is the only gearbox on offer. It’s not a powertrain setup that will stoke enthusiasts’ flames, but the CR-V’s turbo engine provides smooth acceleration even with a full load of passengers and suitcases aboard.
CR-V LX trim levels use a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, but the base engine is a little gruff, its power delivery is peaky and requires a good stab at the throttle, and it isn’t as fuel efficient.
Regardless of engine, the CR-V handles well with direct, light steering, and its suspension soaks up rutted pavement quite well. Sure, it lacks the athletic feel of the Mazda CX-5, but the CR-V’s nimble feel and highway stability make it a match for just about any kind of routine driving.
Base CR-Vs miss out on a slew of safety tech—automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control—that’s standard on EX and higher trims.
However, all CR-Vs are comfortable inside with nice materials and plenty of room for four average-sized adults. Even the middle seat in the second row is acceptable as long as you’re not transporting a trio of linebackers to practice. The CR-V’s cargo area boasts a usefully low liftover height and minimal intrusions from the wheel wells, but Honda has chosen not to follow some competitors by squeezing a third row back there. We think that’s just fine, since the larger Honda Pilot does that much better.
But for drivers seeking a relatively compact footprint, good fuel economy, and a highly refined feel for around $30,000 or less, the 2018 Honda CR-V is as good as it gets.