2014 Honda CR-V Performance

7.0
Performance

The 2014 Honda CR-V has performance that largely fits its mission. It's perfectly adequate for families, with no V-6 or turbocharged engine. But we have to caution that the whole driving experience is a little lacking in excitement.

Nearly every other compact crossover you might cross-shop now includes either a direct-injection engine or a six-speed automatic transmission--or both--but the CR-V is a little behind the times, with its older-tech engine and five-speed automatic.

The 2014 Honda CR-V is confident and smooth, even though excitement is sorely lacking.

That said, those shouldn't be barriers at all for considering the CR-V. The CR-V's engine, a 2.4-liter i-VTEC in-line four-cylinder, remains one of the smoothest fours in this class, with nice, even power delivery all the way up to redline. Shifts are smooth, and the transmission will downshift quickly when needed—which is rather frequently, as the taller ratios that Honda subbed for the current generation (for better fuel economy) leave the engine a little less at ease in its upper gears.

Sportiness isn't really part of the driving experience. Handling is safe, but a soft suspension and tall tire sidewalls are there fro ride quality, not for carving canyon roads. The electric power steering is the only letdown against expectations; it's just not as nicely weighted as other systems and requires more frequent small adjustments.

If you're counting on the CR-V to get you out to a trailhead or campsite, it'll probably be good for the task if the going isn't too tough (the CR-V really isn't meant for off-roading). Models with the so-called Real Time AWD system are very capable on snow-covered roads, or even mud, and the system doesn't require the front wheels to spin before sending more power to the back.

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