Review: Driving a Honda CR-V On a Perfect Spring Day

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You’ve got be kidding us, we thought.

About 15 feet away, a teenage boy was settling into homework on his iMac as the girl behind the counter brought him his hot dog.

His squared-off haircut and freckled forehead made the image look very 1950s, like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. So he begins munching away while Googling about the Turks and Ottomans, or whatever his history teacher assigned him, and the lady at the table across the aisle calls over.

“Hey Anthony, how’s your mother doing?”

Maybe this is just us, but the idea that kids still have an after-school spot where they come to do homework and have a snack seems too nostalgic to be real. And for the teenage boy to not be surly or guarded, and friends with enough adults that he can have normal, chance conversations seems pretty Leave It to Beaver.

The lady was with her kids, a young girl and boy. A little further into the store, a grandmother, a boy and a girl sat on green stools. Every so often a new person or two would wander in to buy a soda or chat with someone already there. At one point a woman came in to pick up an order and scooped up a little girl she knew for a quick hug.

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The scene at Ashworth Drugs was—to use a term with quite a lot of meaning sewed into it—very communal, very close-knit, very small town-America. (We had decided to head to Cary to let the CR-V stretch its legs.) It was one of several scenes that seemed to follow us around while driving the 2015 Honda CR-V today. Observe:

  • Stopping at a park, geese, ducks, and gulls all mingled around together next to a lake
  • Walking through a parking lot, a man talked about how much he loved his new puppy
  • Passing by a florist, a man looked for a bouquet of flowers for his girlfriend
  • At a store, a group of kids argued about which was the best chocolate to buy
Review: The 2015 Honda CR-V sneaks up on you with how competent it is. Click To Tweet

These are normal scenes, every day scenes, and we’re sure that we were able to see them, in part, because our car didn’t look too conspicuous. Sure, people could probably tell that it was a new car, a nice car, gleaming and shining in its White Diamond Pearl outside and beige leather inside. But a Honda CR-V is not something that causes the food court to part, not even with its LED daytime running lights.

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A Honda CR-V is as selfless as an umbrella, as giving as a shoelace, and as trustworthy as a soup ladle. It accomplishes its task and recedes into the background as its owners go mountain hiking, gig playing or parent-teacher conferencing.

Consider this: we pop into the front seat for the first time. The center console has very little to it, just a scooped row or two of a few buttons for climate control. A larger touchscreen lets you run things like music and navigation, and then there’s the shifter, prominently placed where most automakers have rows upon rows of buttons for you to fiddle with.

This pared-down aesthetic makes sense to us. How many of the buttons in your car do you use on a daily basis? Based on Honda’s research, the only ones you really need in physical form is the A/C and heater. Everything else can go on the touchscreen. Of course, this leaves out the other main area of buttons you need to push: the music.

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A Honda CR-V is as selfless as an umbrella, as giving as a shoelace, and as trustworthy as a soup ladle. Click To Tweet

In this area, Honda agrees with you wholeheartedly that buttons are necessary. So it put them where your hands already rest: on the steering wheel. Volume, skipping tracks, cycling through the radio, activating voice commands—all of that lies underneath your fingertips while driving, like a circular piano that you know how to play.

That’s really the strength of a Honda CR-V. It nestles itself into you like a dog’s head seeking your palm. The chairs are comfy, leg and headroom is spacious, and no one’s going to wince if you slam a door. You get the sense that product testers have slammed a thousand doors in the Honda lab, maybe even flying in some guest Americans to make a special couple of slams, just to make sure they’ve gotten it right.

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Fast forward to the park. We’re at the Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary because it’s 70 degrees in March, and we’re not likely to get another day like this until April maybe. The park isn’t teeming with people as during a summer’s day, but there are enough who know how valuable this weather is.

On one bench, an older gentleman sits with his walker in front of him, a nurse/caregiver in scrubs beside. They sit in quiet, just passing the time. Many couples are out taking strolls on the walking paths, and one couple is especially dressed up. A student camps out at a table with heavy books and papers while a photographer ambles here and there, long camera lens hunting for a good photo.

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This is the CR-V as you would likely use it. Sure, ours had all-wheel drive to sense loss of traction and automatically send power to whichever wheels need it. That sort of thing will help you during icy, snowy or rainy days like we’ve had in February. But thankfully those days aren’t too frequent. Most days you’re more likely to appreciate that the doors unlock when you touch the door handles and that the radio is high definition.

AWD in a CR-V means all-wheel drive; no loss of traction or slipping wheels. Click To Tweet

You’re more likely to be a fan of the economical gas mileage and the way the instrument panel glows green whenever you’re driving in a pro-environment way. The right turn signal has a camera to eliminate your blind spot, and the rear is easy to clean out in case you have a pet that gets sick on the way to the vet. These are the strengths of the Honda CR-V.

So the kid with the hot dog doing his homework was pretty well illustrative of your average day with this car. And it’s not like we were there to do anything too different. A few booths back we had just been handed our own chocolate milkshake.

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Review: Driving a Honda CR-V On a Perfect Spring Day was last modified: March 6th, 2015 by Leith Honda

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