All-new last year, the 2018 Honda CR-V checks nearly all the right boxes – quiet, comfortable, roomy, and fuel efficient. But it's not very entertaining, advanced safety features are missing on the affordable LX, while its odd design is eclipsed by competitors from Mazda and Kia.

Best Value

Pricing for the 2018 CR-V starts at $25,125 for a front-wheel-drive LX and runs up to $35,025 for the all-wheel-drive Touring. The LX makes do with a 184-horsepower, normally-aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while the rest of the lineup is powered by a 190-hp, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Both engines are matched to a CVT automatic. Either front- or all-wheel drive is offered on all models, with AWD a $1,400 premium.

We'd skip the base LX with its lack of advanced safety features and less flexible engine and choose an AWD EX if we lived in the northern tier of states and a FWD EX-L if we lived down south. In addition to an engine with more low-end torque, the EX trim adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats (power driver's), a moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, automatic headlights with auto high beams, keyless entry with push-button start, walk-away door locks, and fog lights. Standard safety features not available on the LX include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a driver attention monitor, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and lane departure warning.

FWD EX-L models ($30,425 MSRP) receive easier-to-clean leather on the seats, steering wheel, and shift lever, a power tailgate, a power passenger seat, and satellite radio.

Since we live where the snow flies, here's how we'd build it:

  • Model: 2018 Honda CR-V EX
  • Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Output: 190 hp / 179 lb-ft
  • Transmission:CVT automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 27 City / 33 Hwy
  • Options:All-wheel drive ($1,400)
  • Base Price:$29,325 (including the $975 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$29,325

Performance

Honda CR-V

The CR-V features a smooth ride, and quick, light steering. The base 2.4-liter engine is certainly capable, but the 1.5-liter turbo found on EX and above models, although not much faster, is quicker off the line with more usable low-end torque and better fuel economy. The turbo also seems to match up better with the CVT automatic.

On the flip side, the base engine can sound rough and its lack of low-end torque means you have to put your foot into it to get things going. At the same time, the steering isn't very communicative, while the ride is tuned for comfort rather than sharp handling.

Style

The CR-V's eccentric exterior is wrapped around an interior that's a paradigm of space efficiency – making it feel more mid-size than compact. Controls are well organized and the fabric upholstery feels chic, while the optional leather is especially elegant for this price point.

But there are shortcomings as three adults will find accommodations tight in back. Moreover, the front fascia is a mish-mash of styles, while the exterior design suggests family minivan rather than energetic sport utility – falling short of competitors from Mazda and Kia.

The Best and Worst Things

The 2018 CR-V's versatile, roomy interior establishes the bar in the compact crossover class.

Light on steering feedback and driving dynamics, the CR-V isn't much fun to hustle around.

Right For? Wrong For?

Honda CR-V

A smooth ride and roomy, versatile interior should be a big attraction for families.

Light on personality and vehicle dynamics, the CR-V won't attract many enthusiasts.

The Bottom Line

Despite quirky styling and plain vanilla performance, the 2018 Honda CR-V makes for a solid choice in the compact crossover class thanks to its roomy interior, upscale feel, and abundance of safety features on most models.