Introduced to the North American markets in 1997, the Honda CR-V has just entered its sixth generation, boasting lively acceleration, a comfortable ride, excellent gas mileage, an upscale interior, and a spacious cargo hold, which is one of the biggest in the compact SUV segment. Over the years, it remained Honda’s best-selling vehicle, courtesy of its spacious cabin, excellent fuel economy, and, most notably, its reliability. However, not all CR-Vs are the same; some have received bad reputations due to various complaints from owners. The obvious question is, which is the best year of Honda CR-V?
Well, not one, but several CR-V models reign supreme in the used car market. Today, we will focus on only the best year of Honda CR-V.
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Best Year of Honda CR-V – Offering More Bang For Your Buck
Many CR-V owners have clocked more than 200,000 miles with little to no problems, resolved by affordable repairs. The crossover models with the least owner complaints are the best years for the CR-V. Here are our top six CR-Vs of all time.
1. 2022 Honda CR-V
- Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0 (Consumer Rating), 8.1 / 10 (Test Team)
- U.S. News: 8.8 / 10
- J.D. Power Quality and Reliability: 84 / 100
2022 is the best year of Honda CR-V for all the desirable features it offers to compact SUV fans. Its main highlights include agile acceleration, thrifty fuel economy (28/34 city/highway), a spacious interior & cargo area (39.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats), comfortable handling, and lots of thoughtful storage spaces.
It comes in five trims – LX, Special Edition, EX, EX-L, and Touring – and all carry a 1.5-liter turbo engine, generating 190 horsepower. The mill gets assistance from a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a front-wheel drivetrain. The all-wheel drive is optional for all trim levels except the Touring, which comes equipped with an AWD layout. The CR-V Hybrid is also available.
Look beyond the LX trim if you want to enjoy heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, heated steering wheel, a hands-free power liftgate, navigation, a nine-speaker premium audio system, wireless device charging, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
Furthermore, you can add more driver assistance features to the regular forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a rearview camera. Both IIHS (Good in five tests) and NHTSA (Five Stars) rated it high in the safety department.
2. 2020 Honda CR-V
- Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0 (Consumer Rating) – 8.1 / 10 (Test Team)
- U.S. News: 8.5 / 10
- J.D. Power Quality and Reliability: 79 / 100
With the 2020 Best Compact SUV for the Money award from the U.S. News and a 79 reliability score from J.D. Power, 2020 is one of the top years of the Honda CR-V.
It has everything the CR-V is famous for: a spacious, upscale cabin, huge cargo space, stellar mpg ratings, and poised ride and handling. This fifth-generation CR-V (which came in 2017) got an exterior update, more advanced driver safety facilities, and a standard 1.5-liter turbo-four.
The 2020 CR-V came with four trim levels – LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring – all powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder, a CVT, and a front-wheel drive. All-wheel-drive and front & rear parking sensors are optional features.
As with all other vehicles, the amenities get better as you move up the trim ladder, so do not expect high-class features in the LX. For instance, the LX features a 5-inch infotainment display, and a four-speaker stereo, while the EX has a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone automatic climate control, and so much more.
If you fancy remote start, a moonroof, proximity keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, hands-free liftgate, a navigation system, a nine-speaker stereo, wireless device charging, a heated steering wheel, you should opt for the flagship CR-V Touring.
The IIHS gave it the second-highest rating of Top Safety Pick, while the NHTSA awarded it Five out of Five Stars.
3. 2016 Honda CR-V
- Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0 (Consumer Rating)
- U.S. News: 8.3 /10
- J.D. Power Quality and Reliability: 83 / 100
Honored by the 2016 Best Compact SUV for Families award from the U.S. News and an excellent reliability rating of 83 from J.D. Power, you can easily understand why 2016 is the best year of Honda CR-V. It was the last model before the redesign that added a new SE trim level, but it is still as versatile as other CR-Vs.
You can have it in the LX, SE, EX, EX-L, and Touring models, all boasting a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine creating 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive are regular across the lineup, while the all-wheel drive is optional. With 26/32 mpg city/highway fuel economy, it is one of the most fuel-efficient compact crossovers on the market.
- The entry-level LX model has Bluetooth and a rearview camera.
- The SE features a security system and 17-inch wheels.
- The EX gets a moonroof and heated front seats.
- The EX-L receives leather upholstery and optional navigation.
- The CR-V Touring is safer to drive with forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, etc.
Edmunds chose it as one of the Best Used SUVs for 2016, and rightly so. It is not only practical (37.2 cubic feet of space behind the back seats and plenty of legroom and headroom) but also one of the safest. IIHS has awarded it a Top Safety Pick+ rating, while the NHSTA honored it with an overall safety ranking of Five out of Five Stars.
4. 2013 Honda CR-V
- Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0 (Consumer Rating)
- U.S. News: 8.5 / 10
- J.D. Power Quality and Reliability: 86 / 100
As for the 2016 model, it gets the 2013 Best Compact SUV for Families award from the U.S. News and a J.D. Power Quality & Reliability rating of 86, which means that owners reported very few defects and malfunctions in this model. Edmunds says, “Spacious, fuel-efficient, and packed with family-friendly facilities; the 2013 CR-V is one of our preferred compact utility vehicles.”
Honda only introduced three trim levels for this best year of Honda CR-V – LX, EX, and EX-L. The standard feature list isn’t as impressive as the newer models, so the best you get is dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a seven-speaker audio system, and satellite radio in the EX-L.
The sole engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, good for 185 horsepower. The engine mates to a five-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel-drive, while all-wheel-drive is optional. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the FWD is 23/30 mpg city/highway and 22/29 mpg for the all-wheel-drive models.
Although it got an ideal Five Stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there aren’t any driver assistance features. The basic safety facilities include antilock disc brakes, stability and grip management, active front head restraints, front side & side curtain airbags, and a backup camera.
5. 2009 Honda CR-V
- Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
- U.S. News: 8.7 / 10
- J.D. Power Quality and Reliability: 85 / 100
Ranked Number 1 in the U.S. News Most Affordable Compact SUV category and with a superb J.D. Power reliability rating, it is the best year of Honda CR-V.
It is roomy, comfortable, and highly functional, offering a smooth, refined ride and agile handling. Gladly, it checks all boxes for consumers:
- Safety – Earned a complete Five Stars (from NHTSA) across the range for front and side collision safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also honored it with a “Good” rating in front and side crash tests. Antilock disc brakes, stability management, front-seat side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags are standard, while the EX-L models also offer a navigation system.
- Versatility – The full cargo volume is a significant 73 cubic feet, and you get lots of places to stash your things.
- Comfort and convenience – The 2009 CR-V has an excellent driving position, the controls are within easy reach, and the rear seats are roomy with reclining capability. The communicative steering makes it fun to drive.
- Powertrain – The only downside is the underpowered 2.4-liter engine, which only makes 166 hp and 161 pound-feet of torque, mating to a five-speed automatic transmission. Again, the FWD is standard, and the AWD is optional. You might feel the engine is a little underpowered on the highways, but city driving is smooth and refined. The fuel economy estimates stand at 20/27 mpg city/highway for FWD and 20/26 mpg for AWD. Of course, buying the 2009 CR-V used, you won’t ideally enjoy these economy ratings.
- Trim and Features – Three trim levels are on offer, starting with the LX, which features 17-inch steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, a tilt/telescoping steering column, an overhead “conversation mirror” for backseat observation, a retractable front-seat mid tray table, and a four-speaker stereo system with a CD/MP3 player.
For amenities like leather upholstery, a power driver seat, front-seat heaters, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-covered steering wheel, a front seat center console, and an excellent sound system with seven speakers and a subwoofer, you have to dish out more for the range-topper EX-L.
The Honda CR-V is the Japanese automaker’s one of the top sellers in America for a reason. It boasts spacious seats, a huge cargo hold, poised handling, excellent safety ratings, and a wide range of driver assistance features.
The best part; it is one of the most dependable compact utility vehicles on the market, which is evident from the J.D. Power reliability and quality rating. Both old and new models are equally dependable, so we highly recommend going for any of the best years of the Honda CR-V we mentioned above, according to your budget. There are CR-V models plagued by defects and flaws, but that’s a topic for another time.