By Steve & Tamami Laser
It seems like only yesterday, yet it’s been more than two years since we started a three-year lease on our 2018 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD. We’ve been taking notes during our drives, and have finalized our list of the “10 Things We Love” about our CR-V.
We’ve used the CR-V for running daily errands, taken a few short vacations, and most recently reduced driving frequency and distance, during the novel coronavirus pandemic (aka COVID-19). While we’re thankful to be healthy, our total of 10,000 miles during two years of driving is less than we had planned.
Our editor highlights the first two years of driving, in this video from our CarNichiWa.com YouTube channel, where he highlights the list of “10 Things We Love.”
We had the opportunity to make two runs to San Diego, a couple of trips to Hollywood and Anaheim, plus our regular runs through our favorite beach cities of Los Angeles and Orange Counties (from Manhattan Beach to San Clemente).
We went back to Ocean Honda in San Juan Capistrano, twice during the year. This is where our CR-V journey began two years ago. It’s always a pleasure to visit the friendly folks in the sales, service, and parts departments. (See the “Reliable” section that follows below.)
And to help keep our CR-V looking like new, we visit this drive-through carwash on a regular basis at our local “Costco” membership store.
With less than a year to go on our lease, let’s take a look at our top 10.
Number 1 – Front Seats
The front seats have become our most-loved CR-V feature. They’re really comfortable and supportive during short trips around town, long journeys on the highway, and driving on our favorite twisty roads along the coast and in the hills. As we’ve discovered with other vehicles, driver comfort is an important factor in overall vehicle satisfaction.
We also like the convenient integrated memory system. With the push of a button, we can quickly (and automatically) adjust the seat to our favorite position, which is stored in the pre-set memory, for two drivers.
Number 2 – Turbocharged Engine
Our CR-V’s 1.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine has been performing well. As we mentioned previously, we’ve driven many turbocharged vehicles over the years, yet this is the first that we’ve owned. With 190 horsepower and 179 ft.-lbs. of torque, there’s sufficient power on tap for climbing hills and merging into fast-moving freeway traffic.
As expected, our fuel economy varies with on our driving situations. On a long freeway drive, we were happy to achieve 31.0 mpg. Yet when driving in stop-and-go traffic in the city, our fuel economy can go below 20 mpg. The CR-V does have an “Econ” button to help improve efficiency (yet we rarely use it because throttle response is subdued).
Number 3 – All-Wheel Drive
We could have selected a front-drive CR-V, since we rarely venture off paved roads. Yet we liked the traction-enhancing benefits of all-wheel-drive during our previous Subaru Outback lease, and our currently leased Subaru Forester. We like the secure, stable feeling that AWD provides on wet roads, gravel surfaces, and completely dry roads.
As we mentioned in our last update, we can monitor torque transfer via the driver-selectable, in-dash, multi-information display. Honda’s Real Time AWD can transfer up to 40 percent of torque to the rear wheels when needed. The system’s operation is smooth, seamless and completely automatic.
Number 4 – Ride & Handling
We had the good fortune to test every generation of the CR-V (during one-week press loans) over the years before leasing our current model. Like its predecessors, our CR-V delivers a well-controlled ride.
Compared to a previous midsize crossover that we owned (not a Honda or Subaru), our CR-V’s ride is firm, instead of floaty. Handling is “sporty,” with well-designed and responsive suspension, steering and brakes. So we feel comfortable driving on roads, like the one above.
Number 5 – Cargo Space
As previous owners of two Honda Accords, we were thinking of getting another – until we decided that we need more room to carry stuff. While the CR-V has a compact footprint, it delivers a remarkably roomy cargo compartment, thanks to its “boxy” rear styling, and efficient packaging.
During the past two years, we’ve transported a wide array of things in our CR-V – from groceries, to home improvement supplies, to a surfboard, bulky furniture, and various boxes, crates, and suitcases. We’re still amazed with how much gear fits in there.
Number 6 – Display Audio with Apple CarPlay®
Our CR-V EX-L has a standard 7-inch Display Audio system. It can be accessed via the convenient touchscreen, or with steering-wheel-mounted buttons, voice control, and a separate, retro-style volume knob.
With Apple CarPlay®, we can connect our phone to the system via the center console-mounted USB port using the lightning cable that came with our phone.
The familiar icons appear on the screen, and we can make selections by touch, or by voice, using Siri.
As we demonstrate in our video, we asked Siri to “find coffee shop” and she provided several nearby choices. We’ve also used it to find restaurants, gas stations, golf courses, and more.
Number 7 – Honda Sensing Safety Systems
Our CR-V EX-L is equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features, including Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Road Departure Mitigation. While we’ve had a few close encounters during the past year, and received warnings from the various systems, it’s comforting to know that these features are there, when we need them.
One safety feature that we use on a daily basis is the multi-angle rearview camera. Whether we’re backing out of a parking space, or backing into one, this is one of our favorite features, providing convenience and safety benefits.
Number 8 – Pet Friendly
Our dogs love the pet-friendly feeling in the CR-V. They have more space to stretch out in the roomy back seat versus our previous Honda Accord. We bought an aftermarket bed, that helps them feel comfy and secure, plus a “hammock,” that prevents them from climbing into the front seat area, for their protection.
Number 9 – Power Tailgate
Whether we’re carrying shopping bags from the grocery store, or heavy boxes from a big box store, our CR-V’s power tailgate helps to make life easier. And we also like the trio of convenient options to open and close the gate remotely.
We can press a button on the keyfob; use separate buttons on the tailgate (one to open it, and another to close); or use a button on the instrument panel, making it easy to operate the tailgate from the driver’s seat.
Number 10 – Reliable
Our CR-V continues to be the most reliable vehicle we’ve ever owned. We went back to our dealer’s service department for regular maintenance during the year, including an oil and filter change, tire rotation, and vehicle inspection.
We experienced a low battery in our keyless remote, so we visited our dealer’s parts department to have a new one installed. Otherwise, there have been no recalls, or unexpected mechanical or electrical issues, to date.
After Two Years of Driving – We Still Love Our CR-V
Two years is more than enough time to get to know a vehicle. And our experience with the Honda CR-V has been satisfying. So much so that we’re still in love with this crossover. As we approach the three year mark, we’ll have to make a decision at lease end: Should we return the CR-V and get something else? Or should we buy the CR-V and make it a permanent member of our family? We have less than a year to decide.
Click or tap on the following links for our additional CR-V long-term review stories:
The 2018 CR-V in this story is privately leased by the editorial staff of CarNichiWa.com
Story, photos and video © 2020 CarNichiWa.com