All CR-Vs get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower mated to a five-speed automatic. That pair gets the CR-V 31 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive and 30 MPG with all-wheel drive. All models are rated to tow 1,500 lbs. The base LX comes with power windows, mirrors and locks with remote entry, air conditioning, USB input for the four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth and Honda's i-MID system which incorporates phone and audio functions and also allows for streaming music from a Pandora app. EX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, alarm and privacy glass. EX-L gets leather seats, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat, heated side mirrors and dual-zone automatic climate control. The EX-L is also available with a DVD Rear Entertainment System or a touchscreen navigation system. The CR-V has 37.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats up, 70.9 with them folded. Both numbers rank high for the class.
See what other crossovers made our list of the best of the year
The Ford Escape gets a wide array of engine options, including two turbocharged units that are livelier than the CR-V's engine. The Escape's automatic also has six gears instead of Honda's five, and it's available with more sophisticated technology features such as a power liftgate. But the Escape costs more when compared with many CR-V models, and it's not as spacious. The Kia Sportage is fuel efficient, sports a powerful optional turbocharged engine and has a nicer exterior than the CR-V. But the Sportage is cramped in the rear and cargo area and has a stiffer ride. The Mazda CX-5 leads the compact crossover class on fuel economy and offers a manual transmission, unlike the CR-V. But the Mazda is not quick and lacks the spaciousness of the Honda. Finally, the Toyota RAV4 has an available V6 and third-row seat that Honda doesn't offer. But the RAV4's swing-out liftgate is impractical and the design is getting old.
Even against flashier, faster competitors, the CR-V remains a solid pick because it hits all of the compact crossover essentials. It's a roomy, well-equipped vehicle that is just the right size for a wide variety of people. That must be why it ranks so highly in crossover sales year after year.
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