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STYLING | 7 out of 10
the CR-V's styling is handsome and gives the impression the vehicle is bigger than it is
cabin looks more refined than before, with richer, softer materials
the exterior design stands out as being much more interesting than the current model
If you're not the type to follow the intricacies and evolution of new-car styling from year to year, in all likelihood today's 2014 Honda CR-V looks much like that of a couple of years--or perhaps, even five years ago. Yes, the CR-V still doesn't have the rakish profile and arched roofline of the Ford Escape; but it has more of what families need because of it.
With its last full redesign, for 2012, the CR-V got what looked like a light evolution on the outside, with spruced-up front and rear styling. Only when you really get close to the details do you see that with the last round of changes the roof dropped slightly, the rear pillar thinned out and got a little steeper.
What results is a crossover that looks down-to-business, but not necessarily pretty. The silhouette is a little bulbous and ungainly from some angles, but all about practicality, it seems--and that all makes sense taking a look inside. In cabin layout, it's both attractive and straightforward—although up close some of the details reveal themselves as either done on a budget or with kids and spills in mind.
We also appreciate how Honda has kept the CR-V out of their drive to push interior design in new, 'edgy' directions that don't always work. For instance, it avoids the chunky, overwrought-and-cluttered look of the larger Pilot, as well as the odd asymmetries of the Civic--and you won't find the confusing layout from Accord models, with two levels of screens, here. On most models, there's a small, five-inch 'i-MID' trip computer and audio screen, with audio controls and climate controls just below.
Simplicity rules inside, while on the outside some might find the 2014 Honda CR-V a little too nondescript.