Being crowned Motor Trend’s 2018 SUV of the Year means that the fifth-generation Honda CR-V will be spending a year in our fleet. And we don’t mean the 2017 CR-V Touring AWD that visual assets manager Brian Vance has been chaperoning for the past 11 months. “My” CR-V is different. Since we are already familiar with the tech package and the 1.5-liter turbo engine that come with the Touring model, we decided to go to the less expensive end of the spectrum with the basic LX model.
We went cheap because most folks don’t go full-boat on a compact SUV, and we wanted to test the CR-V being pitched to a family on a modest budget. So, what do you get with the LX? It’s the only trim powered by the 2.4-liter inline-four engine, which produces 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a CVT. It’s front-drive, rather than all-wheel drive—but that’s what most people in the Sun Belt choose anyway. And it comes with a much shorter list of standard equipment.
What kind of standard equipment? The LX has a 5.0-inch color LCD screen that displays the basic info you need. It’s equipped with Bluetooth for calls and streaming audio, FM/AM radio and a four-speaker audio system. We only get one 1.0-amp USB port in the whole cabin, though there are two 12-volt power outlets—one in the front and the other in the center console. There’s no push-start button. However, backseat passengers can enjoy the AC coming out of the air vents located behind the center console.
From outside, it’s easy to identify this model as an LX. The most apparent features are the black door handles, mirror caps, and roof spoiler (rather than body color). There are no chrome details on the doors, and it lacks foglights. It has one exhaust outlet.
Honda did step up with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights. These standard features give the CR-V a polished look, even on the base trim. I also dig the capless fuel filler, electronic parking brake, soft plastics found throughout the cabin, and the entire information display, including the digital speedometer.
As you may recall, the 2.4-liter is a mild reworking of the same engine used in the previous-generation CR-V, which was crowned Motor Trend’s 2015 SUV of the Year. However, this is the first time we’ve tested the naturally aspirated engine in the fifth-generation CR-V, and we’re sure we’ll notice a difference with the new chassis.
When the CR-V won our 2018 SUV of the Year, we praised its spacious cabin, rear fold-flat seats, storage space in the center console and in the doors, as well as the wide opening of its rear doors. Speaking of cabin space, the LX has a little more volume for passengers than the rest of the CR-V lineup. Passenger volume is 105.9 cubic feet, while headroom is 40.1 inches. For comparison, the Touring model has 101.6 cubic feet of passenger volume and 37.8 inches of headroom. According to Honda, this slight difference is because of the lack of a sunroof on the LX. The rest of the interior measurements (legroom, shoulder room, hiproom, and cargo volume) are the same for all the models.
Given that Honda doesn’t offer any options or packages on its trim levels, our LX is bare bones, with a price of $25,125.
We’ve had the CR-V LX for close to a month, and it just crossed the 1,300-mile mark. We haven’t taken it to the track for testing, so you’ll have to wait until the next update for our formal driving impressions.
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