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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got home yesterday from a trip from the Kansas City area to NW PA and back.

Here is my review of the CR-V on the trip. Likes and dislikes.

Route: suburban Kansas City to Franklin, PA on the first leg. I-70 across MO, IL, IN, and some of OH to Columbus. 71 to Akron. 76/80 east to 8, then north destination. After visiting relatives, traveled to Port Clinton, OH for a week, Rt 8 to 80 to 2. Port Clinton back to Kansas City...90 to 24 to 469 to 69 to 70 heading west at Indianapolis. Across MO is rolling hills. IL and IN are pretty flat, as is the part of OH we traveled across. NW PA is more hilly than any of the former.

Cargo/passengers: Two adults, one 7 year old. Luggage, fairly light packers. Two adult bikes on a Yakima hitch rack, Curt hitch. One kiddo bike with front wheel removed fit in cargo area with seats up. We had laundry machines in our rental house at Port Clinton, so no need to take tons of clothing.

MPG overall: I reset trip B when we left and did not mess with it until we got home 2100 and change miles later. The computer registered 27.7 MPG. I typically hand calculate, but I've found that our CR-V's trip computer is generally within a few tenths of my manual calculation (computer often .1 or .2 pessimistic, actually), so I didn't spend time doing the math this time, I just went by the computer. 78 seemed to be a common traffic speed, so I set the cruise on that a lot of the time. A good bit of the route on I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis, and STL to Indianapolis is plagued by trucks passing other trucks, lingering in the left lane at .5 mph faster than the truck they are passing. Annoying. Inevitably, the speed limit may be 70, but a line of cars is stuck in the left lane behind a truck going 65.5 attempting to pass a right lane truck going 65 mph.



Likes, in no particular order:

1. Fuel economy was reasonable for an AWD vehicle with a hugely un-aerodynamic load of bikes on the tail end, going close to 80 mph most of the trip. Had I kept my speed under 70, and had no bikes on the outside, MPG would have been considerably higher. A/C was on the whole time. There was some puttering around town style driving in Franklin and Port Clinton over the course of the week. Highway speed hovered just below 80, as previously mentioned.

2. Seat comfort was very good. The most mileage traveled in any given day on the trip was 750 miles. One 500 mile day, one 400. The rest miscellaneous. I found the LX seats to be quite good over the long haul. Nobody ever griped about seat comfort issues. I've driven cars with softer seats that are actually less comfortable on long trips than firmer seats such as those in the CR-V.

3. High mounted turn signals are a boon when hauling bikes. People behind you can still see your signals. Tail lights mounted far outboard help, too. Better than most vehicles in this regard. Some vehicles, when hauling bikes, you can barely see any rear indicators. My sister took her Odyssey on this trip, and when following them with bikes on the back, I noticed that the only tail light I could see was the high mounted center lamp, and I couldn't see their turn signals at all. This is not an issue on the CR-V, so a plus for cyclists.

4. Rear legroom. Several people we toted around during the trip commented positively on this.

5. Wind and engine noise were low. Road noise is great sometimes, very apparent other times depending on road surface, but aside from tire noise, the engine was remarkably subdued, as was wind noise.

6. A/C. Honda has done a better job with the A/C system on this vehicle than they have on our past Hondas (weak). It is my experience that Hondas tend to have weak-ish A/C. This was not the case with the CR-V. You do have to set the climate control a couple of degrees cooler than you'd think at first, but once you adapt to this, the system works well. I have our windows tinted to MO legal limit, which helps considerably on really hot days over 90 F.

7. Stereo. Base and midline Hondas typically have crummy sound quality from the stereo. Our 2014 Civic had an awful stereo system. The stereo in the CR-V LX is nothing special, but is decent. Much better than past base trim Hondas or even mid trim Hondas in my experience. $50 spent on some front tweeters and you'd be set, but it's fairly good even without them. One last note on the stereo in the LX...it's nice to be able to tune the radio with a knob, which brings up a replica of the old fashioned radio "dial" at the bottom of the display. You can see the whole frequency spectrum and adjust the pointer with the tuning knob, like the old days. Minor, but worth noting.

8. Storage. Bins in the doors, center console, etc. Handy on a trip. Our Civic can't do a 2" hitch, so you can haul more bikes and stuff with the CR-V.

9. Gauges. I prefer the gauge cluster in the LX over that in the EX, which is similar to the cluster in my wife's Civic EX-T. Simple, legible, not too much going on to distract. Very nice. I know some have complained about the gas gauge being hard to see, but I never found that to be the case.

10. Anonymity. It seems that half of the US drives a CR-V of some vintage. So there are 20 CR-Vs in every parking lot, and you pass 30 an hour on the interstate. If you're the sort that likes to blend in with the crowd, and not attract attention, a CR-V is a good choice. I'd insert an exception here for Lava folks, who stand out more. But white, gray, silver, beige, etc...blend right in with the herd. I view this as a positive. As many weirdos as there are these days, some anonymity is not a bad thing in my view.


Dislikes, in no particular order, some significant and some minor:

1. Every SUV or CUV that has utilitarian aspirations should come standard with a decent roof rack. Not the crap that comes on the Touring, either, with less useful flush-mount rails. I'm talking a decent rack you can actually use, like that found on some trims of the Forester and RAV-4. The rack should stick up to where you can tie rope around the side rails, not mount against the roof the whole length. I didn't NEED the rack on the trip, but it would have been nice on occasion, and it's silly that any utility vehicle doesn't have a solid rack design. Toyota, in particular, gives most if not all RAV owners a very serviceable set of rails in contrast to the wimpy Honda setup.

2. CVT. This is our third CVT-equipped Honda, so I have plenty of miles in CVT vehicles. 2014 Civic EX, 2016 Civic EX-T, and now the CR-V. The CVT in this one is the worst of the three. Jolts and jerks. Rubbery hiccups before ratio changes. Neither of our other Hondas did this. Also, the CVT in our CR-V makes poor decisions on gearing when downshifting for a hill. For instance, you'll start going uphill, the CVT will shift to a too short ratio and the engine will race, then immediately realize the ratio was too short, and shift to a taller and more appropriate ratio that should have been chosen in the first place. It overcompensates, forcing the engine to rev high, then pulls back immediately, dropping RPM. The ratio selections is not my main beef, though. It's the shudders and jerks when changing ratios. If and when I trade this car, this will be why. Maddening, really, and it isn't how our other Hondas were. They were (are) far superior in this area. My wife's '16 Civic is wonderful with the CVT. The CR-V's transmission was particularly annoying on I-70 across Missouri, where rolling hills on the interstate frequently generated jerks and questionable ratio choices mentioned previously, cruise control attempting to maintain set speed. Less of a factor across flatter areas. The bottom line is that while there are very good CVTs, this is not one of the best I've experienced, or even close. I'd give the transmission a score of 3 or 4 on a scale of 1-10. Wifey's Civic gets an 8 or 9. Old Civic, I'd give a 6. Altima I rented last summer, I'd give a 6 or 7.

3. A hatch with glass that opened separately from the main hatch would be nice. Would be handy sometimes to be able to pop open just the glass to throw something in the back versus having to open the whole hatch. A minor point.

4. I kept thinking how nice it would be to be able to get a CR-V LX with AWD and a manual transmission. Would be dang near perfect. I realize 95% of folks prefer automatics, so we'll never see stick again on the CR-V. :(

5. Head toss. This isn't the end of the world, but it did annoy me from time to time. Coming from sedans and hatchbacks to a SUV, I was surprised how much more lateral head toss there is with the CR-V in some instances. Enter a driveway at an angle, or cross a speed bump slightly from the side instead of head on where both front wheels hit at the same time, you really get tossed side to side a lot more than in a sedan or something with a lower seating position. The higher seating position of a SUV comes with some tradeoffs, this being one. On several occasions I really felt like my head got whipped side to side, and I never recall noticing this in previous cars.

6. Less fun to drive than something with better handling, lower COG, and more bolstered seats. My wife's Civic is more fun, for example. Obviously, this is the nature of the beast going to a utility vehicle from a car. As utilities go, the CR-V is good, but small cars are still far more fun to operate. There is something to be said for being low to the ground.

7. Range I felt like I had to get gas pretty often, and more often than with past vehicles. I like to get gas before I'm below 1/4 tank, so you're getting fuel fairly often if you fill up every time the CR-V's gauge gets to 3/4 empty.


 

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Very thoughtful write up. Thanks.

I agree with some things, and not others, but part of that is that I have an EX-L with Nav.

But, your insights may help others thinking about buying a CRV.
 

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Makes me wonder if the the CVT in the CRV was more tuned for the 1.5 Turbo. I have a EX with 1.5 Turbo, and I do not feel any of the issues that you are talking about with the CVT transmission.
 

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I believed it is stated in the user manual to use S or L selection for engine breaking during downhill drive.
On my Touring, with ACC/cruise control on, the cvt will "hunts" for correct ratio while trying to maintain set speed which cause jerkiness if I have gear selection on D (with or without eco). Once I select to S gear level, it drive as it's normal transmission; it selected a preset ratio and rpm/engine will try to maintain the set speed.
If ACC/cruise control is not on, during downhill, it just runs like normal car and speed just keep on increasing as if transmission is not engaged/in neutral gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
cvt trans don't down shift or for that matter shift at all. The trans are infinitely variable and have no set gear ratios so it not 'shift' in any way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission
With respect, no.

Many manufacturers, including Honda, now use programmed in artificial shift points or ratio selections with their CVTs. These, in effect, mimic gears. This was purposely done to alleviate customer complaints that were common with earlier CVTs. People complained that the continuous sweep between points on the CVT pulleys felt unnatural. Motor boat or rubber band effect were common terms used to describe this.

I understand how CVTs work. Obviously, there are no physical gears in the sense we are used to. However, using software, the transmission control modules can cause the CVT to select predetermined spots or ratios, and the trans can shift from one predetermined "gear" or ratio point to another predetermined point. This, in effect, acts like gears in a traditional transmission. Engineers can tell the computer to have the CVT select certain defined ratios at set times. Think of the pulleys and how the CVT changes ratio by varying the distance between them, causing the belt or chain to ride at a different point. Now, instead of having a continuous shift, imagine the engineers choosing 6 or 7 set ratios on that continuum, and having the CVT change between those set points instead of varying continuously. This is how many modern CVTs are set up. 10 years ago, not as much.

Watch your tach sometime. You'll see the set changes in engine rpm as the CVT moves to certain ratio points. It isn't always a fluid, continuous transition between ratios. Sometimes, it's a defined and dedicated to another distinct ratio, in effect a shift.
 
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