2015 Honda CR-V Touring Review: It Does Most Things Better

2015 Honda CR-V Touring rear Tufts Cove
The Honda CR-V was Canada’s best-selling SUV in each of 2015's final two months, just as it was in America in seven of the last eight years. (We’re using the term “SUV” loosely here in order to avoid constant delineation.) Canadian and U.S. CR-V volume increased to previously unseen levels in 2014.

American Honda reported 335,019 CR-V sales last year, 28,807 more than Ford managed with its second-best-selling Escape. Honda Canada's CR-V volume was up 9% to 37,684 units.

THE GOOD
• Bigger inside than outside

• LKAS is a wonder
• Nimble but stable
• Ride quality
• 185-bhp is sufficient
THE BAD
• Aggravating touchscreen
• Irritating buttons beside touchscreen
• Not a looker
• Real-world fuel consumption
• More power wouldn't go amiss

North American consumers look favourably upon Honda’s reliability reputation. The CR-V is also a long-established nameplate in a relatively fresh category. But there must be numerous other reasons for the CR-V’s wild success.

More specifically, there must have been numerous other reasons at the tail end of 2014, as a refreshed 2015 CR-V like the one Honda Canada sent to our driveway began to outsell not only all other SUVs with increasingly large margins but also all passenger cars, as well.

Mercedes-Benz CLA And Audi A3 Are Identically Popular - U.S. 2014 Sales

2015 Audi A3 white sedan
The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class and Audi A3 attained almost identical levels of popularity in the United States in 2014.

True, Mercedes-Benz sold 27,365 CLAs over the last twelve months; Audi sold only 22,250 A3s during that period. That’s 23% more CLA sales than A3 sales.

But you’ll remember that the CLA arrived at the end of 2013’s third-quarter. The A3 sedan, a replacement for the A3 hatch which never sold as often as this new car, began trickling into dealers in February of this year but wasn’t readily available until April.

Over the final three-quarters of 2014, Audi USA reported 21,387 A3 sales, 151 more than the figure achieved by the CLA over the same period.

Small And Midsize Luxury SUV Sales In Canada - December 2014 And 2014 Year End

2014 Audi Q3
Canadian sales of compact luxury crossovers jumped 81% in 2014 thanks to the arrival of new competitors for the BMW X1. Those competitors, the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, arrived in the second half and, as the year progressed, had a negative impact on the popularity of the BMW X1. 


Canada Vehicle Sales Rankings By Make & Model - 2014 Year End
• Canada SUV/Crossover Sales Rankings By Model - 2014 Year End


Canada luxury SUV sales chart 2014
These are certainly not the most popular luxury utility vehicles, however. Move up a notch or two in terms of size and price and you'll find numerous vehicles which outsold the whole small trio. (Granted, two-thirds of the trio didn't have a full year.) The Acura RDX and MDX, Audi Q5, and Lexus RX all generated more than 6000 Canadian sales in 2014.

As for the RX, its 7913-unit total made it the country's top-selling premium brand SUV/crossover, just 51 sales ahead of the Audi Q5.

Midsize SUV Sales In Canada - December 2014 And 2014 Year End

2014 Dodge Durango
Canadians registered nearly 610,000 new SUVs and crossovers in 2014. The nameplates in the first table below accounted for 24% of that total, with traditional Detroit nameplates claiming 42% of the sales manifested in said table.


Canada Vehicle Sales Rankings By Make & Model - 2014 Year End
• Canada SUV/Crossover Sales Rankings By Model - 2014 Year End


Canada midsize SUV sales chart 2014
Click Chart To Expand
Among utility vehicles which come standard with a third row, the Ford Explorer is Canada's best seller. But the Explorer is by no means the top-selling Ford crossover, as both the small Escape and the slightly larger Edge are more popular here. 

South of the border, the Explorer is America's best-selling three-row vehicle, full stop. But Canadians are far more keen on minivans, thus stealing sales from three-row utilities like the Explorer, GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango, and Toyota Highlander. Minivans account for 3.4% of U.S. new vehicle sales; 5.1% in Canada.

Small SUV Sales In Canada - December 2014 And 2014 Year End

2014 Jeep Cherokee
The Ford Escape was Canada's best-selling small SUV/crossover in 2014 and the country's best-selling utility vehicle overall. 


Canada Vehicle Sales Rankings By Make & Model - 2014 Year End
• Canada SUV/Crossover Sales Rankings By Model - 2014 Year End


Canada small SUV sales chart 2014
Click Chart To Expand
Although the Escape wasn't able to outsell all its rivals in the final one-sixth of the year - the Honda CR-V was the top dog in November and December - the Escape's year-end total was 14,514 units superior to the CR-V's. 

Think of it this way, for every CR-V sold in Canada in 2014, Ford Canada sold 1.4 Escapes.

Despite the Escape's continued position at the top of the leaderboard, the small SUV arena is a competitive one.