Since its inception in North America for the 1997 model year, Honda’s CR-V pretty much defined the small crossover sport-utility. Together with the Toyota RAV4, these two car-based SUVs usually offer ample passenger space and cargo volume for many families, especially when compared with compact and midsize sedans. This week, Daddy’s Digest takes a look into the fifth-generation 2022 Honda CR-V Black Edition. With the current version having been around since 2017, the world will likely see a new CR-V debuting any second now, and today’s look examines how the CR-V stacks up against tough new competition.
While the front-wheel drive LX base trim starts at $30,770 Canadian before taxes and fees, the test vehicle arranged thanks to Honda Canada was the chart-topping $44,670 Black Edition. As a new step above and beyond the previous Touring ($42,870) flagship model, the Black Edition gets unique perforated black leather seats, black woodgrain interior trim, and black-painted 19-inch wheels. Other notable features include a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system with navigation coupled to a 331-watt premium audio system, wireless phone charging, a panoramic moonroof, LED headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a hands-free power tailgate, dual exhaust, a heated steering wheel, and heated front and rear seats.
Above all else, interior volume is probably the Honda CR-V’s best party trick. It manages to beat out newer competitors such as the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, and Nissan Rogue, and the Honda boasts 1,065 litres (37.6 cubic feet) behind the second row, and 2,146 litres (75.8 cubic feet) when the second row is folded down. The load floor isn’t perfectly flat, but will still be very useful for those who carry larger items on the regular. To add to that, rear-seat space is also very good, and the CR-V is amongst the least disruptive to taller front-seat passengers when using a rear-facing child seat. On top of that, the rear doors open to an 85-degree angle, making ingress and egress (and child loading) a cinch. Few automakers do packaging efficiency better than Honda!
When it comes to the dashboard and infotainment layout, the 2022 CR-V shows a bit of its age, and the design finds itself solidly mid-pack amongst its peers. Ergonomics and legibility are generally good, and hard buttons and knobs for volume adjustment and dual-zone climate control are very much welcomed. Material quality is above average, but fit and finish isn’t as good as it should be – touchpoints such as the shifter felt a bit too loosely put together. The infotainment system itself is not the snappiest or most modern system, but gets the job done and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow your smartphone to do most of the heavy day-to-day lifting.
Across all CR-V trim levels, a number of the Honda Sensing driver-assist safety features are standard equipment. These include a forward-collision warning system with automatic braking, a lane departure warning system with steering assist, a road departure mitigation system, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. For Touring and Black Edition models, there’s also a blind-spot warning system as well as a rear cross-traffic alert system. In the real world, the assists aren’t particularly intrusive as long as a driver is following the rules of the road, though they’ll definitely intervene and call you out on any bad habits, such as failing to signal lane changes, or following too closely to the vehicle in front.
Powering all trim levels of the Honda CR-V is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 190 horsepower and 179 pound-feet of torque, routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). With the Black Edition’s 1,641 kilogram (3,618 pound) curb weight, this combination doesn’t exactly make for a speedy little SUV, but the CVT makes the most of the available power to keep things moving along adequately. Drivers may find that they wish for more get-up-and-go when loaded up with passengers and cargo on the highway, although things are still fairly in line with the rest of the compact crossover segment. Those with lead feet may wish to go with the optional turbocharged engine on the Mazda CX-5, and trade in some cargo space for a lot more power.
Sadly, Canadian markets do not get a hybrid-electric model of the CR-V, which is available in American markets (we theorize due to supply or battery production constraints). The gasoline-only configuration has a city and highway fuel economy rating of 8.7 and 7.4 litres per hundred kilometres (27 and 32 miles per gallon) respectively, which isn’t bad, but the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid does 25 percent better. On top of this, the RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD top trim does so for about the same as the Black Edition’s sticker price. That said, if it’s ultimate cargo space that you’re after in a compact sport utility, the 2022 Honda CR-V Black Edition is still one of the most viable choices at the top of the range.
Jerry Vo cut his teeth in writing as an automotive journalist and is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Having reviewed cars since 2015, he takes pride in providing relevant and technically savvy consumer advice, and is extending that over into reviews in various other categories at Daddy's Digest. He is a proud dad of one and is letting the wonderful journey of parenthood teach him new things every day.