Consumer Reports: Honda’s new CR-V is better than the Mazda CX-5

Article by Christian A., on May 2, 2012

The Honda CR-V celebrated a close win over the Mazda CX-5 in a contest that determines which SUV is the most family-friendly, according to Consumer Reports. What gave the CR-V the edge was its large back seat as well as its easy access and generous cargo space. When looking at the specs, the redesigned CR-V and new CX-5 seem to be very similar.

They’re evenly matched when it comes to their prices. They could both fit five passengers, have similar dimensions, and offered with front- or all-wheel drive. According to Consumer Reports’ overall road-test scores of these models, the CR-V scored 77 while the CX-5 got 75.

They ranked just below the segment-leading Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester. In addition, the CR-V EX (priced at $26,455) is a more family-friendly SUV, with a large backseat, easy access, plenty of cargo space, and a comfy ride. It’s faster and more responsive than the CX-5.

However, the CR-V is plagued by issues like prominent road noise, quite big rear blind spots, and subpar at-the-limit handling. But overall, Consumer Reports favored the CR-V because it was exciting and easy to drive and is functional.

On the other hand, the CX-5 Touring (with a price of $27,125) is more athletic and engaging to drive because of its responsive handling and steering as well as tight cornering. Driving through a twisty road is better with the CX-5 and would be preferred by enthusiast drivers.

The CX-5, which uses Mazda's new Skyactiv technology, offers the best fuel economy in its class-25 mpg overall. The mid-level Touring version is generously equipped with a full-power seat, keyless ignition and a blind-spot monitoring system. The downside to the CX-5 would be its slower acceleration, noisier and smaller cabin, and the choppy ride on the highway.

Every aspect of the development, including that of styling the exterior, was influenced by pursuing a perfect equilibrium between a car and an SUV.

Honda CR-V can suit any occasion, casual or formal, but it must always communicate a solid and reliable aesthetic. The length, reduced by 5mm, and height, reduced by 30 mm, from the current model, still does not reduce the interior room.

Even though this fourth generation is immediately identifiable as a CR-V, it still claims an identity of its own. The new model has a stronger and more aerodynamic stance, with a body sporting deeper sculpted lines and a solider nose. The front bumper's even, graceful lines join a horizontal three-bar grille and deep-set headlamps. The design of the lower end of the front bumper conveys an SUV capability with a liberal approach.

The signature vertical rear brake lights, featured on every Honda CR-V, endure but this generation has an added three-dimensional styling. Its wheels’ larger size and bold arches further accentuate its active presence and ability.

Designed in general as a global vehicle, the CR-V’s European variant sports some exterior refinements specific for that region. An improved front bumper underscores its energetic draw, and the LED front day running lights and rear lights are added with stylish touches.

The windscreen is 60 mm more forward (measured from the windscreen’s bottom) relative to the car’s overall length so that the engine compartment size is smaller.

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